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Tuiaki is Out
We talked about this on our show Saturday night during the first half of the Stanford game - it was time. Past years there was either success or other causes to blame (youth, injuries, etc). But it was time and the move was made after the Arkansas game. After Ilaisa Tuiaki announced it on his personal social media accounts, the official BYU Football account posted an announcement as well:
For all you folks who swore up and down that Kalani would never do it and never fire his friend or that he was too nice, well, here's your humble pie.
Certain legacy media members in the BYU market reported that Tuiaki tried to tender his resignation but Kalani "refused" it. Many midwits on the interwebs interpreted that to mean Kalani was too nice to let his buddy go. But not here at GEHB.
If you've been on our Discord you've known since October that Tuiaki was relieved of his duties as DC and moved to just working with the DL. The "offer" was to immediately exit the staff, and Kalani would not accept that. There's a few reasons for that:
- It let Kalani start making calls without drawing attention to an open position. Groundwork has been done for over a month without a single mention on Football Scoop. Think of how Kalani handles injury reports.
- You still need bodies to coach - but here he could've just slid Jan Jorgensen in as a replacement DL coach, but then it could be weird if the new DC does't want to retain Jan. So just ride it out.
- Tuiaki still is a lifelong friend. It is easier for him to find his next job at season's end than after getting fired midseason. The optics are better. It's like having to explain an unemployment gap on your resume. Well, actually, it would be an unemployment gap on his resume. BYU had nothing to lose - there wasn't a major bowl or conference championship on the line. So set a guy who invested 7 seasons into your program up for his next job as best you can while kicking him to the curb.
Okay What are you ACTUALLY Hearing
Over on CSI, Jeff posted a hot board of names that I'll throw down here:
Derrick Odum - DC, SJSU Ties to the state and Kalani. Played at Utah. Current G5 DC
Ephraim Banda - DC, Utah State. Has Texas ties and philosophically is very aggressive.
Position Coaches With Potential
Shuan Nua - DL, USC
Jason Kaufusi - DL, Arizona
Vic So'oto - DL, Cal
Ikaika Malloe - LB, UCLA
Chad Kauha'aha'a - DL, UCLA
Justin Ena - DL, SDSU
Kelly Poppinga - LB, Boise State
Frank Maile - DL/AHC, Boise State
That's a lot of DL coaches?
Who of these is "the guy"? Well, it's TBD. I'm confident Kalani has had discussions with all of them at some point but that's also because he has known all of them (sans Banda) for decades. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. BYU is a unique place to coach and having a guy there who understands the weirdness helps.
There's advantages to doing a complete nationwide search - but also if you have somebody just as capable you already know you get along with, that network should mean someting? I expect multiple of these guys to be on staff in some capacity.
What ELSE Are We hearing
We are not ready to post public names, but there is enough smoke today to say that we're confident there will be addtional staff changes on BOTH sides of the ball as well as possible off-field shake ups.
It is looking like the New Mexico Bowl will be the assignment. That puts the last game of the season at 12/17. ARod said today on coordinator's corner that they've been hearing that date for some time and the NM Bowl RT a tweet about BYU being bowl eligible, so it seems likely. Also kind of poetic as that was the bowl we played in to finish the 2010 season before entering a new era.
In 2017, Ty Detmer was let go the Monday after the season ended and Jeff Grimes was hired 2 weeks later. A similar timeline will occur here. The early signing period opens on December 21 and the more time afforded before that to get things buttoned up with current commits and try to build relationships with any guys waffling the better.
I expect by the end of this week/beginning of next we will:
- Know publicly the official fate of current staff members for better or worse. Steve Clark was the only coach retained by Jeff Grimes, you can assume safely that none or just one of the current D staff will be retained. It'll be whoelsale on that side of the ball.
- Hear more publicly on movement of targeted replacement(s).
- Also hoepfully have a Big 12 schedule! There's some buzz from Texas fans on Twitter that they Longhorns will be making the trip to Provo. Hopefully Taysom is there to run out the flag and wave it in front of the visiting fans.