The day was June the 4th, 2009, the place was Iggy's Sports Pub in Salt Lake City, the announcement was that Jake Heaps, the top QB recruit in the nation was signing with BYU. His intentions? To bring another National Championship to Provo. And to get it done, he was bringing a host of high caliber recruits with him.
After watching the Utah game last Saturday, I have to wonder if BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae missed that press conference?
Maybe Anae thought that Heaps was joking? Of course he was, Anae must have thought to himself, because signing with a program with himself in charge of the offense was a guarantee for mediocrity.
After all, Anae had just coached two previous NFL quarterbacks in John Beck and Max Hall, and BYU was never a real BCS contender, just a perennial Las Vegas Bowl participant.
Didn't Heaps watch the Utah game a year ago in Provo? Didn't he see the senior QB and future NFL'er Max Hall run the clock out with a over a minute to play and three timeouts in his pocket? Shouldn't that have been a red flag to Heaps that a Robert Anae led offense was about as exciting as five Las Vegas Bowls in a row?
Didn't Heaps know that Anae's motto is "Why win the game in regulation when you can play for OT?"
Was the 17-16 loss at Utah what Jake Heaps signed up for? A ridiculous loss to a Utah team that had no answers for the BYU "D", and was forced to bench both of its QB's in the same game?
Didn't Heaps deserve more? His passing was pinpoint, his decisions excellent, his courage and poise on full display, and yet the freshman had his moment robbed by absurd play calling.
Was Anae's decision not to exploit a pathetic Ute secondary who gave up a combined 115 points in their previous three games a positive step towards Heaps' overall goal of winning a title?
Was there any thought given to letting the top rated recruit in the country exploit the lousy Utah secondary? Notre Dame was cool with it, so was San Diego State and TCU but Robert Anae? Anae was satisfied with 16 points on three field goals and one TD pass. In fact, the one TD catch was Mckay Jacobsen's only TD catch of the year, that's right, only TD catch of the year!
Red flag? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
OK, I'll cut to the chase: Is Robert Anae really the most qualified offensive coordinator in the world that BYU can hire?
It's a valid question, isn't it?
Is Robert Anae the most qualified coordinator to guide the offense of possibly the best QB in BYU history?
Does his resume merit this opportunity? After all, offensive coordinator at BYU is one of the most prestigious jobs in college football.
What does Anae's actual resume tell us? It tells us that he was never an offensive coordinator until he was given the esteemed job at BYU.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Anae was a career long offensive line coach from 1986 until 2005. That's right, he coached linemen. Makes sense as he himself was an offensive lineman at BYU. Never did he have any experience as an offensive coordinator before his current job.
I know, I know, there are those of you out there who would tell me I'm having a knee jerk reaction, that Anae is alright and that he has lit up the scoreboard in previous games. True, his flea flickers work against New Mexico and UNLV, but to be perfectly honest, who cares?
What matters is what you do against top 25 teams like TCU, Nevada, Florida St. and Utah. Where is the progress? There is none. The only progress achieved at season's end was on the defensive side of the ball.
You are only as good as your last game, and Anae's last game was the worst in the history of the program. He snatched defeat in the jaws of victory, as he pulled the dagger from the Utes heart and stuck it right in the heart of Cougar fans everywhere.
Somehow, Anae managed to botch a perfectly good can of whoop ass that Bronco had opened up through three quarters of play on the Utes home field. We can only hope Bronco took notice and took it as personal as his loyal fans did.
Here is another question: Why does Anae call plays from the sideline? Have you ever watched a game from the sideline? There is a reason they don't televise games from the sideline because you can't see the whole field.
There is a reason that most coordinators avoid the distraction of the crowded sideline and sit in the press box with a clear line of sight.
Is it really in the best interest of the BYU offense for the coordinator to be on the sideline and not the coaching box above?
Bronco proved in late October with the firing of Jamie Hill that great things can happen in a short amount of time, when a new direction is decided upon. What Bronco has done with the BYU defense is nothing short of remarkable, and you know what? He has the resume to prove it, going back to his days at Oregon State and New Mexico. He has always been a brilliant Defensive Coordinator.
BYU is on the cusp of potentially achieving great things. No, I'm not talking about second place MWC finishes and Vegas Bowl invites, I'm talking about what Jake Heaps was talking about back in June of 2009. I'm talking about a national title. As a freshman, and especially against Utah, Heaps proved that he has the stuff to take our newly declared Independence and ESPN deal and make a legitimate run at a championship.
The question Bronco needs to ask himself, is if a career offensive line coach is the right guy to lead that hallowed Heaps offense?
As for me, I say no way. Let the former lineman coach the linemen.
BYU has the entire world to choose from, but who better than a former QB to lead the offense at the school nicknamed "Quarterback U?"
Former Cougar QB Steve Sarkisian proved that a former QB can work wonders as witnessed at USC.
Bronco has the world to choose from, but two names make my immediate short list. Current QB coach Brandon Doman, and an obscure high school football coach in Texas, I think he goes by the name of Ty Detmer.