Heisman winner Detmer, Tuiaki, Lamb join BYU staff
The staff is loaded with first-timers - a first-time head coach, first-time offensive coordinator and first-time defensive coordinator. But they know the program as well as anyone - two played at BYU and the other grew up in Provo, Utah.
The Cougars introduced the first three assistants under first-year head coach Kalani Sitake on Tuesday. Heisman winner Ty Detmer will coach on the collegiate level for the first time as offensive coordinator. Former Oregon State linebackers coach Ilaisa Tuiaki will hold the defensive coordinator title for the first time during his career.
Former BYU defensive end Ed Lamb joins the staff as the most experienced of the bunch after spending the last seven years as the Southern Utah head coach and two years prior to that as an assistant to Jim Harbaugh at San Diego. He has the general title of assistant head coach that, by design, gives Sitake the flexibility to use him in a variety of ways - which early on looks to be tight ends coach and special teams coordinator.
''The way I can help Kalani the most right now is by encouraging him to stay on the track that he's on,'' Lamb said. ''He has a great sense for leading young people.
''If there are times when I feel like I can speak up and help him, I will do that. But I also need to make sure and focus on not being the head coach. I've been there and I've had an opinion on every facet of the program. I still have those opinions, but it's not always appropriate to open my mouth about them.''
Trepidation surrounding Detmer is understandable. He's the only Heisman winner in school history, but he has no coaching experience beyond leading St. Andrew's Episcopal high school the last six seasons. Detmer, though, played 14 years in the NFL and worked with Brett Favre, Tim Couch, Michael Vick and Matt Schaub.
''Obviously, it's a big jump,'' Detmer said. ''I was well aware of the pressures here and the scrutiny that may come with it. ... There's going to be some learning curves and some things, maybe, that come up that I haven't been involved with before on that side of things at this level. Feel like with the guys we're going to have around me, I'll be a quick learner and hopefully we'll overcome those things.''
Detmer said he wants to run a balanced system, but added he demands much from his quarterbacks. He wants to keep the defense honest with the run, but still take shots downfield. Detmer would like to use the tight end more, but ultimately will use multiple formations and personnel.
Recruiting will be new, but Detmer said he did some ''soft recruiting'' at the high school level because he coached at a private school. So the activity isn't completely foreign.
Tuiaki grew up in Provo and his dad played rugby at BYU. He's a defensive coordinator for the first time after coaching linebackers at Oregon State in 2015 and the defensive line at Utah from 2013-14. Tuiaki followed Sitake from Utah to Oregon State last year.
He didn't detail what scheme he hopes to run now or in the future, but said they'll fit the structure to the personnel - and the current players were recruited to a 3-4 base defense. Tuiaki will coach a position, but that hasn't been decided along with the balance of influence, including play-calling, from Sitake - the former Oregon State defensive coordinator.
''I'm sure that I'll stumble along the way, but we'll just keep pressing forward through those things,'' Tuiaki said. ''I'd be a fool not to lean on (Sitake), being a first-time coordinator and him having all the success that he's had in the past years. ... He will be involved heavily in the defense. Change is always exciting.''