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Dick Harmon: Utah State loss catalyst for changes at BYU

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  • localblue Sandy, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 12:27 a.m.

    I hope we're not witnessing a Norm Chow situation all over again. While I like Bronco and have backed him throughout his tenure, ultimate responsibility lies with the head coach. I'm sure there is more to the situation than is being shared in the media but one has to wonder whether this could not have been salvaged with some solid leadership and accountability, both at the head coach and AD levels. Lavell Edwards was untouchable so Chow took the fall. But in this case Bronco is not Lavell and should ultimately be held accountable. Looking from afar this seems a bit knee-jerk given the success the team had during the past and uncertainty at QB this year. Whatever happens, OC at BYU is a tough job because there are a 100k armchair QBs who think they could do it better. I for one appreciate Anae and the success he brought to BYU. I hope he harbors no hard feelings and has great success wherever he goes.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Dec. 31, 2010 1:06 a.m.

    Both Anae and Jaime Hill had something in common. They did'nt interview well with the press or relate with the team. Hope things work out for the ex-coaches and the team.

  • RaininTime Orem, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 2:07 a.m.

    I really thought Anae did a good job.

    The two-QB thing was dicey. I am not too happy about Nelson keeping his injury quiet. He took valuable reps away for Heaps and he knows it. I kinda think Nelson should lose his scholarship because of it.

    So if Anae felt targeted, then he should move on and I am confident he will do well wherever he goes.

    Nice article Dick, as per usual.

  • TrueBlue Orem, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 2:08 a.m.

    Anae has leadership and accountability; his basic problem is poor decision-making -- his decision this year to go with two quarterbacks when just about every knew such a system almost never works.

    Calling a dive into the middle that resulted in a fumble just before halftime against UCLA a gift-wrapped a TD for the Bruins that almost cost BYU the game.

    Going for it on 4th and short when a FG would have put BYU up 9 points, and then throwing a pass instead running a simple quarterback sneak.

    Going ultra-conservative after Heaps had completed 4 of 5 and moved BYU to the 20 yardline with three straight dives into the middle that lost yards, resulting in a long FG try that was easier to block.

    Robert did a good job with the experience he had, but he was an O-line coach before he came to BYU, which accounts for his lack of creativity in critical situations.

    Anae will end up in Maryland working for Mike Leach as his O-line coach.

    Brandon Doman will be BYU's new OC and we'll see a marked improvement in BYU's offense next season.

  • The Rabbit (in Spanish) Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 4:44 a.m.

    Pointing out specific plays to demonstrate flaws in Anae's play calling is meaningless. According to many fans, any play that didn't work was a bad play call. The fact is, the players and coaches on he other side of the field are ALSO intelligent and trying to win the game!

    It is the trends in play calling that can be questioned in my opinion. In 2008 against Utah BYU averaged 7.1 yards per rush and was down by 3 points in the 3rd quarter. Anae decided to emphasize the pass for the rest of the game and ended up with 5 interceptions. Four of which occurred AFTER coming within 3 points. That was either stubbornness or incompetence.

    Against UCLA, it would seem there were only two plays in the play book. Unga up the middle and going long to Collie. UCLA crowded the line, shot the gaps, and just hoped collie would burn them too much. Ever heard of a screen play? Guess not.

  • Louisiana Cougar Pineville, LA
    Dec. 31, 2010 5:30 a.m.

    Enjoyed the historical perspective.

    The buck stops with Bronco, one way or the other, with regard to Anae.

    The Cougars badly misfired against USU and that game was the turning point of the season and the best indicator of BYU's nadir offensively and defensively.

    Mendenhall needs to NOW demonstrate inspiring leadership. It will be interesting to see whether he can do that.

  • FaifeauSam Lehi, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 6:39 a.m.

    Before we name OC and other assistant coaches, let's consider Ty Detmer for OC and Ben Cahoon for receivers' coach. There's a lot of talent out there and the door is still open to tap some of it. Good luck, Bronco, in putting a strong staff together.

    Go Cougars!!!

  • Chad S Derby, KS
    Dec. 31, 2010 7:12 a.m.

    It was simple. BYU asked Anae to resign or be fired. He saw how things went down with Jamie Hill and decided that he actually respected the University and decided to resign.

    I'm certain he would have rather stayed. His offenses did have a 75% winning percentage over 6 years after all.

  • hedgehog Ann Arbor, MI
    Dec. 31, 2010 7:16 a.m.

    Anae is smart enought to know not to board the Titanic. As Bronko lays slogan T-shirts on the deck chairs Anae realizes much better opportunites are in BCS conferences - possibly Maryland.

    As far as the bronko backup plans?

    How much OC experience does Domain have? crickets

    How much *coaching experience does Detmer have? crickets...

    * Detmer is currently a head coach for a 0-11 high school football team.

  • Old Cougar Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 8:35 a.m.

    All of us proficient "arm chair coaches" miss a call and a "mark it down" prediction once in awhile.

    Personally I thank Coach Anae for his contributions to BYU football and wish him well in his future career.

    My big concern is: Who will now maintain the Island connection (or whatever it is politically correct to call it)?

    Mark it down --- There are many good teams whose rosters include a high percentage of "Island Heritage."

  • Frozen Chosen Savage, MN
    Dec. 31, 2010 8:49 a.m.

    Anae wasn't horrible but I do think that BYU can do better at OC. The only way this independence thing works for BYU is if they turn it up a notch performance-wise. They can't afford another bad season like this year or they will be left on the sidelines for good the next time the BCS conferences add teams.

    I think it's important to maintain some continuity with Heaps so I think Doman should be given a shot at OC with Detmer taking over as QB coach. They don't play any top 10 teams next year - every game on that schedule is winnable - so they need to make a big splash in their first year of independence.

  • Tommy2Shoes Lehi, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 9:34 a.m.

    Thanks Robert A. for some great moments in BYU football history. Poor recruiting and poor coaching on both sides of the ball caused the troops to lose a lot of games this year. Recently the recruiting has gotten better. Now coach tries to fix the coaching weakness. If the current players work really hard this off season we will get 10+ wins in 2011 and better in 2012 and 2013. If we get the best coaches her to develop the players to their highest level, we get a BCS bowl.

    B=Bold=BYU Fans
    C=Confident=BYU Coaches
    S=Strong=BYU Players

    Oh, and we keep the $ to build stronger than before. Sweet!

  • firestorm Lehi, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 9:39 a.m.

    There are two types of coaches, those who have been fired and those who will be fired. In football coaches like LaVelle Edwards are rare. The only thing consistant about football teams is they change. Every coach knows this going in, it is part of the buisness. And Detmer has 14 years "coaching" experience in the NFL. Teams didn't bring him on for his overwhelming physical presence. The brought him into the orginazation because the "Dude Knows How To Ball".

  • Old Navy Provo, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 9:59 a.m.

    After the Utah State debacle, BYU hit rock bottom. I was at the game, it was the worst showing on both sides of the ball I've ever seen.

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 10:01 a.m.

    First thing: Anae has done a great job and provided a great service to BYU.

    It's sad to see some writers, especially those connected to the so called newspaper in SLC, react as if all the statements by Anae and BYU administrators and coaches are lies.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Dec. 31, 2010 10:19 a.m.

    D. Harmon, the reason why people believed that Skousen hired Anae is because that's what you reported. But I'm glad you cleared it up because I was scratching my head wondering why I thought Mendenhall flew to Texas and interviewed Anae.

    I guess you can't believe everything you read. Is that also the reason you've softened your language on what Bronco told his coaches to do? It doesn't seem your reporting anymore, "seek other employment" as the direction from Bronco.

  • kugrlover Provo, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 10:19 a.m.

    Old Cougar | 8:35 a.m. Dec. 31, 2010
    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    My big concern is: Who will now maintain the Island connection (or whatever it is politically correct to call it)?

    Mark it down --- There are many good teams whose rosters include a high percentage of "Island Heritage."

    Rest EASY, Old Cougar (and all the others who are fretting and hand-wringing on message boards and talk radio about the future of BYU's Poly Pipeline for recruiting) The answer is already on-staff, and has been for years.

    His name is Steve Kafusi, BYU D-line coach. Kafusi seems to have been forgotten in all the fuss about Anae's departure. He is Tongan. The pipeline will be fine.

    Rise N' Shout

  • fender Washington, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 10:22 a.m.

    The head coach always has the last word and Mendenhall hobbled Anae with his oddball micromanagement, the ludicrous and unworkable 2QB system being exhibit A. Small wonder that Anae has had enough. He has to be fed up with being the fall guy for a dysfunctional staff and with taking such a beating from fans who understand so very little about the game and how a coaching staff operates, but who blame him for every failure. Good move and good luck coach.

  • fresnogirl Fresno, CA
    Dec. 31, 2010 10:24 a.m.

    I like that Bronco allowed his coaches to self-evaluate and decide if BYU is still the best fit for them and if they are still the best fit for BYU.

    He will now hold evaluations with them and they can have open and honest discussions about performance, goals, and needed improvements.

    In this way, it becomes a conversation more than a lecture.

  • Skyline Fan Holladay, Utah
    Dec. 31, 2010 10:31 a.m.

    Great guy, not so good of a coach. Coach Reynolds deserves his job in my opinion.

  • wYo8 Rock Springs, WY
    Dec. 31, 2010 10:37 a.m.

    Seems like I remember Lance Reyonlds was going to be named the coach. Anae was hired to add some flare to Lance being named the coach. Then some players approached the AD and wanted Bronco Hired. HE and Holmoe may have flown to Lubbuck to Let Anae know things had changed. But Anae was mentioned with Reyonlds. Also for you old timers Anae and Chow have or had to many things in common. Their time at BYU was good and great things happened but it was and is a time for change.

  • Golfhack20 West Jordan, Ut
    Dec. 31, 2010 10:48 a.m.

    WOW!!! Coach M is making Anae the fall guy. Isn't this the same man that considers coaching at BYU a Calling? He admitted this himself! He was the one that didn't decide to go with Heaps over Nelson! Now Heaps is playing like the real deal. Wouldn't it of been something to see how good the 2 QB system would of worked with the last 6 games. Maybe they would of been just fine. Like it or not the Head ball coach is in charge of the Team and I think Bronco learned that more this year than ever. Good Luck to all who was affected this year!!!

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Dec. 31, 2010 11:26 a.m.

    I'm sorry but I'm just not buying the attempt to put a happy face on this. What's the difference between between being told to "seek employment elsewhere" and being fired? We're posting your job on the Internet but that's OK, you can reapply for it. Don't people like Coach Reynolds who has stuck with the program for nearly thirty years deserve better than this? Larry Miller often said you have to show loyalty to get loyalty. How long will it be before talented coaches you want to keep conclude that BYU isn't any different than any other place and move on to greener pastures?

  • FAYM Fruit Heights, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 11:48 a.m.

    hedgehog | 7:16 a.m. Dec. 31, 2010
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Anae is smart enought to know not to board the Titanic.
    ===

    This is a story about BYU, not Utah.

    And no one knows whether or not Anae has been contacted by The Utes.

    Let's keep on topic, snd stop feeling the need to bring Utah up.

  • PAC-12 Envy Taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 12:28 p.m.

    If a 7-6 season results in the dismissal of 2-plus Cougar coaches, I suspect that independence will bring a lot more turnover on the Cougar staff.

  • fresnogirl Fresno, CA
    Dec. 31, 2010 1:40 p.m.

    As usual, Hedgehog, you lack of information is telling.

    First of all, no one but Bronco and co. know if Doman and Detmer are even being considered for OC.

    As for Detmer's foray into high school coaching this year, you conveniently "forgot" to mention that St. Andrews only has 350 students total. Last season they went 10-0, go shut out 3 times and only scored in the double digits twice.

    Did you even know that?

  • fresnogirl Fresno, CA
    Dec. 31, 2010 1:41 p.m.

    oops. that SHOULD read, St. Andrews went 0-10. (Big difference)

  • DanU Sioux City, IA
    Dec. 31, 2010 3:16 p.m.

    My opinion based on my observations only.

    It seemed to me, early in the season, that there was serious discord on the team as they did not seem to play as a team. It was hard to watch. Yes, some experience was lacking and the early schedule was pretty rough, but not enough that could explain their performances.

    When Hill was fired, I honestly felt that if Mendenhall had been an OC, Anae would have been fired. Throw in Chambers' problems and dismissal. I imagine that the offense was complaining that the defense was not doing their part. The defense was probably complaining that the offense was NOT spending enough time on the field. Who on the offense is going to complain while Mendenhall is the DC and HC? The firing of Hill and dismissal of Chambers probably put an end to most of the verbal discord. But, probably not the internal feelings.

    Once the changes were made, the team started playing better in all facets of the game. The fact that the level of competition dropped considerably helped as well.

    At the end of the season was the right time to deal with the internal feelings.

  • Parkercoug Parker, CO
    Dec. 31, 2010 3:33 p.m.

    I wonder what Doman's role in the discord was? A few years back he was involved in some discord amongst the QBs including a QB from Pocatello. I have no inside knowledge of course. Ty Detmer has plenty of motivation to come to BYU these days from what I hear from people who know Ty and his current situation. Just a gut that Coach Doman will not be as good as Ty, who played in the NFL, was touted as being very smart, and knowing offensives backwards and forwards. Popularity with the players only goes so far.

  • Seattleview Federal Way, WA
    Dec. 31, 2010 4:10 p.m.

    One thing that strikes me from this story is the impression that players dont seem to be motivated by Anae and dont play harder for him as they did for Bronco after he took over the defense. I like it when a player says he came here to play for a certain coach. Communication is a big part of that and if your nature is to not communicate very well or get close to players then I expect you wont be as successful as you should be.

  • MatthiasG Farmington, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 4:30 p.m.

    First, thx to Anae for the success he helped BYU achieve. BYU's attempt to make this look like it was a simple self-performance review, and Anae chose to leave is semi-embarrassing. In the name of appearances, the whole offensive staff was 'let go', so it wouldn't appear like one or two coaches actually was.

    I think loyalty demands you don't do that to an entire coaching staff, and if it was a 'wink, wink, this isn't real guys, you'll be hired back' sorta thing, thats even worse. This isn't the first time the admin. has engaged in less than straight-forward dealing with it's coaches, and it ends up looking much worse than just being open and honest w/ the public and all involved. Being deceptive to maintain appearances utterly defeats the purpose, and the end result doesn't represent the school I love properly, imho.

  • Duckhunter American Fork, UT
    Dec. 31, 2010 5:07 p.m.

    I'll be honest, I really don't care about all this other stuff. If Bronco thinks Anae wasn't cutting it and he needed to go then cut him loose. If he wanted to let Anae save a little face and "resign" instead then so be it. Just hire the new guy and win games, that is all that matters and all that should matter.

    The ute fans trying to make an issue about appearances or methods really don't matter. Who cares what they think? I certainly don't.

    Just win and if someone isn't good enough then get someone in here that is.

  • DixieAggie Saint George, Utah
    Jan. 1, 2011 5:36 a.m.

    The loss to USU was not due to bad OC calls. Anae has a proven track record. He is a convenient scapegoat to cover the reality that BYU football is not it's all cracked up to be. USU played better football, bottom line. Good luck next season, Cougars, you are all going to need it.

  • AZCoug Mesa, AZ
    Jan. 1, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    Get a grip Dixie Aggie, you're going to need it based on how your team played the rest of their schedule this year.

  • Duckhunter American Fork, UT
    Jan. 1, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    Hey dixie aggie you should enjoy the fact your team beat BYU this year, just like the ute fans should enjoy their teams win over BYU. But it is plenty evident that going into next year I would much rather be a Cougar fan than a fan of either of those two teams. Neither of you will have a winning record next year and neither will beat BYU. Mark it down or whatever it is christina b and wedgie says. LOL

  • fresnogirl Fresno, CA
    Jan. 1, 2011 11:50 a.m.

    @Duckhunter

    You're exactly right. I always find it interesting how so many Utes (and some Aggies) are sooo worried about Bronco's job performance. I've never seen anyone be so incredibly hypercritical of absolutely EVERYTHING another person does.

    I guess they figure that their "vote" counts somehow; that someone actually involved in the program is going to take their remarks seriously; or, if they throw enough mud at a good man, some of it will stick.

    The simple fact here is, Bronco had a private conversation with his coaches. We do not know what was said. We only know rumors. We DO know that Desnews reported (before the bowl game) that after the bowl game Bronco would evaluate ALL his coaches.

    I would suggest that anyone who doesn't understand why he told his staff to self-evaluate read the book Drive. It was one that Coach M. suggested as a good read this year.

    I, of course, highly doubt that the Ute/Aggie haters will actually do that. It's far, far easier to mock, hate and criticize than make any effort to understand someone else.

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    Jan. 2, 2011 7:04 p.m.

    Hey, Hodgepodge: His name is Bronco - that is
    B - R - O - N - C - O! Have some respect and I will too!

  • DixieAggie Saint George, Utah
    Jan. 3, 2011 2:02 p.m.

    Of course the Aggies are horrible at football, but I am still a fan. BYU football is pretty good yet so many of their fans get panicky when they get a mediocre season. Lighten up and appreciate your season for what it's worth.

  • duckhouse Rexburg, ID
    Jan. 3, 2011 8:35 p.m.

    I think Anae did a good job. I am sorry to see him go. I do think there were times that called were made that were aweful. But that happens in any program, I would have liked to see them work together and build a stronger program. I don't like to see Doman in the OC job, his head is looking for a big paying job and He thinks "He is the greatest" I for one don't like his attitude. I think Mike Leach, or Ben Cahoon, Tye Detmer, or Chad lewis would be great for BYU. I wish Anae the best, He is a great leader for young men. I think Bronco is a great coach, but He has to at least have some maturity in this decision. Not just some spur of the moment decision. I have been a season ticket holder for 30 years----I would like some fore-thought in this decision just once. There are better coaches than Doman---He may be ok, but he will be gone in one year, which is another blow to BYU. Please get this one right Bronco.