More notes and quotes from BYU football signing day
I've already written a couple of stories for the newspaper today about BYU's 2013 recruiting class, along with nearly a dozen updates for the website. You can find the particulars there, including a list of all 26 signees.
It should also be noted that five players who committed to BYU didn't sign today because the Cougars can only sign 25 guys per year, per NCAA rules (two of today's signees, mid-year transfers Billy Green and Trenton Trammell, don't count against that number).
Best I can tell, those five will all be heading out on church missions. They are: East High running back Patrick Palau, Cottonwood receiver Inoke Lotulelei, Herriman running back Francis Bernard, Timpview linebacker Pita Taumoepenu and Maataua Brown, a defensive lineman from Cerritos (Calif.) Community College.
Also, Tribune columnist Kurt Kragthorpe weighed in on what was perhaps the most newsworthy development of the day: new offensive coordinator Robert Anae's rather bold 20-minute news conference in which the former OC succinctly said that he returns with something to prove.
What follows is a collection of random thoughts and tidbits from today, stuff you might have missed:
* For whatever detractors he had when he departed two years ago -- he reiterated today that he resigned and coach Bronco Mendenhall wanted him to stay -- Robert Anae won over some folks today. He was candid, didn't duck questions, and didn't act like he had a bus to catch.
"I come with a sense of urgency," Anae said. "I come with the intent to prove something ... that BYU's offense can mimic what the defense is doing."
* Anae said he learned a thing or two working under Rich Rodriguez at Arizona this past season, namely that a successful offense in college football these days requires a quarterback who can run with the football. I asked Anae if there is a quarterback on BYU's current roster that fits that bill, he said there was. But he wouldn't name the guy. And he wouldn't say that Taysom Hill, or anyone else, is the clearcut starter heading into spring ball. He said the words "clean slate" a couple of times.
* Anae said the offense under his direction will go fast, and go hard. Get used to hearing that.
* Anae acknowledged that new hires Mark Atuaia and Garett Tujague are his guys and noted that the "biggest transition with the offense starts with the line." He said he hopes the offensive line is the "hardest-coached" group on the team. "Certainly we've put our resources into that area" in recruiting, he said.
* Anae acknowledged he was "surprised" when Mendenhall invited him back. "It may have been puzzling, my departure two years ago," he allowed.
* On the only quarterback signing with BYU this year, Billy Green, Anae said: "He's going to be tested to the hilt."
* Regarding the two coaching positions yet to be filled, receivers coach and quarterbacks coach, Anae said: "We hope we get them hired by spring ball."
* On OL recruit Brayden Kearsley, whom Anae helped convince to keep his commitment to BYU, Anae said: "I think I am going to have a lot of fun being his coach."
Mendenhall spent a lot of time extolling the virtues of his program and recounting its successes, stuff BYU fans have heard before. Sometimes, he seemed defensive.
A few notes and observations from his address:
* Mendenhall showed a picture of receiver Cody Hofffman, and said Hoffman recently told him that he will insist that his children all attend BYU because he has enjoyed his time in Provo so much.
* Mendenhall talked about his growing relationship with former USU and current Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen, and noted that the friendship has blossomed since Andersen left Utah. He called the signing of Andersen's son, Chasen Andersen, "one of the coolest stories" of the recruiting season. Mendenhall said Gary Andersen called him Tuesday night and thanked him for recruiting his son.
* Mendenhall told a story about the recruitment of Kahuku defensive back Johnny Tapusoa, recounting how Tapusoa introduced himself to Mendenhall as a 13-year-old when the coach was in Hawaii recruiting Shiloah Te'o years ago. "He just basically wore us out" with his persistence, Mendenhall said.
* Mendenhall said the offensive staff changes probably cost them one recruit, whom he did not specify. It was probably Claudell Louis, a lineman from College of the Sequoias in California.
* Mendenhall said because of the missionary age change policy, the 2015 signing class is almost full because of all the guys who will be returning that year.
* Mendenhall said two players who were probably going to leave on missions immediately out of high school have decided to stay and play a year, at the coaching staff's urging. My guess is he was talking about Bingham lineman Keegan Hicks and Addison Pulsipher, an OL from Temecula, Calif. Just a guess.
* The coach said that about "10 days ago" that he and coach Brandon Doman decided jointly that Doman should part ways with the program.
* Somebody asked Mendenhall about the kicking game woes and the coach quipped: "Got suggestions?"
* With Joe DuPaix being released, BYU has not had a true recruiting coordinator for the past month. Mendenhall said that Patrick Hickman, director of high school affairs, has handled most of those duties and done a fine job with it. However, nobody is in place yet to take that title.
* Mendenhall said Eathyn Manumaleuna has been granted his year back for medical reasons by the NCAA and is projected to be a starting defensive end in 2013.
* I asked Mendenhall for his thoughts on defensive end Bronson Kaufusi playing on the BYU basketball team. He said the best thing about the arrangement is that Kaufusi has not gotten injured. He said he has had some long talks with basketball coach Dave Rose about it and said he is allowing it because "Dave needed him." Mendenhall said he doubts that the deal is longterm, meaning that it is not likely Kaufusi will be allowed to play basketball next year.
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