As Kalani Sitake promised in his Monday press conference, he would begin recruiting. Not only has the recruiting begun with players, but even former BYU greats. Recently announced, BYU Heisman trophy winner Ty Detmer will be returning home to BYU. The stand out quarterback in college and excellent 14 year NFL quarterback has accepted a job to become the new offensive coordinator and probable quarterback coach. Pending changes within the nine coaching slots, Detmer will coach quarterbacks to open an assistant position elsewhere.
Detmer has no collegiate coaching experience. His greatest learning and coaching opportunities came as a players coach in the NFL. When in full time back-up roles he taught NFL great quarterbacks on reading the defense. His offensive expertise at BYU led the way to a defeat of number one Miami at the time, still one of the greatest upsets in school history.
Not only has his playing, player coaching, and mentoring experience been an impact, but Detmer has spent the last five years as the head coach of St. Andrews Episcopal high school in Austin, Texas. During his five year tenure at St. Andrews he took the small religious school from an 0-9 record to an 8-1 record. His ability to relate with young athletes has been amazing.
If anything can translate from his high school coaching to his collegiate position it will be his offensive experience. His natural offensive technique and talent brings a new element that most coaches don’t naturally have. Becoming the new coach and mentor for freshman standout Tanner Mangum and possibly Taysom Hill, BYU has the best man available for the job. Mangum, a possible NFL prospect, should count his blessings as he prepares for a long career at the hands of a legend. Hill, who has suffered through injuries, could see similar successes if he so chooses to return.
Something else about Ty Detmer makes his hire intriguing. Continuing with the return to the Royal message, sent loud and clear following the Las Vegas Bowl, Ty Detmer also was coached by the great Lavell Edwards. Returning to their roots and the Royal blue traditional colors may be another refreshing change that BYU acquires. Being that both Sitake and Detmer were key role players in forming BYU football tradition, invites a historical message to their hiring. Detmer, one of the greatest products of the Lavell Edwards era is seen as an icon to alumni. His hiring alone is hoped to bring back many who have felt uninvited by previous staff’s.
During the press conference to which fifty or so current and former BYU players attended, the welcoming back of alumni was loud and clear. With the hiring of Gary Crowton, the Cougars had seemingly lost track of their heritage. With the hiring of Bronco Mendenhall, the yellow brick road with arrows on it had pointed the program back in the right direction. Under the direction of Kalani, Ty, and Ilaisa Tuiaki the Cougars are ready to carry on the tradition that once made them a national title contender.
Ty Detmer may not have a case to be the best offensive coach out there yet, but time will tell in his situation. Upon looking at other potential hires, it didn’t seem that anyone would make the same impact he can, or has already. Other prospects included former quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Brandon Doman. Doman, who showed great success as quarterback coach, saw his coordinator position dwindle in mediocrity. For his case, Jake Heaps didn’t quite live up to expectations. Riley Nelson followed Heaps and although more consistent, he never quite reached elite status. Steve Sarkisian, the former USC head coach was also mentioned by some sports writers as a possibility, but citing recent issues his name was soon removed from conversation. Norm Chow, the former Hawaii head coach was also mentioned in a possible return to Provo. The once offensive coordinator under Lavell Edwards, Chow had recently been let go in Hawaii and given his age and track record in Hawaii was also taken out of consideration. No matter which way the Cougars could have gone, Ty Detmer always seemed like the safest bet for the job.
Under the direction of Sitake, Detmer should show a balance of pass and run. When fielding questions in his welcome press conference he stated that BYU will have balance. Running the ball and passing the ball will give the Cougars the much needed balance they need. With the return of their elite quarterback and a flurry of talent at running back, including Jamaal Williams who will be returning for his senior season, the Cougars have depth unlike ever before.
Another key element that Ty Detmer brings to the table is the recruiting value. His ability to look a mother and father in the eye and say what BYU can do for a student athlete is unlike any other. Detmer, now a member of the LDS church, did not begin his tenure at BYU as an LDS church member. That advantage allows him to know both sides of the recruiting picture, no matter the athletes background. Another key element he brings to the table is his Heisman trophy. When visiting with high power recruits, especially quarterbacks, he will be able to show the fruits of his labors, and let them know that he can coach them to achieve the same.
No matter how many advantages or disadvantages critics may see in this hire, it sure has energized Cougar nation. The buzz on social media is only half the excitement coming from the overall situation. Ty’s motivation to become something more has always been driven by doubters. His name alone brings energy, and in this era especially, that is what BYU needs. The return to energy, the return to passion, and the return to excellence is coming. There’s been an awakening, Can you feel it?