BYU hires Texas State assistant Eric Mateos as its new offensive line coach, replacing Troy-bound Ryan Pugh

Mateos worked at LSU under BYU OC Jeff Grimes, who says the new coach is a ‘master at building confidence'

(photo courtesy Jaren Wilkey | BYU) Brady Christensen (67) is one of the promising young offensive linemen that new BYU offensive line coach Eric Mateos will get to work with this season. Mateos was hired Thursday to replace Ryan Pugh, who left to become OC at Troy.

With the opening of spring football camp coming in 18 days, BYU has found its new offensive line coach.

Coach Kalani Sitake on Thursday announced the hiring of Eric Mateos to replace Ryan Pugh, who left last month to become the offensive coordinator at Troy.

Mateos has most recently been the offensive line coach at Texas State, a position he held for two years at the Sun Belt Conference school in San Marcos, Texas.

Prior to coaching at TSU, Mateos was the tight ends coach at LSU, which is where he became acquainted with Jeff Grimes, who is now BYU’s offensive coordinator.

“Eric is a great person with quality character that will fit in phenomenally with our players and staff,” Grimes said in a school news release. “He will take our young group a step further and is a master at building confidence and group cohesiveness. I know our players will really respond well to him.”

Mateos started the 2016 season as a graduate assistant under Grimes, LSU’s offensive line coach at the time, but was promoted to tight ends coach by head coach Ed Orgeron midway through the season.

Mateos inherits a fairly experienced BYU offensive line that includes two sophomores who were named to freshmen All-America teams after the Cougars went 7-6 in 2018 and won the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Center James Empey and tackle Brady Christensen were both cited by the Football Writers Association of America for their work in 2018 after both returned from church missions in the offseason.

Starters Tristen Hoge, Keanu Saleapaga and Kieffer Longson also return; A key backup Jacob Jimenez, is transferring to San Diego State.

Before joining Grimes at LSU, Mateos coached at Arkansas from 2013-15. The Razorbacks finished second in the SEC in scoring offense in 2015, averaging 40.2 points per game, and second in total offense (456.8 ypg.).

Mateos began his coaching career at his alma mater, Southwest Baptist, in 2011 and was the OL coach at Hutchinson Community College in 2012.

He earned a master’s degree from Arkansas in 2015.

In other BYU football news, sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson was honored Saturday by the Touchdown Club of Columbus (Ohio) as one of eight quarterbacks on the its list of 2019 football players to watch. Wilson underwent shoulder surgery in January and will not throw in spring camp.

Also, BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki has been invited to the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis later this month. Takitaki was BYU’s top tackler in 2018, with 118 takedowns. The native of Fontana, Calif., ranked 31st in the nation in tackles.