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Monday, December 27, 2010

Brigham Young Cougars Coaching Changes

When Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall fired defensive coordinator Jaime Hill in early October, it should have put BYU's other assistant coaches on notice. Now, BYU is accepting applications for the position of Assistant Football Coach. None of the other coaches have been fired, but it is looking ominous that not everyone will be back next season. The offensive side of the ball looks to be the most volatile.

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
How the dominoes fall will largely depend on what happens with current offensive coordinator Robert Anae. Depending on a person's persuasion, fairly strong cases can be made to retain Anae or to release him. If Anae is ultimately let go, it could be for any one, or all, of the following three reasons:
  1. He is not getting along well with the other coaches and players.
  2. He is underachieving with what he has.
  3. He needs to go so BYU can keep Brandon Doman on staff.
With no disrespect to Coach Anae, let's assume that he is not on staff for BYU in 2011. Who could fill this spot?

Brandon Doman
First in line is current quarterback coach Brandon Doman. Doman is a good candidate for several reasons. He has been on staff since Coach Mendenhall took over in 2005. That makes him familiar with what has been happening. He knows the players; what they can and can't do, and how to get the most out of them. The BYU offense doesn't need to be revamped. It has been very successful the last six years. Doman could start immediately to make subtle changes that yield dramatic improvements in the fall. Perhaps the best reason to promote Doman to offensive coordinator is that he could bring Bronco's intensity and personality to the offensive side of the ball.

Darrell Bevell
If Doman is not offered the position, or he turns the position down, then Darrell Bevell might be the right man for the job. Bevell is the current offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. He had a stellar college career as a Wisconsin Badger that included a Rose Bowl victory. The Vikings coaching structure is up in the air right now with Brad Childress being fired earlier this year. Bevell might prefer to move down to the college level after going through the whole Brett Favre drama and knowing just how hard it is to succeed in the NFL without a great quarterback.

Danny White
Max Hall's uncle, and former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Danny White might be interested in the job. He has coached several years in the Arena Football League and even won two Arena Bowl Championships.

Josh Heupel
Josh Heupel won a BCS National Championship with the Oklahoma Sooners 10 years ago. He can bring valuable experience about the culture and mindset that is required for a program to get to the top in the modern BCS era. Currently, he is merely the co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. He might be interested in jumping ship if he could have that title all to himself at BYU.

QUARTERBACK COACH
If Doman is promoted to offensive coordinator, then that would create a vacancy for a new quarterback coach. With the last two BYU quarterbacks in the NFL, and five star recruit Jake Heaps currently at the helm, BYU is one of the premier places to coach quarterbacks. There should be no shortage of qualified candidates lining up to fill this spot. Four names stick out as candidates to coach this position and help continue BYU's rich quarterback tradition.

Ty Detmer
Ty Detmer is not only the most popular man for the job, he is the most decorated BYU quarterback ever. Coaching is in Detmer's genes. His father was a great football coach in Texas. Detmer would bring 14 years of NFL experience rubbing shoulders with some of the greatest quarterbacks and offensive minds of all-time. Detmer seems to be someone who could mesh well with Bronco and who could keep his ego in check enough to not have a problem with a younger Brandon Doman being above him. While Detmer may be set financially and not need this job, this position will be attractive to him if he is serious about a coaching career. He won't get any better offer after an 0-10 season with St. Andrews Episcopal School (Austin, TX).

Paul Peterson
Paul Peterson was a graduate assistant at BYU in 2006. He has been at Southern Utah University (SUU) the last few seasons as the quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator/recruiting coordinator. During that time, SUU has shown steady improvement as a team and in the passing game. SUU had a 3,000 yard passer with a 21:6 touchdown to interception ratio this past season. In 2009, the Thunderbirds passed for over 3,000 yards as a team. Peterson is a Bingham High School product who played at Snow College and Boston College.

Gary Sheide
The first star quarterback under LaVell Edwards was Gary Sheide. He has been coaching at Lone Peak High School in Utah. Many credit him for developing Lone Peak's prized quarterback recruit Chase Hansen.

Joe Germaine
Like Darrell Bevell, Joe Germaine had a successful college career playing in the Big Ten. As quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Germaine was named the 1997 Rose Bowl MVP. His best season with Ohio State, he passed for 3,330 yards and tossed 25 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He had a five year NFL career. Currently he is coaching at Queen Creek High School in Arizona. He was previously the quarterback coach at Basha High School, also in Arizona.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Without an All-American tight end or wide receiver, a glaring deficiency in the coaching at this position came to light. BYU may have its best collection of talent at receiver next year. It would be a shame to have the enormous potential go unrealized because BYU does not have the right coach.

Ben Cahoon
The only former BYU receiver who could be qualified to coach and who has recent professional experience is Ben Cahoon. He set the Canadian Football League record for most career receptions this past year, and he has played in several Grey Cup Championship games. Cahoon has regularly worked informally with BYU receivers during times that players cannot have contact with the coaches.

Kevin Curtis
Kevin Curtis is another product of Bingham High School. He has had success in the NFL. Injuries and being diagnosed with cancer kept him out of the league for a little while, but he just signed with the Miami Dolphins. As tempting as trying to have a renaissance in the NFL may be, he might be willing to hang up his cleats if offered this job.

I don't have any other specific names, but if I were Bronco, I would look at the receivers coaches at schools with good passing games that highly involve wide receivers. Heaps has a strong arm and a preference to throw down field more than BYU has done in recent years. Two schools that come to mind are San Diego State and Boise State.

OFFENSIVE LINE
Bronco should to everything necessary to retain Mark Weber as offensive line coach. The line was great in 2008. In 2009, he worked a miracle replacing four starters without missing a beat. After a shaky start this year, the offensive line was solid and deserves much of the credit for the success during the second half of the season.

RUNNING BACKS
The same can be said for Lance Reynolds. This year was the first year since 2004 that BYU did not have a 1,000 yard rusher (J.J. Di Luigi was very close with 917). However, it was the first time BYU has ever had three running backs with at least 500 yards rushing.

The job opening that BYU has indicates applications will be received until January 4, 2011. Until then, we will have to enjoy the speculation and the bevy of bowl games.

Other recent posts on BYU FOOTBALL TALK:
Friday Highlights: Las Vegas Bowl 2009 (Brigham Young Cougars vs. Oregon State)
Thursday Trivia: Post Christmas Bowl Games
Flashback: Brigham Young Cougars 44, Oregon State Beavers 20 (Las Vegas 2009)
Poll Results: How does Will Muschamp leaving Texas impact BYU's chances of beating Texas in 2011?
New Mexico Bowl Recap: Brigham Young Cougars 52, UTEP Miners 24

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