Having Dallas here is great. To have another set of eyes, to have a guy who has played at a high level, been in the battles, a who understands defenses, a guy who has played the game, understands what is expected here, a guy who knows the offense is awesome. When we talk, we’re on the same page. We bounce things off each other. To have Dallas here working with me is an awesome experience. —BYU offensive line coach Mike Empey
A Reynolds is back at BYU practices this fall, this time in the role of a graduate assistant working with the offensive line.
Dallas Reynolds meets a few players before BYU’s football practice before everyone comes out and does stretches. After practice, he often singles out a player and spends an extra 10 minutes with the guy as the squad shuffles off the field for the locker room.
Reynolds is one more voice in an offensive bubble. But his is a trusted one.
“It’s been great,” said BYU offensive line coach Mike Empey. “Having Dallas here is great. To have another set of eyes, to have a guy who has played at a high level, been in the battles, a who understands defenses, a guy who has played the game, understands what is expected here, a guy who knows the offense is awesome. When we talk, we’re on the same page. We bounce things off each other. To have Dallas here working with me is an awesome experience.”
Reynolds said it all agrees with him. “I love it, it’s an awesome feeling. Coach Empey is great to work with. It’s an awesome staff, they are knowledgeable, know what they’re doing and are having fun with it too.”
Reynolds, folks remember, is one in a long line of Reynolds brothers who followed in the footsteps of their father, former BYU coach and lineman Lance Reynolds. Matt started all four years for the Cougars at left tackle, earned all-MWC honors and signed with the Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2009.
In this fall camp, seeing the familiar hulk of Dallas working alongside Empey is a big plus for BYU head coach Kalani Sitake.
“Dallas is great. He’s an experienced guy that’s played with the Eagles,” said Cougars offensive coordinator Ty Detmer.
“That group enjoys him being there because they’ve seen him play here in college, they respect him and they listen to what he has to say. He’s been in it and done it.”
Empey, who has responsibility for coaching all the offensive linemen, both tackles, guards and the center, is the beneficiary, says Detmer.
“He brings another set of eyes. I’ve seen in practices during individual drills where Mike has Dallas take the interior linemen and Mike moves over and takes the tackles. He gives us a little freedom there to split that group up and teach a little more specific technique, more detail than Mike would ordinarily have time to do.”
Personally, Detmer says Dallas fits the O-line group like a glove. He understands what they’re going through, helps them understand the pressure, how to handle the speed of defenses and concentrate on the task at hand.
Reynolds thinks like the players and his personality as a jovial, quiet giant is welcome in fall camp.
Said Detmer, “The Reynolds family is great. The father, Lance is great. I really enjoyed playing under him when he was a coach and I’ve followed his kids through their careers here. They are a great family and love football all the way.”
Tight ends coach Steve Clark remembers when Dallas came home from his two-year LDS Church mission and joined the team. One of his first days back, Bronco Mendenhall took the team to a swimming pool for a little fun and relaxation.
“Dallas does great cannon balls off the high dive at the pool,” said Clark. “When he just got off his mission he was probably 250 or 260 pounds and it had to be the day he got back he was out there doing flips off the high dives. We knew he was a good athlete when we saw that.”
Clark said Reynolds will especially be an asset to Empey on game days when he is perched in the press box helping Mike see what he needs to see. “He has a great personality that just jives with what the offensive linemen need," Clark says. "He understands them and gets along with them. That’s important, to get their trust and confidence.”
Being the son of a coach, Clark said Reynolds understand his role as a graduate assistant, he also knows the boundaries that go with it.
“He’s very soft-spoken guy, kind of quiet, loves to do his job. He likes the computer. He’s behind the computer screen all the time looking a film, getting reports ready. It’s the typical thing you see GA’s do. A lot of times you see GA’s come in and they want to start coaching guys, but that’s not exactly their job. His job is to break down film, watch it. When Mike asks him what he thinks of something, he then gives his opinion. He’s been outstanding at doing what he’s been asked to do and is doing it really well.”
So, does BYU’s O-line meet a former Philadelphia Eagles O-lineman's eye test this fall?
“They’re coming along great,” said Reynolds. “They’re great with their assignments, they know where they need to go, we are working on some fundamentals right now with some, but that first unit is ready to roll. The good thing too is they have enough depth. They have guys to step up and guys who can come in. Empey has some rotations going and I’m confident with all of them.”
Reynolds said his contribution, he hopes, has made some difference, but that’s for others to say.
“I just try and share some fundamental technique things here and there, try and help with things, show some hands and feet stuff I wish I’d known when I was here. I talk to coach Empey about some schemes and other things. Hopefully, it translates and it can help out.”
Several times in the space of minutes after Monday’s practice, Reynolds singled out the atmosphere Sitake created around his program, specifically the attitude of the players, particularly the linemen.
“That’s the awesome thing about this group is they’re willing to put in the time and effort to improve. They’re fun and the atmosphere out here is fun and friendly and the guys love playing.”
Reynolds can’t wait for another practice, computer session, group film or meeting to begin.
He’s all in.
Well, as much as part time allows him to dive in.