Dick Harmon: Can Robert Anae overcome challenges in return to BYU?
This will be very hard, but Anae must try to hit the mark. Fast. His boss has one year on his contract and nobody knows what Mendenhall will do after 2013. And the Cougars face one of the toughest schedules in recent history this fall.
Anae must create something similar to what Sumlin carried with him. But everyone wants that. Anae doesn’t have a complete staff he can transplant; he has to create one on the run. It will be very difficult. If he can pick the right loyal pieces in the days to come and sell them to players in spring, it will go a long way to ease the transition. Anae’s job might be easier because he is familiar with the facilities, regime, setting and head coach. He is also propped up by some very good talent that returns.
Secondly, Anae’s staff has to be capable of teaching his system. It is one thing to have a system, but it’s another thing to actually teach it. The last time Anae took BYU’s offensive coordinator job, he brought in a playbook, but he and his staff members were not experienced at teaching it; it was a whole new thing for him. This is not the case this time around on Anae’s part. An educator by trade, he is now an experienced football practice teacher.
He was not the same OC even from John Beck to Max Hall. He learned. Then left.
I’d look for Anae to return BYU to a pocket quarterback system that features a tough run attack and deployment of tight ends. With his experience at Arizona, there could be some spread and option mixed in.
The most successful running backs and tight end, receiver and QB in school history came under Anae’s last reign in Provo. Guys like Curtis Brown, Harvey Unga, Dennis Pitta, Austin Collie and Max Hall. The offensive line he just coached at Arizona opened the way for Ka'Deem Carey to win the NCAA rushing title in 2013.
With BYU’s expected success on defense to continue with the return of Kyle Van Noy, even if Anae got the Cougars 10 more points a game in 2013, it would be a huge step forward from the past two struggling years on that side of the ball.
But nothing Anae does will work if he doesn’t assemble a staff that believes in him and is loyal to him.
That was not the case the first time around.
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at email@example.com.
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