From tight end to tight end coach

BYU finished off hiring five new offensive coaches just less than a month ago: Robert Anae (offensive coordinator), Garett Tujague (offensive line), Mark Atuaia (running backs), Jason Beck (quarterbacks) and Guy Holliday (wide receivers). But what about the tight ends?

That's where grad assistant Andrew George comes in. He was the hero of the dramatic overtime win against rival Utah back in 2009, the last time BYU beat Utah. The same man who caught that pass from Max Hall in between defensive back Joe Dale and middle linebacker Sylvester Stevenson now has the responsibility of coaching BYU's tight ends.

He has donned the mantle of grad assistant and is currently solely responsible for developing BYU's tight ends. It's his goal to make coaching a full-time job.

"I'm putting way too much time in for it not to be something that I want to do for a living," said George. "It's a lot of fun and something I want to do, but, yeah, that's the ultimate goal."

When Coach Mendenhall let his entire offensive staff go, there was some uncertainty as to what the coaching responsibilities would be.

"I wasn't sure what they were going to do," said George. "When [Anae] initially came in, he was going to be the offensive line coach. Then obviously we hired an offensive line coach, so I wasn't sure what the roles were going to be.

"They were going to have Kelly Bills coach the tight ends, and he decided to take an offensive coordinator position. Then they offered it to me, so I guess it was a surprise and I wasn't sure what they were going to do. I know [grad assistants] could coach positions, but again, huge opportunity."

George was excited after learning he was chosen to coach the tight ends. Having him just seems like the perfect fit, given the fact he can coach the tight ends to play in a similar role he once held in Anae's offense.

"We're going to more flex stuff than we did the last couple of years," said George. "So, we need a guy that can run and get open who has a little bit of speed to him. If that guy happens to be a 230-, 240-, 250-pound guy, then that's the guy. We've had guys like that in the past with Dennis [Pitta] and Johnny Harline."

The flex tight end is sort of a tweak to the tight end position, given the fact that he acts more like a slot receiver. The type of player that can play the flex tight end position doesn't necessarily have to be a 250-pound guy.

"We've had guys in that spot who are bigger, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a tight end-body guy," said George. "We're just looking for the best player who can play physical – because you have to go up against linebackers and you have to go against safeties – who can be the most physical and get open and do all the things that we ask them to."

George will also be coaching the smaller h-position guys in the slot. That would mean some players, depending on the formation, would go from Coach Holliday to George to learn the position.

"I'm not sure how much we'll do of that," said George. "We'll do a fair share though. We'll still do a lot of trips and four-wide kind of stuff, but I'll handle essentially all the inside receiver stuff."

To keep up with the new expectations, that means a few guys might have to shed some weight. There are currently eight tight ends in the program. Only two are currently 250 pounds: Kaneakua Friel and Stehly Reden. Meanwhile, Richard Wilson is 240 pounds, while the rest are 236 pounds or lighter.

"I think we've got a long ways to go, especially just from the change in the offense," said George. "It's a change in the tempo, so for some of our guys it means cutting a little weight to be able to keep up and run the routes that have to run."


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