Dick Harmon: Utah State loss catalyst for changes at BYU
Since that time, Mendenhall has backed Anae and supported his work as coordinator in every press conference conducted the past six years. Even after extensive probing and questioning of certain offensive play calls and strategies by the media over the years, Mendenhall consistently said he approved of his offensive coaches, specifically Anae.
So what changed?
Well, since the loss at Utah State, I think Anae's staff pushed for more say in planning, scheming and play-calling and a metamorphosis started. Much of it was positive for a struggling offense that stood on a 1-4 record, 80th in passing, 96th in total offense and 114th in scoring after leaving Logan.
When BYU finally reached bowl eligibility, led Utah most of the game in Rice-Eccles and turned things around, Mendenhall told reporters it was his most fulfilling season.
It was not so for his offensive coordinator.
Somewhere in the ensuing weeks, I believe Anae decided his approach and contribution ceased to be as satisfying as it once was. Surrounded by a staff that was eager to push in fear of their own jobs, a measure of serenity evaporated — again in my opinion.
Heading into an easier part of the schedule with offensive statistics and wins climbing, public scrutiny and criticism of Anae's offense continued. Controversial decisions such as playing two quarterbacks in August and September continued to draw fire. I believe Anae felt underappreciated and many of the pylons he once felt as support weakened.
A quitter? No, Anae is a realist.
His critics will say the blessing of working with all-time performers and talent masked his flaws. His supporters will say his contribution helped make those all-time performers, and the record does not lie.
And so it will be debated. It is the nature of the game, the sport and the personalities that get plugged into roles and jobs.
Nobody understands this more than Anae.
It was time for him to move on.
Anae did just that on Thursday.
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