Coaching Staff

What were they wearing? How many of them were there? Which direction did they go? I must find them; I am their leader. Rob James is back with a look at the current BYU football coaching staff.

It's almost unfair that coaches are not only asked to teach their sons to be quality, knowledgeable football players, but they are also expected to keep them on target in the classroom, make sure they get along with the rest of the team, keep their weight down, their vertical leap up, their 40 reasonable, help them memorize a playbook, get them to bed on time, teach them to resist the groupies, alcohol, drugs, steroids and bad boosters, teach them what do they do if the defense blitzes with 7 guys, what should they do if the offense lines up with half the team in the middle and the other half on the near sides, make sure they're to practice on time, to the plane on time, to bed on time, and to the game on time, and it must all be done while they're winning and going to a bowl game. Oh yeah, your family is at home, your wife needs your pay check, junior wants you at his little league baseball game, the fence in the back needs painting, and the grass hasn't been mowed in a month.

Did I mention that your six month review with the board of directors is up, the Bonacalavistaristic Seventeenth ward and 4 cougar club chapters wants you to do a talking engagements? Your temple recommend expires in 3 weeks and you have 873 unread e-mails.

That's why they get the big bucks, I guess.

Coaching is a lot more than just a whistle at BYU. Much more is expected of BYU coaches. Bronco has assembled his group of guys though, and they all seem to be on board with the young Bronco Mendenhall. It's time to take a close look at them.

Tom Holmoe
One thing to consider is the new appointment of Tom Holmoe as the Athletic Director. From his own mouth, the buck starts and stops with him. He is the top of the ladder as far as BYU athletics is concerned. Apparently he answers to no one. There is Tom Holmoe, then, there is Deity.

It's interesting to consider that he comes exclusively from football lines, which includes being a member of the BYU national champion football team, a four time super-bowl winner and a prior job as a defensive coordinator, secondary coach and head coach at a PAC 10 football program. He also coached the 49ers secondary. He never coached women's volleyball to a national championship. He wasn't the CEO of a top 500 company. He didn't used to make multimillion-dollar deals with overseas corporations. He doesn't have a PHD in business management (although he does have his masters in athletic administration). He has no self help books on the top ten list. He didn't have a job as a College President or Athletic Director at another school. He's never been a stake president or regional representative. He's a football guy. I think that tells you something about the priorities and focus that BYU has as far as athletics.

One thing most should know about coaching is that the character and personality of your coaches will reveal itself in the traits and qualities of your team.

Paul Tidwell, Linebackers
Pat Tidwell is a favorite among players. Paul Tidwell is a Gary Crowton hire from La Tech, but he's a native of Utah, and was the head coach at Snow College. Snow and Dixie have kind of taken the place of Ricks college as Junior college feeder schools for BYU, and Paul Tidwell's legacy at Snow (including a national championship) will help with recruiting efforts there.

Brian Mitchell, Cornerbacks
Brian Mitchell is like an amazing artist, that has only 2 colors on his palette. Wow, what could he do with a deep talented group of CB's. As it is, he graciously takes what is given to him, and somehow makes it work pretty well each year. Once in a while when he does get to coach that gem, he knows how to get the most out of him.

Coach Mitchell is another of those that are fiercely loyal to BYU, and has many deep roots at the school. He is a leader and beacon for the African American players that find their way on to the Cougars roster, and he carries the reputation as a great recruiter.

Bill Lamb, Safeties
He's got the second most years at BYU of the current coaches. He's coached mostly safeties and linebackers. Yet with his 12 years at the school, he quite the low key guy. We know he brings lots of experience, and lots of success to the players he's worked with.

Steve Kaufusi, Defensive Line
For the 3rd time in as many years at BYU, the University of Utah has tried to entice Coach Kaufusi to return to the northlands. Coach Kaufusi has remained true and faithful to his alma matter. He is a highly regarded recruiter, especially for our Polynesian brothers, and he has a system of rotation and technique that fits perfectly into Coach Mendenhall's defensive scheme.

Patrick Higgins, Outside Receivers, Special Teams
This is one of Coach Mendenhall's "hires" and he comes with high praise for his… take a guess… "Intensity and Effort". Bronco also mentioned his moral and ethical character. Higgins was not mentioned as one of the front runners or even on the "long list" of possible coaches when Bronco picked him. But obviously Bronco had specific things he was looking for because he looked past some real gems. Coach Higgins will put his experience to work with the outside receivers and special teams. The receivers already talk highly of him.

Jeff Grimes, Offensive Line
Coach Grimes has already received high praise from Coach Anae. Coach Anae says that Jeff Grimes is doing it right, and that he's fully committed to leaving the development and coaching of the offensive line in Grimes' capable hands.

Coach Grimes has also received rave reviews from the offensive line who seem willing to go to war for him. He continues his reputation as a NFL "prospect preparer" as he took Scott Young from the defensive line and in one year, turned him into one of the best linemen BYU had last year. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles and recently signed a contract with them. The toughness, and "nastiness" level has been raised, and Coach Grimes is ready with another year's version of the Wasatch Front.

Brandon Doman, Quarterbacks
Of Doman, Mendenhall said: "He is a fierce competitor, a natural leader and is very bright and energetic. He has strong ties to BYU and knows what it will take to help restore the winning tradition of this program. He will be a strong mentor for our quarterbacks."

Coach Doman is actually the "Leaders Coach," and Bronco Mendenhall has given him the charge of making the Quarterbacks leaders. He wants Coach Doman to train them to be field generals.

Coach Doman was mentally hired as a coach at BYU by Bronco Mendenhall when he completed two passes for 70 yards, then ran for a touchdown on the third play late in the fourth quarter to give LaVell Edwards a win against Utah in his last home game as the head coach.

Brandon is expected to bring that leadership and his experience to the quarterback position at BYU.

Robert Anae, Offensive Coordinator, Inside Receivers
Coach Anae is the Keystone to the new BYU offense, the Cog in the coug, the Engine behind BYU's output. He is the Chief, the Maestro, the General, the Conductor. If BYU gets an aggressive, up tempo, high-powered offense, it will be because Coach Anae has done what Coach Mendenhall brought him here to do.

Coach Anae will develop the offensive game plans, and he will call the plays during the game. He comes from great blood lines. He is the son of a coach, a Kahuku graduate, a division I-A player shaped by Norm Chow and Roger French, and student of the Texas Tech offense for 5 years under Mike Leach.

Throw in that the man his Masters and PhD in Sociology.

He has that love and passion for BYU that Bronco is always looking for, and he expects passion and intensity from his players as well. The following is a quote from Coach Anae, but listen how closely it resembles something that Bronco would say: "Some recruits came to watch us work out on the stairs - going from upper to lower campus. We spent a good 25 minutes running up and down those stairs. So it wasn't just a little deal that the recruits saw. That right there told us which kids would fit in our program and which ones wouldn't. There were some that shook their heads and said, ‘I will not do that.' We didn't offer those kids scholarships that recruit weekend."

Coach Anae has vowed to bring back the same kind of mindset that he and the 1984 team had. "You've got to be mentally tough," he said. "'You've got to be physically in shape, you've got to develop a mindset of confidence and winning."

The BYU offense will be the BYU offense, not Texas Tech offense. Coach Anae will use the weapons he has. If Curtis Brown has some kind of break out year – beyond what anyone might expect, BYU might run more than pass. If Moa Peaua is too much of a monster to leave out of the line up, you'll see BYU line up in a split back or "I" formation more often. No matter what the offense ends up looking like, Coach Anae swears it will be team oriented and execution oriented, not scheme oriented. In other words, "How well we play, how well we play together has more to do with the outcome than whether we are running the ball or whether we are passing it."

Lance Reynolds, Assistant Head Coach
Bronco's right hand man is a BYU rock. Lance Reynolds' roots run very deep at BYU. 22 years deep. He was my coach at Ricks College prior to that. He is the veteran coach who's had his head deep into the LaVell Edwards playbook. He was Robert Anae's coach, Brandon Doman's Coach, Steve Kafusi's Coach, Brian Mitchell's Coach, and was the Coach when Jeff Grimes played BYU as a member of the UTEP Miners. He has served as a coach for the running backs, the offensive line and as the offensive coordinator. His son starts at center. Another will join the team this year, and a third signed with BYU before leaving on his mission. He was a finalist for the head coaching job after Coach Crowton retired, and will serve as the assistant head coach and assistant offensive coordinator.

Coach Reynolds is the grandpa of the group. Coach Mendenhall says he will "rely on him for sound wisdom and reason". He may be Bronco Mendenhall's senior by 12 years, and a BYU veteran for nearly 20 years more, but his passion is still strong for the program, and has graciously accepted his role and agreed to continue his services for Bronco and BYU.

Coach Bronco Mendenhall – Head Coach, Defensive Coordinator.
Coach Mendenhall's character is mostly described as intense, passionate and fanatical and it represents the same traits that he expects from each of his players. He's the second youngest coach in Division I-A football.

In his initial interviews with players as soon as he took over as head coach, as well as his interviews with prospective recruits, Coach Mendenhall is very up front about his expectations, and is very discerning regarding the players' loyalty and passion for BYU. It's his first line of offense to make sure he has a bunch of mini-Bronco's out there giving every last drop of blood for the team.

His requisite personas for coaches are not any different. He looks for fierce competitors that are intensely loyal to him and the program. I sense the principal trait that will manifest itself in this team will be "Intense."

By his own admission, he is installing an up-tempo, high-powered offense to complement his already aggressive defense.

His talent and passion will still be with the defense. He will be their leader and their play caller. It's yet to be seen if, when the offense is faced with 4th and 6 inches on the 50 yard line, he makes the call or Coach Anae, but if I had to guess, Coach Mendenhall will be too busy thinking about the teams next defensive series to worry about a 4th and short.

His defense has shown its effectiveness, but there is still room for improvement, and more for the players to grasp about the 3-3-5.

There are some interesting parallels between the demographics of the coaches and the players at BYU. Kindly remember that these numbers are probably not 100% accurate, but they should be close.

Percentage of LDS players on the team 80%

Percentage of LDS Coaches at BYU 70%

Return Missionaries
Percentage of Return Missionaries on the team Appx 65%

Percentage of Return Missionary Coaches on the team. 40%

Poly Pipeline
Percentage of Polynesians on the team. 25%

Percentage of Polynesian Coaches on the team. 20%

African American
Percentage of African Americans on the team. 13%

Percentage of African American Coaches on the team. 10%

Gosh, that's weird.

75 Coaches
Coach Mendenhall sees the 65 plus returned missionaries on the team as coaches, leaders and role-models. He's going to use them, take advantage of their maturity and faithfulness. He wants them to take the lead on the field and off. He wants the returned missionaries quandary to be a giant advantage over other schools. He wants reporters to cry foul over the tremendous advantage that the "BYU Missionary Program" offers over other less advantaged schools.

BYU is packing 75 "coaches," all fully dedicated to the school in every way. They are willing to extend all their energies and passions towards the school and it's success on the field.

Now let's see if we can get the strut to come back.

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