As I reported first on Twitter (I know, I’m pulling a Rick Reilly) BYU is hiring, or is it rehiring, Robert Anae as it’s new offensive coordinator. Anae had served in the same position for six years before leaving to become the offensive line coach/running game coordinator at Arizona two seasons ago. Anae is replacing Brandon Doman who reportedly has been asked to stay with the Cougars as quarterbacks coach. Before the positives and negatives of the hire, here are a few notes that has been reported and what I have heard from my sources.
-Sources told me that the entire BYU offensive staff is out with Anae determining who stays and who goes. Anae is expected to also coach the offensive line which is why Mark Weber was announced as the Oline coach Friday at Utah State. Reports say Mark Atuaia will be the running backs coach which had been held by Joe DuPaix. As of writing this post, no word on his fate as well as wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon.
-Perception on Anae is that he was pushed out by Bronco Mendenhall in 2010. Sources told me that he left after several offensive coaches threw Anae and former wide receivers coach Patrick Higgins under the bus. Due to their influence on Mendenhall, Anae felt it was time to go. There are reports that one of the coaches that did not get along with Anae was Lance Reynolds–which makes sense since he retired after the bowl win. Curiously since then, Reynolds is reportedly considering positions to coach with Norm Chow in Hawaii, Kyle Whittingham at Utah and Andy Reid with the Kansas City Chiefs. You can assume Weber was another one since he wasn’t retained.
Here are some positives and negatives to Anae’s return:
1. Production. Under Anae the offense clearly produced and BYU won football games. Obviously it helped that he had John Beck for two years as his quarterback followed by Max Hall for three. In his final season in which the offense struggled he went with the two headed monster of Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps.
2. Established offensive identity. This was one of Doman’s major downfalls the past two seasons. He could never establish an identity of his offense or adjust to the strengths of his unit. He was slow to adjust to the teams true strengths which should have been running the football. Right or wrong, under Anae the BYU offense was the Texas Tech Mike Leach pass first system but he also took advantage of having great backs. If you remember Curtis Brown and then Harvey Unga became BYU’s all time leading rushers under Anae’s system.
3. He won with good quarterbacks. When Anae had Beck and Hall the offense was efficient. He established a track record that was only broken in his final year. Now that BYU has a legit QB returning in Taysom Hill one would expect the offense should improve dramatically under his guidance. One can’t be sure that Doman could have the same success.
1. Predictability. Anae’s offense had a tendency of being predictable. Whether it was a “dink and dunk” passing game combined with the I-formation which almost always resulted in a run, defenses could easily identify BYU’s game plan. Fortunately for the Cougars many of their opponents were lowly MWC teams who couldn’t take advantage. This could be a problem as BYU now faces a more rigorous schedule.
2. Lack of adjustments. As this has been an ongoing problem for BYU under Mendenhall, it was worse when Anae was offensive coordinator. This showed particularly when they faced athletic and better teams.
3. Lack of charisma. Why is this important? Well at BYU the expectations are high and while Mendenhall has openingly expressed his disdain with the fanbase, Anae didn’t seem much better. His stoic nature and lack of media skills made him an easy target whenever things weren’t going right. But then again every offensive coordinator at BYU has this issue. Comes with the job, right?