So much is happening right now in BYU basketball and football, we had to make two posts this week. This one is all football. Click here to get the whole basketball post for this week.
On January 4, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced that Robert Anae would be returning to BYU in 2013 as the offensive coordinator. What are your thoughts on Anae’s return and what will BYU’s record be this coming season with Anae calling the plays?
Carl: It was a bit of head-scratcher at first, but I think we’re opening up to it. Yes, we can say his play-calling was predictable. But a big difference between his predictability and Doman’s vanilla is Anae put the football in the end zone. Maybe Cougar Nation got a bit numb to the idea that we were good, we just weren’t great. And maybe he won’t get us to great, but I think we all can assume the offense will soon become the leader and not the laggard of BYU football. As for next season, I don’t think it changes things a whole lot, for the simple fact he’s got to train a young QB. Still looking at 8 wins as being acceptable in my book.
Matt: My first reaction was negative. I thought back to my negative feelings of Anae and couldn’t figure this hire out. But as I thought about it and read about it, I became happy with it. I don’t think he’s the best choice, but anyone who can improve line play, demand ball security and quarterback protection, and actually expect that it will happen is a plus in my book. Sure, he will be predictable and at times, very vanilla, but he’ll also teach his quarterback that punting the ball is not the end of the world and that its okay to take a sack or throw the ball away to get to that punt. Gritty winners like Riley Nelson make their way by always giving up everything else in order to not have to punt. But name me one that was ever truly memorable.
Scott: Hiring Robert Anae brings an immediate impact to BYU. It’s not that Anae is that good of an offensive coordinator; it’s that Doman was that unprepared to be the offensive coordinator. He is a good offensive line coach, and that will be evident in 2013. A better offensive line will improve QB play. A better offensive line will improve RB play which will improve QB play. And a better QB will improve QB play. These are things we know Anae can do.
How does the Anae hire affect the inexperienced quarterback situation as well as the continued development of Jamaal Williams?
Carl: Consistency and trust. Anae is going to make sure the offensive line protects our quarterbacks at all costs and creates spaces for Williams to run. Anae will not tire until the offensive line is up to snuff. That aspect will give peace of mind and trust to a jittery QB. Williams should be elated that Anae is back. Not only does he make running backs look good, the balanced offensive attack further opens up the run game.
Matt: Improved line play in both the pass protection and run blocking will improve both aspects and mutually, their improvement improves each other. We like to focus on how much Nelson just sucked this year, but if he had an extra two or three seconds per play, he could have found a second receiver or actually executed an effecting play-action play once in a while. He didn’t have time, and he certainly didn’t have talent, but you can’t put that all on Nelson either. At times it looked like a scene out of “Remember the Titans in how many times it seemed the line just stood up and watched the defense blitzkrieg that crap out of the quarterback or running back. That won’t be allowed this year and it will improve both aspects. Williams should be nothing short of marvelous this next year.
Scott: Jamaal Williams stands to benefit as well. Anae’s offense was responsible for two back-to-back all-time rushing leaders at BYU. Curtis Brown’s best seasons were his first two with Anae. Harvey Unga’s whole career was under Anae, and he broke Brown’s record in only three seasons. Anae mixes it up, and his offensive line expertise will really help.
Play-calling was fans’ #1 hang-up with Anae, but maybe that will improve. Maybe he will be less predictable. He’s been gone for two years and worked with other offensive minds. Maybe his philosophy has changed. Who knows?
Is Taysom Hill the favorite to be the quarterback in 2013?
Carl: I will say this, Hill has the most experience of the group. But that’s where it ends for me. At this point, I’m thinking Ammon Olsen and Jason Munns are the front runners for the sheer fact that they’re quarterbacks. Taysom can still prove he’s a QB and not just a good athlete…we simply didn’t see enough of his QB skills to know. He was too busy running for his life. Anae will want someone best suited for his style and Taysom doesn’t fit that mold, yet.
Matt: I don’t think there is a favorite or a front-runner. In my mind, he should be. But Alex Kuresa and Ammon Olsen will have something to say for it. And don’t forget, there will be a senior on this team who thinks its finally his turn as well in Jason Munns. It seems Hill was just cleared to start jogging on that surgically-repaired knee so we’ll see if he’s ready to full speed once spring practice starts. If he isn’t, don’t be surprised if there is a summer- and fall-long battle at the position.
Scott: I think Taysom Hill is the guy, but that comes from not knowing much about the other QBs. Hill played last year and showed a lot of promise. He’s like Riley, if Riley were better at football. He’s faster, has a stronger arm, has a more accurate arm, and makes better football decisions. I’m excited to see the production from the QB position when the offense has an identity. Taysom’s speed will help the offense seem less predictable.
Where does BYU nation see Brandon Doman ending up?
Carl: I couldn’t tell you. Except, I expect him to be in his ward on Sunday. I’m sure he’ll figure out what is best for him and his family. Coaching is really a thankless job for most and the hours are ridiculous. If the fire is still in his belly after the psychological beat down he’s had over the last two seasons, he’ll find something. His resume is good enough to be coaching. Good luck fellow Eagle. Mark, is this where ‘Sad Doman’ comes in?
Matt: Doman is gone. And why wouldn’t he be? If you got demoted back to a position you had previously held, and you remember that you didn’t get along with your boss the last time you held that position, wouldn’t you leave too? I don’t know where he ends up, but I can’t see many scenarios where Brandon Doman dons BYU-Blue in the fall.
Scott: Doman appears to be a goner at this point. I wanted him to stick around and just coach the QBs, but it doesn’t seem like that’ll happen right now. There’s talk of him going to Utah, but I really hope that doesn’t happen. I think he is more skilled than we think and may have a chance to be a good offensive coordinator in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go to Hawaii, as the current rumor says, but I think anyone hiring him to be an offensive coordinator right now is making a mistake. He’s not ready.