3 min read

Please Stop Limiting Coach Suggestions to Former Players

It's not rocket science to figure out that when a coordinator is no longer calling plays and working full time with a position group they're no longer acting as a coordinator.

And for years people have wanted a new defensive staff and the same handful of names (and reasoning):

  • Vic So'oto (He is a great recruiter, look at USC!)
  • Shaun Nua (Harbaugh wanted him on staff, good enough for me!)
  • Justin Ena (hey, this is a BYU player I am pretty sure is a coach now!)
  • Lance Anderson (Hasn't look at the Stanford football trend since 2015 but remember he's LDS)
  • Kelly Poppinga (He is a great recruiter and linebackers coach!)
  • Frank Maile (USU did him dirty!)
  • Jay Hill (Look at Weber! And we hired an FCS head coach before as an assistant!)

Rinse and repeat.

There's a lot of chicken and egg in football - especially at the college level. Did the linebackers coach really transform somebody's game? Or did they just recruit a very talented player and the player made the plays? Outside of looking at what top schools pay to retain certain position coaches, it's hard to really grade a position coach, but that's another conversation. And we've talked before about how recruiting is about the delta - were you pulling guys that the school itself wouldn't otherwise pull?

But today, let's focus on the future.

Bronco Retiring Might Be the Best Thing Ever For the BYU Coaching Pool

I've seen people suggest that Jan Jorgensen should've been immediately made interim DC given his success at Snow calling plays and Tuiaki immediately removed from the building. Maybe that would work.

But what if it didn't?

Now that bridge would be burned.

Jan is a promising young coach. It appears he wants to be a lifer in the profession and doesn't want to do it just when it's convenient for him and theirs an opening like other assistants we've seen in the past.

Could Jan be ready for an FBS DC position? Maybe. I have no idea.

But if he isn't and it's a train wreck now we not only burned through a DC candidate, but a head coaching candidate as well.

The best thing about breaking up the Virginia staff was that it scattered LDS coaches all over the place that can develop on different trees, bring different perspective and come in 1 by 1 if ever needed to be a coordinator or maybe the HMFIC someday.

We Only Need One

We don't really need a ton of coaches that understand BYU and the weird things about it and that understand how to bring guys back from a mission.

The HC interacts with the admin.

The training staff deals with mission legs.

Other than making sure kids understand the honor code, no position coach needs to have a truck load of experience in things BYU related. So we don't need an entire staff of BYU guys.

So if you're feeling like Kalani's seat is getting warm and potential card carrying members that could replace him - the ideal is to have as FEW LDS coaches on this staff as possible and as many LDS coaches at other schools as possible. Because it's really hard to sell a position coach on a godawful defense for an internal promotion. Bronco was promoted but his defenses weren't the problem on those Crowton teams and everybody knew it.

What SUU Taught Us

Back in 2004, the SUU coaching staff that went 6-5 included:

Aaron Roderick, OC

Kevin Clune, DC

Kalani Sitake, Offensive Line

Fesi Sitake and Ilaisa Tuiaki as players.

Obviously Roderick went to Utah, was an OC there, then eventually made his way to provo as a QB coach then promoted to OC. There was rehab in between the less successful stops, but if BYU is the destination spot for LDS coaches, you get your shot as a coordinator or head coach and if it doesn't work you're never going to work at BYU again. That's just the nature of the business.

If you look at the Utah Tech staff it's in a similar vein - LDS head coach, lots of LDS assistants - Misi Tupe is LDS. Former Cougars Shane Hunter (Co-DC/LB) and Loni Fangupo (DL) are on staff. Steve Clark's son is the DE coach. Paul Peterson is well known and was a finalist for the OC job when Jeff Grimes was hired.

Utah Tech is also 2-6 this year and if this staff were to get blown up - it wouldn't be a big deal because they could all go to different places, continue to grow and prove themselves, just like that SUU staff from 2004 did.

But imagine Paul Peterson was the HC in Provo today and the Cougars were 2-6. Firing that entire staff would likely mean that 4 young coaches with future potential had burned their BYU shot.

What BYU Really Needs

We are going to be a Big 12 school next year. We don't need re-treads and we don't need to limit to just BYU guys willing to work for pennies - that stereotype is gone.

We need experience. We need proveng uys that are wired for coaching and have shown career progression. We can get a couple young up and comer, but the path for LDS coaches should be to be a GA in Provo, get used to how BYU works, then go get a job and prove yourself.

It's to time graduate from the stepping stone to the final destination.