On the same day it became officially known of the release of coaches Ben Cahoon and Joe Dupaix, the BYU Cougars announced more changes -- this time additions -- to the offensive staff on Tuesday. Former BYU players Mark Atuaia and Garett Tujague have been hired to the evolving staff of Robert Anae.
BYU's official release said the new coaches' assignments would not be made until the whole staff is complete, but expected assignments are fairly clear.
Atuaia, a BYU running back who was a senior on the great 1996 team, will assume duties as running backs coach. After spending a year as an assistant to the athletic director over student services, the fiery towel twirling sideline enthusiast will now serve as a coach. Former and current player reaction to this move has seemed to be nothing but positive.
Tujague played offensive line at BYU from 1989-1991 and has been head coach at College of the Canyons for the past six years, and served as a coach there since 1998. A few College of the Canyons players have dotted BYU rosters in the past, including current defensive back commit Sam Lee.
While there is some possibility Tujague (pronounced Two-Jay) could coach tight ends, it seems more likely he will coach the offensive line and Anae will serve double-duty with tight ends. In either situation, Tujague could lend a hand to where Anae is doubling up.
Interestingly, Tujague has ties to BYU's continued coaching search. Jason Beck played at College of the Canyons when Tujague coached there, while Tujague also played with Ty Detmer. Both have been linked to some degree to the open quarterback coach position.
A CONTINUED SEARCH
Again, Beck was offensive coordinator at Division II school Simon Fraser in 2012, and was quarterbacks coach at Weber State for three years prior.
But some new names emerged on Tuesday as well.
Former Boston College quarterback Paul Peterson has interviewed with coaches Anae and Mendenhall, and I understand he may be in play for either of the QB or WR coach positions. Peterson was quarterbacks coach at Southern Utah for four years before becoming the offensive coordinator for Sacramento State last season.
In 2012, the Hornets averaged 405 yards of offense under Peterson's playcalling, ranking 38th of 122 FCS programs.
Steve Clark has also interviewed for a position on the staff. Clark has been the offensive coordinator at Southern Utah for six seasons. The Thunderbirds reached the top 20 in offensive output twice in his six years, including having the ninth-best offense in 2010.
Some have questioned how effectively BYU can recruit and retain non-LDS athletes with an all-LDS coaching staff. Beck, Hall, and Clark are all LDS.
A lot of sports in the state of Utah are used to consistency and longevity in coaching, so another staff turnover on offense is new territory for BYU fans, I think. But it seems Anae is building something he feels will be cohesive and together, something that has apparently been missing from the offensive staff since at least 2010.