Dick Harmon: BYU football brass must try to make Ty Detmer part of Cougars' rebuilt offensive staff

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013 12:10 p.m. MST


With his team sitting at 7-5 at the end of the regular season two months ago, two tasks had to be on BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall's mind as his team shuffled on the bus after a win over New Mexico State in Las Cruces, N.M.

No. 1, he needed a bowl win. No. 2, he needed some kind of wow factor to restore confidence that BYU’s offense could return to some semblance of its former glory.

Mendenhall got the first, a dramatic fourth-quarter defensive gem in the Poinsettia Bowl to finish with eight wins in 2012. It remains to be seen if he’s put his program on its way to accomplishing the second task.

Re-hiring Robert Anae as offensive coordinator could be considered a surprise to many. It was an unusual move to say the least; it did signal a move toward discipline, execution, toughness and a stronger offensive front.

With the departure of offensive line coach Mark Weber, receivers coach Ben Cahoon and running backs coach Joe DuPaix, and retirement of longtime staffer Lance Reynolds, the 2012 offensive staff is essentially gone, creating a clean slate for 2013.

Yes, I know the status of Brandon Doman is unknown. But if the interviews of Sacramento State’s Paul Peterson and former BYU starting QB Max Hall as possible quarterback coaches are any indication of Doman’s place on the staff — he actually doesn’t have one.

These are all kinds of wow factors.

But the biggest wow factor of all would be if former Heisman Trophy winner and Hall of Famer Ty Detmer found himself on Anae’s staff.

This would be a long shot, but not because Detmer isn’t capable. It is well known that most of his 14 years in the NFL were spent tutoring quarterbacks, including Brett Favre. But would he be interested in coaching Division I football?

If Detmer had a great desire to coach in the NFL, he’d have done so years ago and would have had no problem finding a job. Same thing with a Division I college coaching position. If he was motivated to jump into that circus, he’d have done so by now.

Detmer is currently enjoying his life, freedom and the low-profile of coaching a small Texas high school near Austin. He’s got his 2,000-acre hunting ranch, pickup truck, guns, fishing holes and peace. He would never give all that up for an 18-hour-a-day NFL assistant coaching job that left him with no family life.

In reality, it's hard to imagine Detmer giving up his current life to coach at BYU either, unless he was extremely compelled to do so.

On the other hand, if BYU told him his alma mater really needed him and made the right case and he felt comfortable with who he’d work with, he might step forward and accept a whistle, BYU gear and an assignment.

Detmer would not chase or pursue it. That isn’t him. In my opinion, he’d see the hullabaloo over him as a distraction to the current staff and head coach. He doesn’t have in-depth relationships with members of the current staff, although Mendenhall/Anae’s hiring of his former teammates, Garett Tujague and Mark Atuaia, softens that equation.

In 2010, BYU had a chance to court Detmer and did not, although I thought it a no-brainer at the time and opined so. This time, that mistake won’t be repeated for a quick in-house hire.

Detmer would solve myriad public relations issues for BYU football. He'd sooth bruises of some donors. All the departed — DuPaix, Cahoon and the retired Lance Reynolds — and the potentially departed — Doman — had popular pockets of fan support. On the likability scale, they moved the needle. Detmer buries it.

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