The BYU coaching search is moving along, and if one of the most plugged-in sources of coaching news is right, they might have already found somebody they like. According to a report from FootballScoop, which reports on coaching transactions across all levels of college football, BYU is "strongly considering" hiring Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo.
From the report:
BYU's administration is strongly considering Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo to replace outgoing head coach Bronco Mendenhall, sources within the coaching profession told FootballScoop this week.
The attraction between BYU and Niumatalolo is both mutual and obvious. Niumatalolo is Mormon, making him one of the few qualified candidates able to fulfill the requirement BYU places on its head football coach. Niumatalolo's testimony was one of six featured in the documentary "Meet the Mormons," a 2014 film produced by the LDS church. Moreover, Niumatalolo is an important figure in the Pacific Islander football community, a key recruiting base for BYU.
The Million Dollar Question regarding Niumatalolo, of course, is whether he'd bring his option system to Provo. Niumatalolo has been running some variation of the option for basically his entire career, and has enjoyed a high degree of success. An option offense, plus BYU's recruiting territories and changing schedule (conference opponents could get used to the option, after all) could be very successful in Provo. Of course, doing so would also mean stepping away from BYU's historically more passing friendly offenses, and trying to figure out how to impose a dramatically new system on a roster that may not be well equipped for it. Tanner Mangum, after all, doesn't seem like much of an option quarterback.
It's possible Niumatalolo could elect to run an option-focused system with more passing concepts, or an entirely new system all together. That might mitigate concerns about such a rapid change, but it leaves other questions as well. What kind of schemes would he run? What would his coaching staff look like? And can he recruit, given that Navy's restrictions meant traditional recruiting was almost impossible?
We've written about the concept of Coach Ken coming to Provo before. Here's the case for, and the case against, him being BYU's next head coach.
The FootballScoop report also indicated that BYU is also considering BYU OC Robert Anae. If Niumatalolo is the guy, don't expect any announcements until after the Army/Navy game.