The recent news regarding Ty Detmer’s uncertain future as a BYU coaching staff member evoked memories of running back Jamaal Williams and quarterback Taysom Hill, players who made Detmer look good in his first year as the Cougars’ offensive coordinator in 2016 before his group struggled this season.
Just to reinforce their missing impact in Provo, Williams and Hill made some history in the NFL on Sunday.
Williams became the first former Cougar in 33 years to rush for 100 yards in an NFL game, while Hill created his own distinction among ex-BYU quarterbacks in pro football by making two tackles on kickoff coverage.
Williams is BYU’s career rushing leader and Hill is considered one of the best all-around athletes ever to play quarterback for the Cougars. Hill signed with New Orleans in September after being waived by Green Bay.
Detmer is being displaced as BYU’s coordinator by coach Kalani Sitake, with the possibility of remaining on the staff in another job.
Having replaced the injured Ty Montgomery as the Green Bay Packers’ tailback, Williams posted 113 yards on 21 carries in a 26-20 overtime win over Tampa Bay. The only other BYU alumnus with a 100-yard game in NFL history is Eric Lane, who ran for 113 yards for Seattle in 1984, according to the CougarStats.com website, a partner of The Salt Lake Tribune.
Even if he missed the winning play, though, Williams was credited with helping to get the Packers into scoring position. On the previous two plays, he ran for 9 yards and caught a 12-yard pass from Brett Huntley.
Hill’s impact in the New Orleans Saints’ 31-21 win over Carolina was more surprising. The Saints’ coaching staff added the third-team quarterback to the special-teams operation Wednesday, due to injuries. So he was activated Sunday for the first time this season.
Hill twice tackled the Panthers’ Fozzy Whittaker on kickoff returns and also came close to blocking two punts. On one play, Carolina punter Michael Palardy dropped the ball and ended up throwing an incomplete pass, as Hill rushed him.
“Taysom Hill, man, what a stud,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
“I felt like there wasn’t a ton of pressure on me,” Hill said. “I don’t think there was a ton of pressure on me to go in and do something crazy, and so my mindset was just go in and have fun.”
Hill said he had made brief appearances as a cornerback and linebacker at Highland High School in Pocatello, Idaho. He worked on tackling with the Saints’ defensive coaches in practice.
In addition to the exploits of Williams and Hill, former BYU safety Kai Nacua made his first NFL tackle Sunday in Cleveland’s 19-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.