After one of the worst seasons in BYU history, head coach Kalani Sitake admitted that changes needed to be made.
It didn’t take long as the program announced Monday morning — two days after defeating Hawaii 30-20 in the final game of the season — that Ty Detmer has been relieved of his duties after two seasons as the Cougars’ offensive coordinator.
The 1990 Heisman Trophy winner still remains under contract as BYU begins its search for a new offensive coordinator. The new coordinator will make decisions regarding the offensive staff, but it is still possible that Detmer could stay on staff as the team’s quarterbacks coach or other role within the football program.
During his two years, the BYU offense continued to regress. In 2016, the Cougar offense averaged nearly 30 points per game under Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams and averaged nearly 400 yards per game. However, in 2017, the BYU offense was one of the worst in the entire country as the team averaged just 17.1 points per game for 123rd out of 129 teams, and 118th in total offense at 325 yards per game.
Even when the offense was able to move the ball down the field, the Cougars struggled mightily in the red zone, scoring just 17 touchdowns in 38 trips in the red zone. Of those trips, the offense only scored on 74 percent with a number of many missed field goals and interceptions. In total, BYU’s four quarterbacks this season combined for 19 interceptions, tied for second-most in the country.
Known as the “quarterback factory” and lighting up the scoreboard, the Cougars scored 10 or fewer points five times this season.
The ending wasn’t pretty for Detmer who was regarded by fans as one of the program’s most likable players. Detmer won the program’s only Heisman Trophy winner during his record-setting season as a two-time all-American and went on to play 14 years in the NFL.
With Ty Detmer out, who should the Cougars replace him with? Does BYU bring in a successful FCS offensive coordinator, hire another former player, or bring in somebody with a lot of Division I experience? With that, here are several replacements to take over the offensive play-calling duties.
The coaching veteran who is now at LSU, was part of the Cougar staff during the 2004-06 seasons, including helping BYU finish 11-2 in his last season with wins over TCU, Utah and a dominating Las Vegas Bowl win over Oregon.
Grimes spent several years at Auburn we he helped set offensive records and helped guide the Tigers to a perfect season which was capped off with a 2011 BCS Championship victory over Oregon.
At LSU, Grimes has molded his offensive line into helping the Tigers have three consecutive 1,000-yard rushers, including Leonard Fournette, who set the school’s single-season mark with 1,853 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2015. In 2016, Derrius Guice then set the single-game record after putting up 285 yards against Texas A&M.
Don’t be surprised to see BYU target Grimes as the current coaching staff could greatly benefit from Grimes’ experience at a number P5 programs.
An outside receivers coach at Oklahoma, Simmons is also a BYU graduate. During his days at BYU, Simmons was a three-year starter before going on to become just one of two coaches to coach two different Biletnikoff Award winners in Dede Westbrook (Oklahoma) and Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech). Simmons is very familiar of what is expected of bringing back the air raid offense to BYU as he was worked with Mike Leach at Texas Tech and Washington State.
In 2014, Washington State led all FBS schools in passing, averaging 477.7 yards per game, en route to shattering the Pac-12 record with 5,732 passing yards.
Although Simmons does not have offensive coordinator experience, due to salary limitations at BYU, the Cougars won’t likely pay for a successful Division I coach and will likely have to hire an up-and-coming coach at the FCS level or take a chance on guys like Simmons, Grimes, etc.
Other names popping up include former BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae who has coached the offense twice under former BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Both are currently in their second seasons at Virginia.
Speaking of former Cougars, former BYU quarterback Jason Beck — John Beck’s backup and who has been with Mendenhall since 2013 — followed the gang out to Virginia where he is currently the quarterbacks coach. Other potential names being thrown around are Paul Peterson who helped turn Snow College back into a powerhouse. Peterson began his coaching path at BYU as a graduate assistant in 2006.
Aaron Roderick, a BYU graduate, had two stints as offensive coordinator at Utah before being let go last year. During his time at Utah, which spanned over a decade, Roderick served as the quarterbacks coach, receivers coach and the passing game coordinator. Both Sitake and Roderick know each other very well having both coached at Utah together.
BYU will need to act fast as recruits, who can now officially sign Letters of Intent in December, will be looking to see what direction the program looks to take and who will be brought in on the offensive side.
Who would you like to see BYU hire as its new offensive coordinator?