Now that Coach Bronco Mendenhall has left BYU for a new challenge at the University of Virginia, BYU fans are in a place we haven't been for 11 years. Last time BYU was looking for a new head coach there were really only two candidates, Bronco and Kyle Whittingham. This time however, the search for the new Cougar coach will be broad. Each candidate has pros and cons to them and this article is a look at some of the reasons why current Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, while talented, might not work out so well.
I can't write this article without at least mentioning the play call at the end of the Super Bowl last year. Now, it was a feasible play call in the progression of the two-minute drill. And while people can complain about the actual play call, I'd like to point out why didn't Russell Wilson make his read and throw it out of bounds and live to play another down? Or if it gets caught, then it is a great play call. Do not make an overall judgment of a coordinator on one play. That said, some things that Bevell has done, especially this season, leaves me scratching my head. (I will point out that I am actually an avid Seahawks fan.)
This offseason the Seahawks made a huge move to acquire the second best tight end in the NFL, Jimmy Graham. It was hoped that Graham would give Wilson a legitimate receiving threat to stretch the field and a big target in the end zone. How did that translate before Graham's unfortunate injury against Pittsburgh? 48 catches for 605 yards and two touchdowns, all on pace to be career lows for the outstanding tight end. I bring this up only to point out that it seemed like Seattle didn't know how to use Graham's talents as a stand-up tight end in the slot. It was maddening to see him with his hand in the dirt on the line and "attempting" to block instead of running routes and doing what he does best. I understand the need to continue to do what is effective for the team, but misusing one of the best weapons you have is usually not good policy. Now, on the flip side, look at what he has done with Russell Wilson as a young quarterback. I would love to see how he could mold Tanner Mangum and really use his ability moving forward.
The biggest concern with bringing in any NFL guy, but especially someone who hasn't coached in college for so long, is recruiting. Does he know how to recruit? Does he know how to identify and target recruits that are not only needed now but younger guys you will need to keep your eye on? Does he have any previous relationships with high school coaches or skill development coaches that will help him gain access to recruits? Recruiting is the pipeline of a program and if you are not filling your program with quality players year in and year out, you will ultimately fail.
One last concern, but it could be a major one, is that he has never had any head coaching experience at any level. Now, all head coaches were, at one time, the guy with no head coaching experience. Does he know and trust enough qualified individuals that can help him through this learning curve? If he could put together a really great staff, many of the concerns that go along with a first-year head coach that has been coaching in the NFL would probably go away. If his assistants had recruiting pipelines, knew how to work with boosters, knew how to work with administration, etc., it would allow him to come in and just add his knowledge and the cachet of being a successful NFL coordinator to build the program.
Honestly, even though it might be a long shot, I would not mind seeing Bevell as the next BYU head coach. I think he could add a lot through his knowledge of running an efficient NFL offense and using quarterbacks to the best of their ability and that would actually help BYU attract more NFL talented recruits. There are some concerns but most could be covered up if a good staff could be hired and work well together.