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BYU appears ready to call upon Anae to fix a maligned offense.
Arizona offensive line coach and former BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae is returning to BYU at his previous post, according to reports from Jeff Call (Deseret News) and Kevin Graham (1320 KFAN).
Call is also reporting that Anae will coach the offensive line upon his return. While nothing official has been said about the current under-fire offensive line coach Mark Weber, there is this:
I have learned that BYU offensive line coach Mark Weber has accepted the offensive line job at Utah State. bit.ly/sbcB2K— Pete Roussel (@coachingsearch) January 4, 2013
Anae was BYU's offensive coordinator from 2005-2010 and left amid staff shakeup following the 2010 season. At that time, it was presumed that head coach Bronco Mendenhall had pushed Anae out, but today's news would indicate otherwise. Bronco put the offensive staff on notice, and Anae thought it was his time to move on.
From my understanding, Bronco Mendenhall and Robert Anae have always had a good relationship. When Anae left, it was Anae's decision to go.— Jeff Call (@AJeffreyCall) January 4, 2013
As for current offensive coordinator Brandon Doman? Call reports he will remain on staff as quarterbacks coach, a position he held during the whole of Anae's previous tenure. Doman retained quarterback coaching duties when replacing Anae as offensive coordinator in 2010.
This is a very interesting move. It speaks to Doman's humility, which has always been clear given his post-game interviews. His willingness to be "demoted" also leads me to believe Doman felt he was overwhelmed: either by the task of being an offensive coordinator, or by the whole of what has been on his plate (he is an LDS Bishop, after all.)
Anae was often criticized in the latter years of his first tenure for being too predictable, that good defensive coordinators devoured his scheme. If this is known at the outset and can be corrected, BYU stands to benefit here. After all, Anae's modified Air Raid kept BYU as a top 25 offensive team perennially and produced BYU's current all-time leading running back and receiver.
And if Anae can fix BYU's offensive line problems, we may be looking at another great BYU offense. Sure, it's really early to speculate such a thing, but with Taysom Hill, Jamaal Williams, and Cody Hoffman playing with an offensive line that works? That could be something. Anae has been an offensive line coach at Texas Tech, Arizona, Boise State, and UNLV.
The rest of the offensive staff?
Source just told me the entire BYU offensive coaching staff is out. New OC Robert Anae will decide who is retained.— Kevin Graham (@KevinGrahamKFAN) January 4, 2013
Personally, I hope the rest of the offensive staff remains in tact. Lance Reynolds, who most recently coached tight ends, has left BYU. Some had assumed BYU would hire Chad Lewis to replace him, but, Call is reporting a different shift:
As part of the reshuffling, Mark Atuaia is expected to be hired as new BYU running backs coach.— Jeff Call (@AJeffreyCall) January 4, 2013
Atuaia was named assistant athletic director over student services seven months ago. He played running back at BYU in 1991 and 1994-96.
I hope this means Joe Dupaix is moved to coach tight ends. I think Dupaix has been a great recruiting coordinator.
I also really, really hope Ben Cahoon is retained. To me, all you have to do is look at the next-level step Cody Hoffman took as a receiver, in footwork and route-running especially. With games on the line against Utah and Notre Dame, he still managed to get himself open. The QB just couldn't get the ball to him.
Does this move blow me away? No. But, Anae brings a sure offensive identity and a track record of success, which are both things we can't say about the last two seasons of BYU's offense. Whether that was a Doman problem or a Riley Nelson problem, we may never know. And I like Doman. Hopefully, however, this leads to improvement on the offensive side of the ball.