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After a crowd of reporters had finished interviewing new offensive coordinator Norm Chow on Thursday afternoon, a few of them wandered over to Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham.

He laughed.

Whittingham jokingly said one of the reasons he hired Chow was to deflect media attention and give himself a break from daily interviews.

Don't believe it.

Chow came to Utah to jump-start an offense that struggled against the best defenses it faced last season.

With the Utes headed to the Pac-12, the challenge is greater and the pressure to succeed will be more intense.

"It's exciting," Chow said after the Utes' second day of spring practice. "These players, they give you all they've got. Kyle has them in a nice frame of mind. …

"We're changing a lot of things [but] they've accepted it all. We make a million mistakes, but we do some nice things as well."

Said Whittingham: "… It's a work in progress, but I think we took a step forward today. There's a lot of installation with the new offense, so there are going to be some rough spots along the way.

Power game

One focus of Utah's spring practice will be developing a power running game, which means using a fullback and fewer direct snaps to the quarterback.

"When Kyle and I first talked, it's something he wanted," Chow said.

"And that's something I've always liked and enjoyed doing. So it wasn't a tough deal. He wanted that downhill run game that's been missing a little bit."

According to Chow, running effectively between the tackles and controlling the ball will help Utah in the Pac-12.

Helping Wynn

Quarterback Jordan Wynn is sidelined this spring after shoulder surgery, but the Utah coaches believe a power rushing attack game will help him, too.

"Job one for a coach is to maximize the personnel," Whittingham explained. "Our quarterback … is a very good thrower [but] not a great runner.

"To run the spread the way it should be run — in high gear — you need a quarterback who's a running threat. …

"With the situation we're in, if we get a little more under center, that will give us a better play-action pass game, off the downhill run game."

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