Provo • Ty Detmer is wearing a baseball cap everywhere he goes these days, but it is not to conceal his identity so fans will stop asking the offensive coordinator what is wrong with the BYU offense.
Detmer joked Tuesday as the Cougars prepared for Friday’s showdown with Boise State at LaVell Edwards Stadium that the struggles have him pulling his hair out, and he doesn’t want to resemble fellow assistant coaches Ed Lamb and Steve Clark in terms of baldness.
Yes, the former Heisman Trophy winner is still smiling and joking, even as the pressure to get the ship turned around builds. And he insists that head coach Kalani Sitake still has his back.
“For me, as long as Kalani is happy and knows the situation we are in, and what we are doing, and feels comfortable with that, that is all that matters to me,” Detmer told The Salt Lake Tribune. “I‘ve got to report to him, and as long as he feels good and is comfortable with what we are doing, I am good.”
Asked about Detmer’s performance as a play-caller through five games this season, Sitake said he has been “disappointed in the production” of the offense but did not specifically criticize Detmer for its shortcomings. He did mention the injuries to quarterbacks Tanner Mangum and Beau Hoge as “difficulties we have had to deal with so far” and said no single factor is to blame.
Boise State at BYU
Friday, 8:15 p.m.
TV • ESPN
“There are lot of things that come into the production of an offense, not just solely on play-calling,” Sitake said Monday. “It is everything combined. There is a piece of blame to go in a lot of different places, and our goal is to get those things shored up. Obviously, you want to improve in every aspect. So play-calling would be one of them and that goes with the game plan and the scheme and personnel and all that involves.”
Despite showing progress against Utah State — at least before Hoge left the game in the second quarter with concussion-like symptoms — the Cougars are still second-to-last in the country in total offense, averaging just 256.6 yards per game. They are also near the bottom in scoring offense and third-down conversion percentage.
“If you have been around athletics and sports, whether coaching or playing, you have had these types of situations come up, where it doesn’t always go your way,” Detmer said. “We’ve had some crazy bounces this year, too, and sometimes you don’t get those, and sometimes it seems like they pile up in clusters, which is kind of happening for us right now. … We will keep working and keep battling and at some point it will turn and we are going to end up being a good football team.”
Detmer made the remarks about his personal well-being after shedding some light on the quarterback situation — which isn’t good. Sitake said Monday that any of five QBs — Mangum, Hoge, Koy Detmer Jr., Joe Critchlow or Kody Wilstead — could see time Friday against the Broncos (2-2).
“It is wait and see,” Detmer said. “We have to see how Tanner progresses. He is out there throwing and trying to move around a little bit. We won’t really know until after tomorrow [Wednesday].”
Detmer said Hoge “is being evaluated,” while Koy Detmer, Critchlow, Wilstead and wildcat back Austin Kafentzis are getting reps in practice.
“So it is kind of all hands on deck after we see where Tanner is at and where Beau is at,” he said.
It could come down to either giving Koy Detmer another shot or handing the reins to Critchlow, a returned missionary from Tennessee who impressed in camp.
“He is in the early stages [of development],” Detmer said of the 6-foot-4 freshman. “He is a sharp kid. Did some good things in camp, but it has been a little while. … He is getting some work now, so the recall is coming back a little bit. But the important thing is whoever is in there has to take care of the football and [decrease] the turnovers. … We have to make good decisions.”