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Jim Harding -- 2021 FootballScoop Offensive Line Coach of the Year

The best offensive line in college football powered Utah to its first Pac-12 championship.

FootballScoop is proud to announce that Jim Harding (Utah) is the 2021 FootballScoop Offensive Line Coach of the Year, presented by AstroTurf as selected by prior winners.

The 2021 campaign was a breakthrough for Utah -- the program's first Pac-12 championship, its first Rose Bowl berth, and a landmark moment for the university and the entire state. And all that celebrating was underwritten by a bedrock offensive line.

Few offenses were as potent on the ground and through the air as Utah's. 

On the ground, Utah pounded out 217.2 yards per game (13th nationally) on 5.58 a carry (second). The Utes' 37 rushing touchdowns also placed among the top five in the nation. 

Utah averaged more than six yards a carry five times, including a Stanford game in which the offensive line absolutely mauled the Cardinal front to the tune of 441 yards on 46 carries (9.59 a pop) and six touchdowns in a 52-7 win. The six rushing touchdowns tied the second most in school history; the 441 rushing yards were the most in a game since 1991; and the Utes' three 100-yard rushers set a school record.

Jim Harding

The Utes were not a one-dimensional offense, they were a complimentary offense. Quarterback Cameron Rising threw for 2,493 yards on 320 attempts, firing 20 touchdowns against five interceptions. That included a Rose Bowl performance in which he was 17-of-22 for 214 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. 

Utah was successful on the ground and through the air because its offensive line was as good as any in the country at limiting negative plays. The Utes tied for seventh nationally at 3.79 tackles for loss allowed per game, and placed fifth with 0.93 sacks allowed per game. Only four other squads -- Air Force, Georgia, Michigan and Oregon State -- placed among the top seven in both metrics. 

The Utes averaged 6.39 yards per play (22nd nationally) and 36.1 points per game (14th) -- a number that jumped to 39.4 a game after the beginning of October. 

Four Ute linemen earned all-conference honors. Junior Nick Ford was a First Team All-Pac-12 honoree, senior Bamidele Olaseni and sophomore Braeden Daniels were Second Team All-Pac-12 performers, and redshirt freshman Sataoa Laumea earned Honorable Mention. 

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A Toledo graduate, Harding set a Rocket record with 46 consecutive starts. He entered coaching as a GA at Missouri, then joined the Michigan high school ranks from 2005-08. He re-joined the college game as Wyoming's co-offensive line coach, worked his way up to co-offensive coordinator, and then became Utah's O-line coach in 2014. Kyle Whittingham named Harding his assistant head coach in 2017. 

The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by AstroTurf are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Daryl Agpalsa [Northern Illinois], Mike Bloesch [North Texas], Matt Mattox [UTSA], Sherrone Moore [Michigan] and Harding) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.

Previous winners of the Offensive Line Coach of the Year award are Steve Greatwood (Oregon, 2008), Tony Wise (Pittsburgh, 2009), Bob Bostad (Wisconsin, 2010) Greg Studrawa (LSU, 2011), Ed Warinner (Ohio State, 2012 and 2014), Mike Bloomgren (Stanford, 2013), Tom Manning (Toledo, 2015), Brian Callahan/Bill Kenney (Western Michigan, 2016), Bill Bedenbaugh (Oklahoma, 2017), Glen Elarbee (UCF, 2018), James Cregg (LSU, 2019), and DJ Looney and Rob Sale (Louisiana, 2020). 

keystats

5th Nationally -- Sacks Allowed Per Game

2nd Nationally -- Yards Per Carry

t-7th Nationally -- TFLs Allowed Per Game

1st time Pac-12 champions


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