Brigham Young Cougars Relieve Jaime Hill of Defensive Coaching Duties

After the Brigham Young Cougars fell to 1-4 Friday night, they needed to change. Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall moved quickly firing defensive coordinator Jaime Hill. The defense, while loaded with talent, has played terrible this year. Early on, it looked like the defense was suffering from fatigue, due to an inexperienced offense being unable to move the ball. After four games, the poor performance has created an ugly pattern.

In all fairness to the defense and to Coach Hill, BYU has played some very experienced offenses with talented players at skill positions. Air Force just beat Navy for the first time in ages. Nevada is 5-0 using an offense that has taken the nation by storm. Alabama, UCLA, and others are using the pistol and having success. Utah State showed how dangerous they could be in their season opener at Oklahoma. Three of the four teams also have added incentive to play their best game against BYU. Any team that doesn’t know their defensive assignments well will struggle against these teams. The BYU defense has also been stricken by injury. Stephen Thomas hasn’t played since suffering a concussion against Florida State. Romney Fuga and Jameson Frazier were injured during the Nevada game, and Andrew Rich and Jordan Pendleton were added to the injured list last week.

My first thought was that this move by Mendenhall had more to do with just the defensive play on the field. There must be some off field issues or something internal driving this. Listening to the press conference, Bronco has explained that leadership differences, not performance, led to Hill being let go. Bronco explained that he felt this move would help him better lead the team. This can be interpreted many ways. I wasn’t expecting that Coach Mendenhall would air out any dirty laundry (if there is any), or completely divulge his entire thought process to the public, so unless Jaime Hill does a tell all expose this is probably all we will get. Regardless of what led to this decision, I think this move will help the team.

My only other question is who to hire? Bronco might call the plays and have a heavy influence on the defense the rest of this year and next year, but a defensive coordinator is still needed. This decision falls into the President Kimball category, “Certainly the most careful thinking and planning and praying and fasting should be done to be sure that, of all the decisions, this one must not be wrong.”

I made some strong statements about the BYU culture and the BYU defense last year after the Florida State and the TCU losses. I touched on this subject again in my year end report for 2009. With this change in defensive coaching staff, now is the time for BYU to end its 30 year neglect of the defense. After the passing game got rolling, LaVell Edwards should have turned his attention to the defense and how to bring it to the same level as the offense. This lack of attention to the defense has kept BYU from jumping from a good, solid football school to one of the elite—a top 10 team on a regular basis. Look what Utah and TCU have done by emphasizing defense.

Bronco Mendenhall must find the right guy who can help recruit BYU guys, but get them to play on the field with tenacity and ferociousness. Every once in awhile, when BYU fields a great defense, BYU has a special season. More often than not, the offense carries BYU to nice heights, but reaching the lofty realm that the 1984 and 1996 teams reached won’t be done until BYU has a defense to match the offense.


  1. Do you think that Bronco could bring the needed defensive mindset back to the defense?

  2. Yes, he can, but the key is to find someone else who can. Bronco cannot be the Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator very long before it starts to hurt the entire program.

  3. Oh yes, I'm sure the Spencer Kimball approach to finding a defensive coordinator would be the most effective and rewarding way. How about using the brain that God gave you and leave the magical thinking to someone else? Why do you think Utah is the fraud capital of the U.S.?

  4. As I understand it, "thinking and planning" requires using your brain. Knowing Bronco, I am pretty sure that he used his brain in the first place when he delegated so much responsibility to Jaime Hill.

    Are you saying you have never used prayer to help you make an important decision regarding your professional life? You don't think God would help you with that and could share something from his omniscience with you about the decisions you might make?


Post a Comment