After a week of speculation, BYU fans (at least the majority of us) received welcome news when offensive coordinator Robert Anae officially resigned this morning. A lot of people saw this coming after last week’s news that Coach Bronco Mendenhall advised all of his offensive staff to seek employment elsewhere or to re-apply for their positions.
As much as I loathed the presence of Robert Anae on the coaching staff, I have to give credit where credit is due. Many of us don’t remember the years before Anae because they were very forgettable. He was able to bring back a vaunted passing attacked that was missing for the first half of the decade. Many credit his success to the NFL caliber players he had on his rosters, but even when Gary Crowton had talented players he wasn’t able to piece together an offense quite like that of Anae. He was good, but never great — and, in the end, that’s why he is out.
Everyone is speculating that Anae will join up with his former boss Mike Leach. The former Texas Tech coach is the front runner to fill the head coaching vacancy at Maryland and, if he gets that position, Anae could join his offensive coaching staff.
So now that Anae is gone, there are two questions that need to be answered. Which of the offensive coaches will be back from last season’s staff? And who will be named offensive coordinator?
At this point, I expect most of the offensive staff will return. In all likelihood, Brandon Doman will take over as offensive coordinator. Mendenhall has been singing his praises all season and even said that he was the best quarterbacks coach in the country. I also think he is a great coach and, if we don’t promote him soon, someone else will.
Offensive line coach Mark Weber should be back next season. He has always done a phenomenal job coaching the big guys up front, even when he had very young and inexperienced players. The running backs coach Lance Reynolds should also be back, but he might decide it’s time for him to retire after being with the team for 25-plus years.
If anyone else is going to leave, it would be wide receivers coach Patrick Higgins. The receiving unit had some bright spots toward the end of the year, but they were uninspiring for most of the season. There is a rumor going around that Ben Cahoon, a former BYU star and record-setting wide receiver in the CFL, could be in line to take his place.
I would love for Bronco to bring in some new blood to the program, but I’m not sure where it would come from. A lot of people are throwing out the name of Ty Detmer, but that could be a stretch because he doesn’t have any real coaching experience.
In the end I don’t see a whole lot of change occurring within the offensive staff. Doman will probably get promoted and use the same basic system that was in place. If anything, we can look forward to better play-calling and a team that plays like they respect and trust their coach.