Utah State Football Makes Coaching Changes, Assignments Shuffling On Both Sides Of Ball

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State football head coach Gary Andersen announced some changes to his coaching staff Monday that affect offense, defense and special teams. Andersen announced that Alex Gerke will no longer be the Aggies’ offensive line coach, shifting tight ends/tackles coach T.J. Woods to offensive line coach. Offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin will move from quarterbacks to tight ends/tackles coach, which will allow him to better oversee the USU offense, and Andersen will hire a new quarterbacks coach. Defensively, Andersen will be taking over defensive coordinator duties, changing Bill Busch’s assignment to associate head coach/special teams coordinator, while remaining as the safeties coach. “I have to evaluate myself and the staff, one and number two, and I have done that. I need to put the players in the best position on and off the field to allow them to be successful. I have made some decisions as a head coach of what we need to do to move forward as a program. Coach Gerke will not be the offensive line coach anymore. That does not come with bad feelings between me and Alex Gerke. We have just gone a different direction, both of us. We are still very good friends. I have known Alex for years, but at the end I have got to sit down and do what is best for the young men and do what is best for Alex. I believe we have done that. It is not a firing scenario; it is a scenario in which we have decided to go another direction,” Andersen said. Gerke was USU’s offensive line coach for two seasons, joining the Aggie staff after one season at Hawai’i. Gerke and Andersen coached together at Utah in 2001 and 2002, when Andersen was defensive line coach and Gerke was offensive tackles/tight ends coach. They also coached together in 1998-99 when Andersen was defensive tackles coach and Gerke was a graduate assistant/offensive line and tights ends coach. “T.J. Woods will coach the offensive line, and I will hire a graduate assistant at some point to assist with the offensive line. Coach Baldwin will help with the tight ends and the tackles, which he did at Michigan State from 2003-06, having successful offenses and players during his tenure there. As you can see, we are putting a heavy development on the offensive line,” Andersen said. “We will hire a quarterback coach. I don’t have a time line on that; we are going to hire the best coach available. A coach who can come in and teach a new quarterback. I am looking for a coach who can get a young man to manage a football game and use the weapons around him effectively, as well as a coach who can recruit,” Andersen said. Busch was defensive coordinator role for two seasons. By shifting to special teams coordinator/safeties coach, he will take on the same role that he had at Nebraska from 2004-07. The Cornhusker special teams were statistically among the top 25 units in the nation. “Defensively, I am going to be the defensive coordinator. Bill Busch is a tremendous coach. He will be the special teams coordinator. He will be the safeties coach, and he will be the associate head coach. That will allow myself and Bill to communicate with one another on improving the defense,” Andersen said. Andersen was defensive coordinator at Utah from 2005-08, where he helped guide the Utes to a 13-0 record in 2008. Utah finished the season ranking No. 2 in the AP Poll after winning the BCS Sugar Bowl with a dominating 31-17 victory over Alabama. “I don’t want anyone to think that I have all the answers to the defense. This is the best structure of the staff that we have at Utah State, which will allow us to be able to move forward and put the kids in the program in the best position for them to be successful. It doesn’t come without sacrifice, I understand that,” Andersen said. “We will work very well together on the defensive side, and Bill will be right there with me as we continue to call defenses together. Nobody else on the defense will be moved. I love the guys on my staff, and I don’t see it as a demotion to Bill Busch. I see it as an opportunity for him to be an associate coach and move forward in his career and to be a special teams coordinator where he was when he was at Nebraska for four years. A major point of emphasis is to be able to take a game over on special teams, and I believe that Bill Busch will give us that,” Andersen said. Utah State concluded the season with a 4-8 overall record and 2-6 WAC mark. Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics. -USU-

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