This archived article was written by: Tai Justice
Ty Detmer was relieved of his offensive coordinator duties at a Brigham Young University. Even if it was a deserving firing, it came as a bit of a surprise. It did not come as a surprise like it was not a move that was needed, or that BYU suddenly started to drastically improve or show signs of being better on offense. It came as a surprise in the fact that is. Ty freaking Detmer. A guy that is widely considered by BYU fans as an all-time great and debatably the greatest football player in BYU history. They fired that guy. When you think of it in that context, it’s a shocking move.
A little over a month ago, I wrote an article stating that BYU should fire Detmer. I didn’t think that they would do it because of the reasons I stated at the top. He is a program legend and always been a fan favorite. The fanbase made excuses for him that they flat out would not have done for anyone else other than him. He is beloved by everyone. I believe if you polled a thousand random BYU fans and asked them who was their favorite player ever, Detmer would be the choice for the majority of fans. He’s now been let go by BYU.
This was a move that needed to be made. The offense under Detmer who was bad, but was trending downward. Detmer had them play a boring style of offense and at a slow pace; one of the slowest in the nation. Under previous offensive coordinator, Robert Anae, BYU had a mode called, “Go hard, go fast.” Detmer’s system and style was the opposite of that. I am not saying that you need to play with tempo, but you need to produce and that was ultimately the problem. BYU was bad on offense under Detmer and on top of that, they were not fun to watch. That’s a bad combination.
The offense for BYU never made progress under Detmer. In fact, it was getting worse. The 2016 offense was below average and the only reason it wasn’t like this past year’s offense, was because they had more talent. Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams bailed that offensive unit out time and time again. Sometimes talent takes over and that’s what Hill and Williams were able to do for last year’s offense.
This year they didn’t have the talent to ever get bailed out and it showed at they ranked 117th in yards per play in the nation. That is not going to cut it and if you’re that bad, it does not matter what your name is, you are going to be out of a job.
When Detmer was hired as offensive coordinator, I was excited. I’m not going to sit here and act like I saw it becoming this bad, this fast. I did not. I thought it was a good hire at the time. A program legend as offensive coordinator? That’ll be great! He knows how to get it done and what kid in the state doesn’t want to play for him? I thought he would not only be a good coach, but he would be great for recruiting. As I talked about in my “Fire Ty Detmer” article, BYU recruiting had taken a significant dip and does not show any sign of climbing back up to even where they were with Bronco Mendenhall. Detmer wasn’t only struggling on the sideline, but he was struggling big time with the most important aspect of college football. Recruiting. Again, that is not going to work. You have to be good at at least one of those things and unfortunately, Detmer was not.
I, just like every other BYU fan, desperately wanted Detmer to succeed. Firing a program legend like him is every school’s biggest fear. Will his legacy take a hit because of this bad two-year stint as offensive coordinator? Will this tarnish his reputation? Only time will tell. This was always the risk with hiring Detmer. He had never coached at the college level before. He had never recruited before. Even though most fans, like me, thought it would work out, it was far from a guarantee. What’s next for BYU? More uncertainty.