Pac-12: Tim Davis

Pac-12 spring preview: South Division

February, 23, 2012
Pac-12 spring preview: South Division

Spring practice is almost here. Here's a snapshot at what to expect from the Pac-12 South in the coming weeks.


Spring practice starts: March 4

Spring game: April 14

What to watch:
  • Hello, my name is ... Like the other two teams in the South Division with new head coaches (Arizona State and UCLA) much of Arizona's first few weeks will be Rich Rodriguez evaluating his personnel and getting to know what he has to work with. Likewise, the players are going to have to figure out what this new coaching staff is about. Everything from how they do pre-practice stretches to how they call the cadence is going to change.
  • New scheme and a new scheme: A spread option on offense and a 3-3-5 on defense. That's a lot of new material to digest on both sides of the ball. Until Rodriguez can recruit the players he likes into his scheme, he's going to have to make it work with the players he has. Fortunately on the defensive side of the ball, Arizona has good depth in the secondary with Cortez Johnson, Marquis Flowers, Shaquille Richardson, Jourdon Grandon and Tra'Mayne Bondurant. The Wildcats should also get a boost with the return of injured players Jake Fischer (LB), Jonathan McKnight (CB) and Adam Hall (S).
  • Perfect fit? Former starter Matt Scott, who was beaten out by Nick Folesin 2009, is expected to reprise his starting role under Rodriguez. He redshirted the 2011 season and -- magically -- Foles never got hurt last year despite taking 23 sacks and countless hits. Scott is considered the more versatile quarterback and should fit nicely into the new run-based spread attack.

Spring practice starts: March 13

Spring game: April 21

What to watch:
  • QB competition: We know what kind of offense new coach Todd Graham is going to run; now it's a matter of figuring out who is going to run it. Graham has his choice of three players -- Mike Bercovici, Taylor Kelly or Michael Eubank -- to replace NFL-bound Brock Osweiler. Graham said earlier this month that there are no favorites heading into the competition and each one brings his own skill set to the table. Eubank has the size (6-foot-5, 235 pounds), Bercovici (6-1, 205) is a mechanic and Kelly (6-1, 202) is a little bit of everything.
  • Get the locker room: By the end of the 2011 season, ASU's locker room wasn't just divided, it was completely splintered. Graham's task -- and that of his new coaching staff -- is to pick up the pieces, mend internal fences and find some chemistry on both sides of the ball. Linebacker Brandon Magee, long considered a great locker room leader, should help get the Sun Devils back on track as he returns from a season-ending Achilles injury.
  • Hands competition: The Sun Devils lose three of their top four wide receivers from last season -- Gerell Robinson, Aaron Pflugrad and Mike Willie. Jamal Miles returns after finishing second on the team last season with 60 catches and six touchdowns. Rashad Ross figures to be the No. 2 guy, but establishing depth in that corps -- especially if Graham wants to be up-tempo -- is key.

Spring practice starts: March 10

Spring game: April 14

What to watch:
  • Momentum, maybe? For as rough as 2011 was for the Buffs, they ended the year on a high note, winning two-of-three down the stretch -- including a 17-14 win over Utah in the season finale. But there is also the possibility that things might get worse before they get better. With just four returning starters on offense, spring in Boulder will likely be more about teaching and less about refining.
  • Where to start (offense)? Well, quarterback might be a good place. In the court of public opinion, Connor Wood, a transfer from Texas, seems to be the favorite. Nick Hirschman appeared in five games last season, mostly in mop-up time when the game was already out of hand. It's also possible a starter could be named by the end of spring ball. Finding offensive weapons to surround the new quarterback will also be a challenge. Wide receiver Paul Richardson caught 39 balls last season, and running back Tony Jones showed a flare for catching the ball out of the backfield. He'll likely step in as the new workhorse back for the departed Rodney Stewart.
  • Where to start (defense)? Last in this. Last in that. Last in almost every team statistic the Pac-12 has to offer. But there are some intriguing youngsters on the roster. Cornerback Greg Henderson was all-conference honorable mention as a freshman with a team-high nine passes broken up. Jered Bell also returns from injury after blowing out a knee last preseason. If healthy, he's expected to be a big contributor in the secondary. Linebacker Jon Majorreturns as the team's leading tackler, and if Doug Rippy is fully recovered from his knee injury, he'll look to build on what was a pretty good season last year before getting hurt.

Spring practice starts: April 3

Spring game: May 5

What to watch:
  • QB up for grabs: Like the majority of the conference, UCLA enters spring with a quarterback competition. New offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said he doesn't care how much experience (or lack thereof) a player has -- if he can play, he wins the job. So don't be surprised if Brett Hundley passes Kevin Prince and Richard Brehautas the new man leading the Bruins. Fans have been clamoring for a change. Hundley might be it.
  • Attitude adjustment: One of the first things new head coach Jim Mora did was slam the team for its tradition of going "over the wall," a time-honored senior ditch day, saying if they want to jump the wall, they should just keep on going. How's that for sending a message? UCLA has earned a reputation for being soft and underachieving despite good talent. Attitude and toughness is needed -- and so far, Mora appears to be hammering that point home.
  • Speaking of toughness ... The defense has to get tougher. No two ways about it. It was weak against the run last season, allowing more than 190 yards per game on the ground; couldn't get to the quarterback; and couldn't get off the field almost 50 percent of the time on third down. It's time for potential all-conference players such as defensive end Datone Jones to start living up to the hype and the defense as a whole to stop getting pushed up and down the field. At 6-5, 275 pounds, Jones has the physical makeup to be a major force in the conference and catapult himself into the elite class of collegiate defensive players.

Spring practice starts: March 6

Spring game: April 14

What to watch:
  • Ignore the hype: Few teams ended last season hotter than USC and returning quarterback Matt Barkley. The Heisman talk has already started, the way-too-early rankings already have the Trojans as national championship contenders, and the public perception is that the offense is unstoppable. Nice to hear, but hype is a double-edged sword. Head coach Lane Kiffin has a knack for deflecting hype. This season will be his toughest test to date.
  • Insurance? The Trojans are loaded on both sides of the ball with returning players. But after the starting 22, things start to get dicey. Developing depth and keeping the starters healthy is a top priority -- particularly on the offensive and defensive lines and at running back, where experience is thin outside of the starters. The entire back seven returns on defense -- headlined by hard-hitting safety T.J. McDonald. Stopping the pass has been a major priority for Kiffin, and if this group stays healthy it should see the pass-efficiency numbers improve even more.
  • Other options: Along those same lines, wide receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee make up the most feared receiving duo in the conference -- maybe the country. But who are the Nos. 3 and 4 receivers behind them? George Farmer? Victor Blackwell? De'Von Flournoy? Don't overlook the tight end duo of Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer, which should rival Stanford's Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo as the best tight end tandem in the conference.

Spring practice starts: March 20

Spring game: April 21

What to watch:
  • Youthful approach: Head coach Kyle Whittingham turned some heads by naming former Utah quarterback Brian Johnson as his offensive coordinator. Johnson, who recently turned 25, said he's not looking to make wholesale changes to the offense, though he wants to put his stamp on it and continue to build around running back John White IV, who had a breakout season in his first year of major college football. Having quarterback Jordan Wynn back healthy should also help as the team transitions to Johnson running the offense.
  • Fixing the line: Who is going to protect Wynn (if he does indeed win back the starting job) and make holes for White? That's a major concern heading into spring as the Utes have to replace a pair of all-conference linemen in Tony Bergstrom and John Cullen. The Utes should be set at the interior but have to adjust to a new position coach, with Tim Davis leaving for Florida after just one season and Dan Finn -- a former Utah graduate assistant who was brought on to help Davis -- taking over the whole line following a one-year stint at San Diego State.
  • Work the experience: The defensive line should be one of the best in the conference, especially with the return of Star Lotulelei, who won the Morris Trophy last season as the conference's best defensive lineman. With the Kruger brothers returning to the line -- Joe at defensive end and Dave at tackle -- Derrick Shelby is the lone starter who has to be replaced. There's also some pretty good depth in the secondary that was tops in the conference last season in pass-efficiency defense.

Pac-12 lunch links: Feel the love

February, 14, 2012
"According to my source, the end of the world will be on Feb. 14, in the year 2016."

"Valentine's Day. Bummer."

Q&A: Utah OC Brian Johnson

February, 8, 2012
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham put a lot of faith in his former quarterback-turned-quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson by naming the 24-year-old Utah's next offensive coordinator last week. One conversation with Johnson and it's clear he's energized and excited about the opportunity that many assistants wait decades for.

You're now the youngest coordinator in major college football. Is there some pressure that goes with that?

Brian Johnson: I think with any job there is pressure with how competitive everything is. But I think we're just more excited to put together an offense that can help win a conference championship.

[+] EnlargeBrian Johnson
Boyd Ivey/Icon SMIFormer Utah quarterback Brian Johnson now takes over as the Utes' offensive coordinator.
Being so close in age to many of the players, is it tough sometimes to make the distinction between buddy and coach?

BJ: Absolutely not. There are about four or five guys on the team I played with who are still here. I think, for the most part, this is my third year and I haven't had to deal with it my first two years. That distinction is there. We have a great group of kids so that hasn't been an issue.

On the flip side, you're going to be overseeing coaches 10, 15, 20 years your senior who have been at it a lot longer than you. Is that going to be awkward?

BJ: Not at all. In this building, we have consummate professionals. Guys understand the task at hand and we understand what it takes to be successful offensively. We will work together and get this thing going in the right direction.

Any wholesale changes to the offensive philosophy or approach?

BJ: Not wholesale. I think the baseline of what we've done here the last seven years, that's remained intact. We'll continue to tweak stuff here and there. Dan Finn is on board to coach the offensive line along with Tim Davis. Those guys have coached a lot of ball. I'm excited to be getting their ideas on paper and getting their input on the scheme.

What are the immediate holes, fixes that need to be addressed on the offensive side of the ball?

BJ: I think the biggest concern is losing two all-conference tackles in Tony Bergstrom and John Cullen. Those guys have played a lot of football and were really good leaders for us. But that's the nature of the business in college football. There is a lot of turnover and you have to be able to replace those guys. Finding two tackles who can come in and provide immediate help for us will be important.

If Jordan Wynn is healthy, is he your quarterback? Or is there an open competition?

BJ: I think the experience that Jordan provides will help us tremendously in our offensive production. Everything we do here, it's always competition. That will never change as long as Coach Whittingham is the coach here.

So ... is Jordan your quarterback?

BJ: I think he goes in taking the reps with the ones and he's started a lot of football games and won a lot of football games. So yeah, he is.

How is his health?

BJ: He's back to throwing. He'll be full-go for spring ball. He's had some bad luck with injuries, but hopefully we won't ever have to go through that again.

A nice breakout season for John White IV. What are you expecting from him next season?

BJ: We expect him to continue what he started this season. He's obviously very explosive and dynamic with the ball in his hands. I think we have to build the offense around him. He's extremely talented. We have to find ways to get him the ball in space and get the ball in his hands as much as possible.

So you're approach is run first?

BJ: I think in football you have to be. You have to establish the run in order to be balanced. From there, you build it all. We have to establish that physical presence at the line of scrimmage and you have to be creative and find ways to get our playmakers the ball and let them give us the best chance to win.

At this pace, you'll probably be up for an NFL head-coaching job in the next two years. Any aspirations of being a coach in the pro game?

BJ: I think that's why you get in this profession. I've learned from some great coaches. I've been fortunate to be in this program for eight years and I've seen some great coaches come through here. Coach Whittingham has been almost a father-like figure to me for the last eight years and I strive to be like him as a coach. That's my ultimate goal. If I can do that, that would be OK with me.

Finish this sentence. If I can accomplish -- blank -- I will be happy with Utah's offense.

BJ: A conference championship. That's why we play this game, to win the Pac-12 South and get a chance to play in the championship game and play for the Rose Bowl. That's the starting point. That's why we're all in this profession. That's why we're all in this business is to be the best at it. That's what we're working towards.

Lunch links: Backup QB issues at Arizona

August, 16, 2011
Whereas the truth is that fullness of soul can sometimes overflow in utter vapidity of language, for none of us can ever express the exact human measure of his needs or his thoughts or his sorrows; and human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.
SALT LAKE CITY -- Circle the date in red: UCLA at Utah on Nov. 12. The Norm Chow-Rick Neuheisel showdown. Emotions will be high as two coaches seek vindication after their failed marriage in Westwood. These guys, clearly, don't like each other.

At least that would be the fun, grudge-match angle.

"Rick's a good guy," Chow said. "There's no bad feelings." And Neuheisel has repeatedly said the same about Chow.

Now, we're not going to smooth over this. Chow, by any measure one of the best offensive minds in the history of college football, didn't succeed at UCLA. The Bruins offense mostly stunk during his three-year tenure. Not all the blame belongs to Chow. Not all the blame belongs to Neuheisel, an offensive-minded head coach who isn't the hands-off sort. Not all the blame falls on the middling talent. What is clear is that Neuheisel cleaned house at UCLA this offseason, and Chow ended up at Utah. And the Chow-Neuheisel separation was a laborious process that required weeks to finalize.

[+] EnlargeNorm Chow
Dustin Snipes/Icon SMINorm Chow has gone from Rick Neuheisel and UCLA to Pac-12 newcomer Utah.
But the endgame is this: Chow ended up at Utah, his alma mater, and with a head coach, Kyle Whittingham, whom he knows well. His marching orders are to remake the Utes offense in his preferred image: pro-style, West Coast (you know: the scheme he developed during his quarter-century coaching at BYU).

Whittingham and Chow both say they connected over Tim Davis, whom Whittingham was considering -- and eventually hired -- as his new offensive line coach. Davis had coached with Chow at USC. So Whittingham made inquiries and that conversation led to a "So, Norm, how are things in Westwood?"

Not so good, said Chow. Whittingham sensed an opportunity.

"Was I looking to make a change?" Whittingham said. "No, not necessarily. But never would I pass up an opportunity to make ourselves better."

Said Chow, "He knew he wanted to change to a more power, downhill running game."

It took more than a month to cross the T's and dot the I's, but here's Chow, weaning the Utes away from their spread offense a year after he was charged -- with some discomfort -- with teaching the Bruins the Nevada pistol.

Chow, seven practices into his new job, seems to like what he sees, even though his starting quarterback, Jordan Wynn, can't throw due to shoulder surgery. Wynn, apparently, has shown Chow plenty without throwing a pass.

"Just sitting in meetings with him, it's extremely obvious he's very bright," Chow said. "To me the key element for a quarterback is you've got to be smart. He gets it all."

Chow likes his receivers, believes his offensive line is solid and thinks new additions Harvey Langi and John White will be able to get the job done at running back. He likes the Utes' intangibles, too.

"Kyle has done a terrific job of preparing them to practice," Chow said.

As for Chow's players, they still seem a little in awe of him. Said Wynn: "I honestly didn't expect him to come here. I was like, 'I'll believe it when I actually see him here in Utah gear.' But it happened. It's a great honor to play for him."

Added offensive tackle Tony Bergstrom, "I was waiting for them to say, 'We're bringing back Paul "Bear" Bryant, getting the coaching dream team together.'"

Of course, the adulation won't last if the Utes don't score points. It seemed like Neuheisel enlisted a "dream team" when he had Chow and defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker on his 2008 staff. No dreams came of that, unless you're talking about some nightmarish games.

By the time UCLA heads to Salt Lake City for a Pac-12 South Division clash, it's likely that the newness of Chow will have worn off and the point production will be what matters.

Chow seems amused knowing that reporters will be eager to play up the perceived emotions of the matchup. Recall that he went through the same routine when the Bruins played USC, where he made beautiful music with Pete Carroll until those two went all Lennon and McCartney and fell out.

This is not, as Chow said, his "first rodeo."

"The minute the game starts, those become just guys in a different jersey," Chow said. "You guys can worry about that."

Staff changes: Utah

March, 10, 2011
Only Oregon and Washington didn't experience any staff turnover this offseason, so we're running through the staff changes for the other 10 Pac-12 teams.

Next up is Utah, which brought in a big name to run its offense

Team in parenthesis is where the departing coach ended up.

Dave Schramm, co-offensive coordinator/tight ends (now running backs coach)
Aaron Roderick, co-offensive coordinator (now receivers coach)

Norm Chow, offensive coordinator/tight ends

Blake Miller, Offensive line (Memphis)

Tim Davis, offensive line

Aaron Alford, running backs (now Director of High School Relations)

Schramm, running backs

John Pease, defensive line (retired)

Chad Kauha’aha’a, defensive line

Reaction: Obviously, the big news is Chow. He's one of the all-time greats, but he's coming off an unsuccessful tenure at UCLA. It's interesting that he's not coaching quarterbacks, which continues to be Brian Johnson's post. That will allow Chow to play a more supervisory role, which might be a good thing as he gets a feel for his personnel and transitions the Utes from a spread to a more West Coast attack. Johnson, who turned 24 in February and is the Pac-12's youngest full-time assistant, has a great opportunity to learn from Chow and put his career in the fast lane. An obvious question is how Schramm and Roderick handle what functions as a demotion. You'd suspect that head coach Kyle Whittingham is pretty confident both will be good soldiers, because it falls on him if they are disgruntled. Davis, a former line coach at USC, was a Ute offensive tackle from 1978-80 and a Utah offensive line coach from 1990-96. Kauha’aha’a was Utah State's defensive line coach for the past two seasons. He's a former second-team All-WAC player for the Utes in 1996. Whittingham was the defensive coordinator during Kauha’aha’a’s last three years at Utah.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is a details guy. Most football coaches are. But some details are new and take some getting used to.

"There are a lot of good football teams in the Pac-10," he said before catching himself. "I guess we'll call it the Pac-12 now."

Yep. Welcome.

Whittingham -- wisely, if you think about how redundant the questions would have been -- didn't talk about his Utes move into the Pac-12 this past season. But he admits it was impossible to completely block out. He called it "human nature" that he, perhaps, paid just a bit more attention to Pac-10 highlights, or checked out Pac-10 box scores with more than a casual interest.

[+] EnlargeKyle Whittingham
AP Photo/Jim UrquhartUtah coach Kyle Whittingham is looking forward to the challenges of playing in the Pac-12.
Further, it was an issue in recruiting. When he reached out to a prospect, he could promise more than he could in the past, starting with an affiliation with an automatic-qualifying conference. That's the bright lights, big city of college football. "Son," Whittingham can now ask a young, West Coast hot shot, "would you like to one day play in the Rose Bowl?"

A recruit in Southern California who thinks Salt Lake City is somewhere near Narnia? No problem: "Son, Utah is in the Pac-12 South Division with USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado. You'll get plenty of sunshine during the season and you'll come home for a game every year and get to see your mommy."

You cannot underestimate what a game-changer that can be in recruiting. Said Whittingham, "Without a doubt we were able to get in on several players that we would have had no chance of getting in on without the affiliation with the Pac-12."

Exhibit No. 1: Receiver Quinton Pedroza, the Utes' top-rated signee. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder from Chino, Calif., switched his allegiance from Arizona State on signing day.

Of course, competing for better players in recruiting also means a higher level of competition. Utah lost a pair of committed players to other Pac-12 schools: quarterback Derrick Brown to Washington and cornerback Ryan Henderson to USC.

As Whittingham said, "Now that you're in on them, you're in on them with several other high-profile schools and the competition is just as intense."

Speaking of competition, the nine-game Pac-12 schedule figures to present an uptick in degree of difficulty for the Utes, even though the Mountain West Conference has fared well when matched with the Pac-10 in recent years. Whittingham is 4-3 against Pac-10 teams since taking over for Urban Meyer in 2005, beating California, Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona.

"The week-in and week-out level of competition is ratcheted up," Whittingham said. "There are some excellent football teams in the Mountain West Conference. ... Not to downplay or disrespect anything that's going on in the Mountain West, but we're convinced the weekly challenges will be much more difficult than they have been in years' past for us."

There is also an atypical challenge for both Utah and Colorado (and Nebraska as it heads into the Big Ten): Little to no "local knowledge."

Just about every FBS team will be familiar with the vast majority of its schedule next year. It will have first-hand knowledge about personnel, schemes, tendencies, etc., of most of its opponents because it plays a regular conference schedule annually. Utah and Colorado will not. The Utes didn't play a Pac-10 team last year, and Colorado only got blasted at California. Essentially, they will play a slate of what feels like 12 nonconference foes. So they are playing catch-up with scouting and preparation compared to the rest of the reconfigured conference.

"That does present a challenge having very little knowledge about the vast majority of the teams in the conference you're moving into," Whittingham said.

But Whittingham pointed to the hiring of offensive coordinator Norm Chow and offensive line coach Tim Davis as providing a helpful crutch. Chow, you may have heard, was UCLA's coordinator the previous three seasons, while Davis coached at USC from 2002-2004.

So Whittingham will have some help looking forward. As for looking back at the Mountain West, that's really not Whittingham's thing.

"I'm not a sentimental guy, so there's really no emotional ties or anything of that nature," he said. "I can say the Mountain West was very good for us. It was a good run."

And now it's all about the Pac-10. Er, Pac-12.

Utah reshuffles staff

February, 4, 2011
Norm Chow: Utah tight ends coach.

Sorry. Just wanted to type that.

Here's how Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has reshuffled his staff after hiring Chow away from UCLA, per a press release:

[O]ffensive coordinator Norm Chow will also coach the tight ends, while Dave Schramm takes over at running back -- a position he managed during his first four years at Utah (2005-08). Aaron Alford, a Ute assistant since 2007 and the running backs coach for the last two seasons, moves into an administrative role as the director of high school relations. The rest of Utah’s offensive staff has Aaron Roderick beginning his seventh year with the receivers, Brian Johnson coaching the quarterbacks for the second year, and Tim Davis taking over the offensive line.

[+] EnlargeNorm Chow
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport - US PresswireNew Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow will bring a lot of experience to the staff.
Utah also announced that Chad Kauha’aha’a will take over as defensive line coach. He replaces John Pease, who retired after the season. Kauha’aha’a was Utah State's defensive line coach for the past two seasons. He's a former second-team all WAC player for the Utes in 1996. Whittingham was the defensive coordinator during Kauha’aha’a’s last three years at Utah.

But back to the offensive shakeup. Here's how Whittingham explained it:

“We took our time re-positioning the offensive staff and made sure that we got everybody into the roles we felt were best for the program. Aaron Alford did a nice job with our running backs, and the cornerbacks before that, but as the director of high school relations, he will fill a critical role for us in our move to the Pac-12.”

It seems like Whittingham tried to limit the shock to his staff's system as best he could, seeing that Schramm and Roderick shared the coordinating duties last year and are functionally getting a demotion because of the arrival of Chow.

Most interesting: Chow is not coaching quarterbacks. That's been his specialty since his BYU days in the 1970s. That decision feels like tip of the cap to Brian Johnson, as well as a way to allow Chow to serve in a more supervisory role. A graduate assistant can put tight ends through drills. Coaching quarterbacks is far more involved.

Further, Chow turns 65 in May. It seems unlikely he'll be Utah's offensive coordinator for the next decade, though you never know. You'd think the rest of the offensive staff, even if they are grumpy at present about the changes, could absorb plenty of knowledge from Chow over the next few years that will benefit them down the road.

While Chow's tenure at UCLA wasn't successful, he's still on a short list of the best offensive minds in college football history. You'd also think he'll be plenty motivated to wash the bad taste out of his mouth over how things went in Westwood.

And who isn't excited about UCLA's visit on Nov. 12?

Lunch links: USC's appeal has a chance

January, 21, 2011
Happy Friday.

Utes hire Davis to coach O-line

January, 13, 2011
Tim Davis is Utah's new offensive line coach, the school announced Thursday.

Davis is a former Ute offensive tackle from 1978-80 and a Utah offensive line coach from 1990-96. Pac-10 fans will remember him from his two years at USC in 2003 and 2004, which some of you might recall as successful seasons. And he worked with Norm Chow when he was there. Hmm.

Davis has spent the past two seasons as the run game coordinator and offensive line coach at Minnesota. Davis has also coached at Wisconsin (1997-2001), and he left USC for the Miami Dolphins in 2005.

"This will be Tim Davis's second time around at Utah and he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our program," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in a statement. "Tim is known for developing a strong rapport with his players and he will be a great addition to our staff. He has coached at some of the premier football programs in the country over the course of his career and that experience should prove valuable as we head into the Pac 12 Conference."

Davis left USC to join Nick Saban, then head coach of the Miami Dolphins, as an assistant offensive line coach. He would later go to Alabama with Saban, serving as his director of player personnel in 2008, before returning to the sidelines with the Minnesota.

More here. As for the Chow-to-Utah talk, the Deseret News reports, "Utah sources said 'there have been no developments' as of Thursday afternoon."