Last year, Utah's passing game struggled and ranked 78th nationally at just 217 yards per game. Head coach Kyle Whittingham told the Associated Press that "the lack of efficiency and lack of production" is something that needed to improve in order for the program to make strides forward in 2017.
During the off season, Whittingham brought in Eastern Washington offensive coordinator Troy Taylor as the Utes new offensive play caller. While Taylor's offensive prowess was on full display in his one season under Beau Baldwin during their deep FCS playoff run, Taylor was simply a high school coach at Folsom HS (UT) just two short seasons ago who enjoyed the freedom of tinkering around with different ideas and schemes.
Taylor is also unique in that he pulled some of his inspiration for his offense from unlikely places, like the Wright Brothers and even Steve Jobs, as a recent AP article highlighting Taylor points out.
"I became almost infatuated, in 2007, with Apple and Steve Jobs, their simplicity," Taylor said. "What fascinated me about it is, the iPhone is a really incredible tool. ... You can do almost anything on it, right? But what really makes the iPhone revolutionary is, almost anybody can use it. I've seen my seven-year-old son use it. I've seen my 70-year-old mom use it and she could never even work a VCR.
"And that became, kind of, the model and inspiration for my system. I want something very versatile, powerful, sleek, be able to do anything you need to, but user friendly for quarterbacks, so that you can just pick it up and use it instinctively and intuitively."
Ask most coaches where they draw their inspiration from with plays, and 99% percent will note that they ran it at another stop, or saw it run by someone else on TV or in person and they took it and adapted it. It's one of the staples that makes the coaching profession great in that we all take ideas from one another and re-use and sometimes re-purpose them in ways that work best for our programs.
Very rarely do you hear a former HS coach, turned FBS coordinator in just a few short seasons, draw his offensive inspiration from something like the iPhone, and then explain it in a way that actually makes a ton of sense.
Knowing this, it should be even more fun to watch Utah on Saturday's in the fall. See Taylor's offense being coined (and eventually trademarked) as "the iPhone offense" in the not-so-distant future isn't all that far-fetched if all goes well.
Head over to the original AP article where there is a ton more background on Taylor and his out-of-the-box inspirations. It really is some fascinating perspective.