This trait is key in changes like the one Mendenhall triggered after the bowl win over San Diego State in December. John warns BYU fans the new offensive staff is going to have growing pains. There will be an adjustment. “These guys haven’t worked together as a group. It’s natural they’ll need time to put it together. There will be a big learning curve at first.”
John knows. It’s the story of his career.
“I’ve been in a lot of bad situations, so I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way.
“You can’t make these kind of changes and not have some adjustments. Because of this, it is so important to have people who have the personality of Jason. He has experience in this; we both did. We both experienced coaches at BYU who were just getting broken into new jobs," he said.
"Brandon Doman had never coached and had just come out of the NFL, and at the time Robert Anae hadn’t been an offensive coordinator. It took time for everyone to learn things, ways to do things, what worked, what didn’t, what were strengths and weaknesses and what needed attention.
“Sometimes that led to some frustrating times. When it does, the quarterback has to shoulder that, live with it and deal with it. People expect the quarterback to overcome growing pains and make plays. So it’s nice to have a coach who is even keel and keeps the quarterbacks even keel.”
In other words, in a nutzoid, crazy, sky-is-falling situation, you don’t want a crosseyed, panicking coach stumbling over commands.
Both Becks were together during BYU’s 2005 loss at San Diego State. The Cougars just lost to TCU the week before by a point. In San Diego, BYU found itself in deep trouble offensively and the two Becks stood on the sidelines puzzled, confused and frustrated.
“Nothing would work and nobody on the staff knew how to fix it. Nobody had answers. That staff hadn’t been together very long and it wasn’t as if coach Anae had been calling plays for years and years."
John says Jason learned from that experience. “He saw what happened and understood why. He saw things the rest of that season and was there the next when everything began to work and we rolled. He knows how it got fixed.”
Experiencing highs and lows teaches great lessons.
Take Jason’s experience as a grad assistant at BYU, his job at LSU and Weber State and the fact he just took a Division II school from the bottom to the top offensively in one year as a coordinator. He has witnessed and experienced key elements in coaching.
“Jason saw this as a player and has seen it as a coach. This bodes well while BYU will have some growing pains with these coaching changes. He’ll be able to sit in that quarterback room, look players in the eyes and not only say he’s been there, but explain what is going on, why it is happening and tell them how he is going to fix and solve it. This is huge for a young quarterback.”
Proclaims John of Jason: “This will be a huge hire for Bronco, not only for this season, but for years to come.”
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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