ATI 2013.12 Was Anae Take II the Right Decision?

Ask the Ineligibles

AnaeI, for one, think “Anae Take 2” is was a good hire by Bronco Mendenhall. However, were the Anae Project to fail, what would it mean for Bronco, Tom Holmoe and BYU football in general?

Carl: If Anae were to fail again it would be cause for Tom Holmoe to rethink re-hires.  I’m not sure it’s a great idea to re-hire former employees.  However, in this situation, you get the feeling that Anae was more the scapegoat than anything in his previous departure.  So this is more like an extension of employment through a two-year leave of absence.  In general, Holmoe is a smart cookie and the percentages say he’ll make the right decision more times than not.  BYU needed a better man for the offense at the helm and they got one.

Matt: This may just be blind fan-hood coming through, but I believe in Tom Holmoe.  At the risk of sounding like a nerd, let me paraphrase Remus Lupin from Harry Potter when he’s telling Harry why he trusts Professor Snape: “I trust Tom Holmoe. Therefore, I trust Robert Anae.” Look, these young men are always leaving for two years and coming back, generally better than when they left.  And in this case, Anae didn’t step away from the game; he only worked on it in a tougher situation (read: PAC 12 opponents.)  He has to be better. If we are to truly believe what we’ve been told, he left because he didn’t like the locker room.  He came back and the locker room is now his.  If he can’t be happy, then Holmoe blew it.  If he’s successful, then Holmoe looks like a genius.

I’m not going into this with even a modicum of speculation that this might not work.  It has to work or this just might set the program back for a long time.

Mike: I’m optimistic that Robert Anae will not only rebuild the BYU offense but will also be Bronco’s ultimate successor.  If the Anae Project fails, Bronco will have another poor hire to add to his resume.  A head coach is graded on a variety of duties from wins/losses, graduation rates to recruiting and coaching hires.  Bronco has seen success in wins/losses and graduation but has been average in recruiting and in my opinion below average in coaching hires.  Hiring coaches is a tough gig at BYU, but finding the diamond in the rough is still part of Bronco’s job description.  If Anae turns out to be another bad Bronco hire I think you’ll see Holmoe become very involved in the hiring process.

Scott:  I don’t want to answer this, because I feel like there is no way he can fail, because, to me, failure = the offense not getting better than it was last season. But if he were to fail, Bronco’s seat would get very, very warm. I don’t want to say he’d be gone, because I truly don’t think he’d get fired before he had a losing season. Maybe he’d resign. I think Tom Holmoe would remain unscathed, but the BYU football program would have to ask some very tough questions. If he fails, it would be very dark times for the program.

top-25In a never-too-early attempt to rank college football’s elite, Dennis Dodds of CBS Sports ranked his top 25 and BYU made the list. How does Cougar Nation feel about this?

On the other foot, BYU has three opponents also on that list.  What does that say about BYU’s strength of schedule in 2013?

Carl: Respected, but at 25, it’s almost like a canvas for putting a team on the map that could be strong, but if they don’t come to fruition, the writer isn’t ruining their reputation over it.  National writers know that with BYU’s schedule, they could hang in the top 25 most of the season with 1, 2, even 3 losses.

As stated above, no impartial writer or fan will dispute that, on paper, BYU’s schedule is stronger.  Some would argue it’s stronger than any Big East or MWC schedule.  The teams the Cougars will face still have to have good seasons for BYU to look good nationally.  But this further proves, at least in the short term, that Independence has more benefits than drawbacks.  And please tell me if I’m wrong on this, BYU season ticket holders are a lot more excited by getting Texas, GaTech, Utah and Boise St than your MWC opponents to watch at home.

Matt: In a single sound, meh.  Whatever.  Last year Arkansas was a preseason darling and look what happened to them.  Contrastingly, Notre Dame wasn’t even in the top 25 to start and look where they ended up.  When it comes to it, you can only play who is in front of you and you “play to win the game.”  Even the team that Dodds ranks as his worst team in college football can make the top 25 if they only just win.  This is the one respect where the BCS has it right.  Let the first 4 or 5 weeks play out and then rank your teams from nil.  Then we’ll have an idea of who’s who.

Now that I’ve ranted about preseason rankings, let me just be the one to answer Carl.  Yes, as a season ticket holder, I am excited.  I don’t care who is or is not ranked right now because when we face them (save Texas) it won’t be close to what it is now.  But seeing Texas, Utah, Boise, State, and Georgia Tech is far better than anything we ever saw in the MWC days.  And if BYU can hold its own this season, they will prove that not only does independence work, but it was the right choice.

Mike: It’s certainly optimistic.  The Robert Anae hire, coupled with the potential of another highly ranked defens,e seems to be enough to crack the Dodds Top 25. Dodds goes on to say . . . “But these are not your grandpa’s Cougars. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy may go into 2013 as the nation’s best defensive player” What’s that saying . . . “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”?

I don’t recall a potentially more difficult schedule than the upcoming 2013 schedule.  The table is set for BYU to make the run all fans have been waiting for.  The defense should be there and the offense is being overhauled to look nothing like the Doman dumpster fire from 2012.  Texas and Boise St coming to Provo bodes well.  Let’s hope Notre Dame is as over-rated in 2013 as they were in 2012.

Scott:  I don’t like it. I was shocked by it, because, no matter how I feel about the team, I didn’t think BYU was on anybody’s radar, and I don’t want them to be. I want very little to be expected from them by national guys and by other teams. I want BYU to be a national surprise.

BYU’s list of 2013 opponents has the potential to be one of the most difficult ever. However, this is all based on preseason rankings, and they’re never THAT accurate. There are a lot of intriguing matchups that could garner national attention. If BYU can find a way to make an impressive run, there will be no shortage of attention for them, but BYU has to win these games.

Adam Hine

Outside the major players, who seems to impress you at BYU’s spring practices?

Carl: Going back to the offense; Skyler Ridley and Mitch Mathews.  Anae needs dependability and trust at the wide receiver position to make his offense efficient.  Taysom Hill is learning to build trust with receivers not named Hoffman or Apo.  Having 2 additional, quality route-runners and possession receivers will be vital for BYU to be successful offensively.  Look for those two guys to be the glue in between the high fire power of the rest of the offense.

Matt: At this point, I’m qualifying this question by saying “major” means only those who aren’t expected to practice much this spring; Kyle Van Noy and Cody Hoffman.  Therefore, I am taking liberty to discuss pretty much whomever I want to.

Taysom Hill – Mendenhall says he is probably the front runner right now and will make his choice when spring camp is done.  That is huge for the sophomore signal caller from Idaho.  Being named the starter early will give him the advantage to practice with the people who matter in the offseason and then start from “go” in fall.

Adam Hine – Anae’s offense is going to be fast and that will require a fresh back.  We all love Jamaal Williams but we saw him fail at blocking at San Jose State.  We like what we got from Mike Alisa, but I feel it was more to the fact that he was really just the least sucky of the backs in 2011.  We like that Paul Lasike can be a bruiser, but I’m hearing that Hine can really do just a fair amount of all the preceding names.  He can slice and cut, he can bruise, he can catch and block.  If he can, he’ll have a huge role in this offense.  I still think that Williams is the primary back, but there will be room for Hine to be a huge secondary role player.

Mitch Mathews – I’ll piggyback a little bit here.  I’m not so sold on Ridley.  He had one good game at the start of last season and we all fell in love.  But he didn’t do much the rest of the season.  I think Mathews is primed to be that third target this season in the receiver rotation and I’m excited to see what he can do.

Mike: Tight end Richard Wilson is my most intriguing dark horse.  He was heavily recruited by LSU, Stanford, Miami and Tennessee.  Wilson had a 15 yd. TD in last week’s final practice and as a senior should be able to add a significant weapon if he can win playing time.  Taysom Hill has the receivers and running game to be successful.  Adding a talented senior tight end with great hands could make a difference.

Scott:  I’m excited for Adam Hine. Let’s face it, the offense is what we’re all concerned about for 2013, and Hine appears to be back to “The Legend of Adam Hine” form. With the way RBs will be used in Anae’s offense (regularly use three to keep fresh in the “Go Fast, Go Hard” offense), it is exciting to have that speed to go along with Mike Alisa and Jamaal Williams. I’m expecting big things from that unit in the fall.

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