In a shocking (or not so shocking) move, BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall today strongly encouraged all his offensive staff including coordinator Robert Anae, and longtime assistant head coach Lance Reynolds to seek other coaching opportunities for next season, this according to Deseret News writer Dick Harmon.
While satisfied with the outcome of the season, Mendenhall apparently is departing from what has historically been one of the most stable and safe coaching positions in NCAA Division 1-FBS football—being an assistant at BYU. Earlier this year on Oct. 2 it was this same source that broke the news that Defensive Coordinator Jamie Hill had been terminated by Coach Mendenhall and AD Tom Holmoe in a Saturday high noon meeting after the shocking loss to Utah State when the team hit rock bottom for the season.
Let’s look at the offensive staff and consider who Mendenhall definitely wants to see leave, and whom he just might choose to hang on to in the days ahead as he evaluates the staff. Who else will ultimately hear Donald Trump’s dreaded words at BYU?
Robert Anae (Offensive Coordinator): While a welcome change from Gary Crowton’s version of the spread, in 2005 Anae converted the offense to the Texas Tech/Mike Leach version of this scheme. While this scheme has worked with the talent BYU has been able to attract, many as of late have called into question Anae’s play calling, and without question if anything Norm Chow’s long tenure at BYU is proof that a coach can stay at one program too long and stagnate the entire program. Five years for one offensive coordinator is usually long enough and it's best they choose to move on. YOU’RE FIRED!
Patrick Higgins (Receivers): Considering all of the dropped passes this year especially in the first five games, I think Coach Higgins better have a good resume, since he is one I predict will not survive. “YOU’RE FIRED!”
Brandon Doman (Quarterbacks): While many feel that perhaps Doman deserves a promotion so some say, and perhaps he does and hiring Ty Detmer as a new QB coach might be the answer for BYU at this point particularly for the sake of Jake Heaps. But did Doman contribute to the lack of decision making that contributed to the disastrous two-quarterback platoon with Riley Neilson to start the year? The jury will be out on this one.
Lance Reynolds (Running Backs/Assistant Head Coach): Reynolds is the dean of the BYU staff and is now the only remaining assistant hired by LaVell Edwards (1982). As I alluded earlier, there are some whose enjoyment of life in Provo and Utah Valley outranks their ability to coach football. Barry Lamb concluded this over the summer as a linebacker coach, perhaps it’s time for Reynolds to do the same thing. I’m not looking favorable at a coach wanting to stay on to coach his sons, and feel this creates more conflicts on a staff despite perceived talent. Reynolds sticking around for this is about as bad as it can get. “YOU’RE RETIRED!”
Mark Weber (Offensive Line): Coach Weber deserves credit for making a good running game possible and being able to work with the others on the offensive staff, particularly in having to deal with Lance Reynolds (see above) and the likely issues involving his sons. It all depends on who runs the offense or who turns over. The jury is also out on this one.
The bottom line is, coaching permanency is a culture that must end at BYU, assistant coach turnover being something LaVell Edwards did not like in his latter tenure, and something that contributed to the program stagnating as time rolled on into the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. Bronco Mendenhall should be applauded for ending this sort of personnel policy on his staff.