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Ravell Call, Deseret News
BYU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ty Detmer fields reporters' questions following practice in Provo on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017.
BYU has proven it can recruit tight ends and fullbacks over the years. And Ty is recruiting quarterbacks who can run it. —Dustin Smith, with QB Elite

PROVO — Ty Detmer is in the process of recruiting to an old offensive design. Will it work going forward?

Although its traditional concepts were routine back in the day, now the pro style is unique, rare as the Air Force wishbone, and the Cougars have a teacher who knows it.

Michael and Karen Mangum believe this is high cotton for their son Tanner. They’re glad he’s the test pilot.

“He loves Ty Detmer,” said Michael. “After just a few minutes with him, he came to appreciate what an incredible source of knowledge he is. He came to appreciate him within weeks of meeting him. As good as Tanner’s other coaches have been, Ty takes it to a whole new level. They get along very well.”

In this quote, you see BYU’s current pitch to high school QBs.

In 2001, BYU football changed from a pro style to a spread option because it had two powerful weapons in quarterback Brandon Doman and Doak Walker winner Luke Staley. It became the flavor of the month in college football for the next decade and a half and still rules the scene today.

With few exceptions, with Bret Engemann, Matt Berry, John Beck, Max Hall and Mangum, the fashionable hurry-up spread has been routine in Provo. Prime examples are ploys made by Riley Nelson and Taysom Hill, almost exclusively in a shotgun formation. This philosophy is to take the best athletes, put them at QB and receiver, spread the field and attack.

“It is especially popular in high school and most colleges because they take their best athlete, put him at quarterback and have the option of using him as a running back,” said Mountain West Elite Camp co-founder and QB coach Riley Jensen.

There’s only about a half-dozen college football programs besides BYU running pro-style offenses, according to Jensen. They include a hybrid version at Stanford, Boise State, Washington and USC.

“They use the tight end and fullback to manipulate a defense,” said Jensen.

If Detmer can pull BYU back to its roots, he will use the QB under center, build protections around a pocket quarterback, and recruit tight ends, fullbacks and running backs and big offensive linemen that can run it. In his second year, he’s close to putting those pieces together.

“BYU has proven it can recruit tight ends and fullbacks over the years,” said Dustin Smith with QB Elite camps. “And Ty is recruiting quarterbacks who can run it.”

Jensen predicts a shift in colleges to the pro style because the quarterback position is so important. He agrees with Smith that BYU is in a good position to run it because of recruiting of tight ends, protecting QBs, and “getting fullbacks that can be an absolute nightmare” for defenses.

It all starts with getting a high-level passer and protecting that guy.

The Mangums like what Detmer is selling.

“Ty has a very calm demeanor,” said Karen. “He’s an incredible teacher. He doesn’t yell or get upset when mistakes are made. He helps understand mistakes and is very supportive and uplifting and Tanner thrives in that kind of atmosphere.”

So, how does the pro-style offense benefit BYU?

First, recruiting fits it. Second, with most colleges running the spread, BYU becomes kind of an outlier for defenses to prepare for. Third, it gives a QB a sixth or seventh blocker with a tight end. The under-center QB can deploy two downhill runners with a tight end that can release any moment for a pass.

“That’s hard to stop, especially if you have the right quarterback,” said Smith.

“Ty will always have some big blocking linemen, which I think BYU can always recruit.”

Karen believes Detmer has the perfect personality for her son, to get the most out of his mind and skills.

“Tanner loved Jason Beck (now QB coach at Virginia). He was a great quarterback coach and also had a temperament Tanner could relate to and he was a good teacher. This isn’t a knock on Jason, but he never had the experience Ty did at the NFL level and that is one of Tanner’s goals. He needs to be prepared to play at that level. Ty has been able to teach him what it takes, plus, the offense is a pro-style offense which is preparing him.”

It’s a plan. In a month, we’ll gauge the progress, especially with Mangum.