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BYU offensive shake-up on the way?

12/21/2010

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall is considering a restructuring of his offensive staff after a season in which is offense resembled a sputtering Pinto at times.

Amid reports in Salt Lake City that he told the entire offensive staff to begin looking for other jobs while he re-evaluates their positions, the school issued this statement:

Any reports that BYU football coaches have been released from the staff are inaccurate. BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall has begun the evaluation process of the recently completed season. As part of the process, Mendenhall met with offensive coaches and indicated a restructuring of the offensive staff is being evaluated. Mendenhall told the coaches this includes possible changes in assignments and personnel.The review will continue after the holidays and has no specific timetable.

If we learned anything from Mendenhall this season, it is that he is not afraid to fire people. He got rid of defensive coordinator Jaime Hill following an embarrassing loss to Utah State and assumed the duties himself. The defense played much better with Mendenhall in charge, and he is considering remaining defensive coordinator full time.

As for the offense, coordinator Robert Anae has taken the most criticism this season because of the way the offense failed to perform early. Fans have debated whether or not he deserves to stay on. The big question here, of course, is how much the two-quarterback system with Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps set the offense back. That is not entirely on Anae. Mendenhall himself admitted he "mishandled" the situation, and the worst thing that could have happened was the win over Washington in the season opener because that led him to believe the rotation could work.

The offense looked much better late in the season with Heaps at the helm, but the Cougars were nowhere near their usually prolific selves. After their 1-4 start, they ranked No. 96 in the country in total offense. They finished the year averaging 26.2 points, 198.4 passing yards and 366.5 total yards -- all lows in the Mendenhall era. It was the first time in his six seasons as coach that BYU failed to average over 425 yards a game of total offense, and over 200 yards passing.

Further proof this was more of a power-run team -- BYU averaged 168.1 yards on the ground -- a high under Mendenhall.

As for the others on the offensive staff, Mendenhall recently praised Brandon Doman as one of "the best quarterbacks coach in the country." Assistant head coach/running backs coach Lance Reynolds has been at BYU for 28 seasons, and his son, Matt, is an offensive lineman contemplating whether to leave school early for the NFL draft. Wide receivers coach Patrick Higgins just completed his sixth season, while offensive line coach Mark Weber just finished his fourth season with BYU.