Thursday, April 21, 2011
New coaching faces at BYU
By Andrea Adelson
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall made a decision once last season ended that he wanted a fresh infusion of energy on his coaching staff, particularly on offense.
So he met with his staff and told them he planned to make changes. Offensive coordinator Robert Anae left for Arizona, so Mendenhall promoted quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman to coordinator. Mendenhall also hired Ben Cahoon to coach the receivers, Joe DuPaix to coach the running backs and be the recruiting coordinator, and promoted Kelly Poppinga to linebackers coach. Mendenhall decided he would stay on as defensive coordinator.
The result was one of the best springs under Mendenhall.
"There’s a fresh energy and a new excitement and I think that contributed to the type of spring we had," Mendenhall said in a recent phone interview. "Rebirth would be too strong of a word, but after being together with our last staff for six years, we maybe maxed out what that group of men could do under my leadership I thought there had to be change to reach a different level. The new coaches were very positive, enthusiastic and super high energy."
The Cougars offense struggled last season under Anae, and his play calling came into question. Doman says he wants less predictability in his offense, which could look more like a version of the West Coast offense. He has a great assistant in DuPaix, who has plenty of experience with running backs thanks to the time he spent at Navy. BYU has a plethora of backs returning, with J.J. Di Luigi, Bryan Kariya and Josh Quezada.
Cahoon was a receiver at BYU and just finished his career in the CFL. This may be his first job as an assistant, but he has the experience of having played the position and the knowledge of what it takes to be a successful receiver in Provo. He also has plenty of talent, with Cody Hoffman, Ross Apo and McKay Jacobson.
Doman has transitioned nicely into the role of coordinator, saying, "It was quite nerve wracking and stressful leading up to spring identifying what we were going to do, what stuff we were going to keep, how to stimulate that. There was a lot of position mastery stuff I felt we really needed in some of our skill areas. But we have a great coaching staff and we put together a good scheme offensively and that eased everything for me."
With Jake Heaps and four offensive linemen returning, along with depth at receiver and running back, expectations will be high for this offense. So the pressure will be on Doman from the outset to deliver.