Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall and San Diego State Aztecs coach Rocky Long talk after the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. BYU beat San Diego 23-6.

PROVO — Heading into spring football, which kicks off Monday, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall announced changes in his coaching staff's responsibilities.

Offensive coordinator Robert Anae will be the assistant head coach, while secondary coach Nick Howell will serve as defensive coordinator.

Mendenhall had been serving as defensive coordinator since midway through the 2010 season. Mendenhall will continue to call defensive plays and assist Howell in coordinating the defense.

In addition, outside linebackers coach Kelly Poppinga will also handle special teams coordinator duties.

"This formally recognizes our staff responsibilities and the contributions already being made by our coaches," Mendenhall said in a statement. "Robert, Nick and Kelly are pillars of our coaching staff. I have complete confidence in their coaching and leadership abilities and the sincere desire each has to help the young men in our program succeed at the highest level. I have great expectations regarding the contributions of each member of our staff as we prepare our team for the 2013 season."

Mendenhall said Howell has already been serving in many ways in the role as defensive coordinator.

"Whenever I have been unable to stay with our defensive coaches due to my responsibilities as the head coach, Nick has provided that leadership in my absence," the coach explained. "I will maintain play-calling duties and continue to work with Nick in our established pattern regarding the daily oversight of our defense."

Of Poppinga, Mendenhall said, "Kelly has demonstrated as both a player and a coach that he demands excellence of himself and others. Kelly, like Nick, is a bright, skilled football coach and has earned the opportunity to help us build our program in a coordinator role. He has excelled as our outside linebackers coach and will continue to do so."

Anae will fulfill the role as assistant head coach, previously held by longtime assistant Lance Reynolds, who retired after the 2012 season.

"As I've stated previously, Robert is an extremely intelligent man of great personal integrity who is totally loyal to me and our program," Mendenhall said. "I have full confidence he will not only help our offense succeed but also make great contributions to our entire program in the role as assistant head coach."

Anae will also coach the offensive line along with Garett Tujague, who was hired last month. Other new faces on the staff are Mark Atuaia (running backs), Jason Beck (quarterbacks) and Guy Holliday (wide receivers).

The Cougars open spring practices on Monday. Spring drills are scheduled to conclude spring drills on April 5.

The team will conduct a spring scrimmage open to the public at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday, March 30 at 11 a.m. Additional details will be announced at a later date.

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