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BYU foootball: Cougar coaches use Twitter to motivate and recruit more effectively

Published: Thursday, July 31 2014 7:20 p.m. MDT

Offensive line coach Garett Tujague is interviewed during BYU Football Media Day in Provo, Monday, June 23, 2014. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Offensive line coach Garett Tujague is interviewed during BYU Football Media Day in Provo, Monday, June 23, 2014. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

PROVO — Social media is advancing communication lines for just about everyone these days and BYU football coaches are doing their best to keep up — particularly on Twitter.

A quick Twitter search reveals that almost every coach on BYU's staff has an active account — accounts they use to communicate more effectively with recruits and current players, among other reasons.

“People want to know what’s going on and having that way to drop off messages here and there — it’s a great means to do it,” said BYU assistant coach Garett Tujague. “We have a good time with it as coaches and it’s just a great way to build excitement, not only with fans and recruits, but amongst ourselves as coaches.”

Twitter communication assists coaches during long off-seasons spent traveling around the country to recruit prospects from coast to coast; most prospects have active Twitter accounts.

Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall  shouts instruction during a scrimmage in Provo  Friday, April 4, 2014. BYU alumni attended the scrimmage.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall shouts instruction during a scrimmage in Provo Friday, April 4, 2014. BYU alumni attended the scrimmage. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Want the latest on a recruit? Log onto his Twitter account. Many prospects find it easier and faster to tweet out their own news rather than waiting for it to be reported elsewhere.

“You have to be on social media to stay up with this generation,” said BYU assistant coach Mark Atuaia. "Most of us didn't want to do it at first — Twitter thing. But I, like all of us, love it now. We love getting our message out whenever we want and in the way we want."

Atuaia, and other coaches, also use Twitter to ease the ability to make contact with interested recruits.

“Using Twitter works as a tactic, too,” Atuaia explained. “It’s a way that young men we coach and recruit know where we are and what we’re doing. We tweet an area we’re in and recruits know they’re in that area and then contact us. It happens all the time and it’s great because it’s within the (NCAA) contact rules.”

Running backs coach Mark Atuaia is interviewed during BYU Football Media Day in Provo, Monday, June 23, 2014. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Running backs coach Mark Atuaia is interviewed during BYU Football Media Day in Provo, Monday, June 23, 2014. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

When coaches are on the road recruiting it often becomes a lonely and mundane process, prompting coaches to seek any form of motivation.

Many of the Cougars' coaches have found that motivation on Twitter.

“We feed off the competition. We’re all competitors and we definitely feed off another coach bragging about what he’s getting done on Twitter or elsewhere,” Tujague said. “I think the interactions we’ve had on there have generally helped us and, in turn, have helped the program, which is what it’s all about.”

Both Tujague and Atuaia have two of the more active Twitter accounts, but both agree receivers coach Guy Holliday has led the way for all of them.

"Coach Holliday, man, he knows how to preach it and how to lay it down," Atuaia said. "He knows how to get people fired up and I love it. I love going out there and just putting down what we believe — what we're about here. I try and do the same."

Indeed every Cougar coach seems to have embraced Twitter, even head coach Bronco Mendenhall, but there remains one notable exception — Robert Anae.

So can fans expect the Cougar offensive coordinator to show up with a Twitter account any time soon?

“Absolutely not,” Atuaia said with a hearty laugh. “That’s why we do it. He’s sort of the mafia don for all of us and just sends us out to do all that. No, I can’t see Coach Anae getting on Twitter any time soon.”

Email: bgurney@desnews.com Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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