This archived article was written by: Tai Justice
Ty Detmer is not a good football coach. He’s the greatest BYU quarterback ever. He won the programs’ only Heisman Trophy. He’s the main person you think of when you think of the “glory days” of BYU football. Part of the reason my name is Tai is because of Ty Detmer, but as a coach he is bad. After watching BYU’s offense for 19 games, I feel safe and fair in making the assessment that Detmer isn’t a good coach.
On the surface, Detmer seems fine. He always dresses nicely, his interviews are fine, he’s always overly positive and his “come on, guys, let’s go!” clap is one of the best in the nation. When the offense goes out and embarrasses itself again, you can count on him to look sufficiently disappointed. Detmer has all those parts of being a coach down and if you weren’t paying attention, you would almost think that he was not the problem with BYU football.
He’s the problem and here’s why: everyone can go along blaming the talent on the roster, etc. but I watched quarterback Tanner Mangum as a freshman, at the very least, light up bad/average defenses. Sure, he had his fair share of growing pains against the better teams/defenses, but the talent was clearly there and it was easy to spot.
He can’t throw a 15-yard post route without looking awkward and uncomfortable. So, either two things happened. Either the monster stars zapped away all his talent and suddenly make him a bad quarterback, or he regressed. I’m going to bet that it is the latter. He has regressed under offensive coach Detmer which to some might be surprising because of how great Detmer was as a player, but just because you’re a great player doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to be a great coach, or even a good coach for that matter.
This situation leaves BYU with two options: the first is to keep Detmer as the offensive coordinator, keep placing blame on other places, hope that Detmer figures this out because of his name and who he is, or fire Detmer like they would any other coordinator if this was their production throughout their first 19. It’s time to go with the ladder. Nineteen games in football isn’t an exactly a small sample size. This is who BYU is under coach Detmer. It’s a slow, boring, stagnant offense that doesn’t put its players in the position to succeed. Also, it’s not just that the offense is bad; not one player progressed positively under coach Detmer. Some have regressed, but none taken any steps forward. Not one player is better from having Detmer as their coach. I’m sorry, but it is the truth.
Now, I’m not saying that BYU is loaded with offensive talent because they are not. The recruiting class rankings have slipped a bit ever since Bronco Mendhall left to be the Head Coach at Virginia, but it hasn’t slipped so drastically to cause this much of a drop-off production. I expect it to start climbing once Kalani Sitake gets out a little more. This is on coaching and it is mainly on Detmer; the defense has been fine under coach Sitake. They constantly keep BYU in games while the offenses sputters all game long. The offense is Detmer’s responsibility.
Now I could not coach a college team, any people cannot, but I have watched enough games over the years, especially in person, to distinguish the difference between a well-coached team and a poorly coached team. BYU’s offense is poorly coached. You can confirm this with an eye test, or the stats. Either one works for me.
It’s the little things that makes this BYU offense extra frustrating to watch; like refusing to pick up the pace, never stretching the field or being predictable constantly. It’s time to take the Heisman blinders off and move on from coach Detmer.