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BYU removes Ty Detmer as offensive cooridnator

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BYU’s only Heisman Trophy winner in school history may forever have a spot among the immortals of BYU football, but even that is not enough to save Ty Detmer his job as offensive coordinator. On Monday, BYU relieved Detmer as offensive coordinator as head coach Kalani Sitake looks to make improvements on the offensive side of the football. Detmer, however, remains under contract with BYU and may be moved to a different position.

The offensive numbers speak volumes for why this change was made in Provo. BYU ranked 119th in total offense, 124th in scoring offense, 120th in red zone scoring percentage (and 127th in red zone touchdown percentage), and 91st in passing offense. It has been a long season for the Cougars offense, and a change had to be made. Perhaps a reduced role on the staff will lead to a better performance. Detmer focusing all of his coaching energy on coaching the quarterbacks, for example, seems to be the logical step as long as Detmer is under contract for another year.

BYU joined the coaching staff under Sitake in 2016. Detmer, a College Football Hall of Famer, had previously been a high school coach for six seasons before returning to his alma mater.

BYU finds some offense to secure first road win of the year at UNLV

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What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, right?

In the case of BYU and their long-lost offense, that is hopefully not the case in more ways than one. The Cougars found a rare offensive groove in the most unlikely of places to secure their first road win of the year on Friday night either way in a 31-21 victory over UNLV.

Even more shocking than all those points for one of the lower scoring teams in all of FBS was how they were put on the board. Freshman Joe Critchlow made his first start of the year (the third BYU QB to take the first snaps this season) but looked more like a veteran instead of a fresh-faced signal-caller, throwing for 160 yards and a touchdown while playing off his run game and avoiding turning the ball over. Despite facing a stacked box, tailback Squally Canada had several big runs on his way to an impressive career-high 213 yard and one touchdown night on the ground.

Former quarterback turned wideout Austin Kafentzis also chipped in with 55 yards rushing and a score as a unique red zone threat too.

That attack made it difficult to keep up with on the other sideline for the Rebels. Quarterback Johnny Stanton did wind up throwing for 325 yards, two touchdowns and an interception as the team had close to 500 yards of offense. It didn’t mean much without many stops on the defensive end though to put UNLV on the ropes in order to make the postseason, needing to win both of their final two games (on the road) in order to reach an ever elusive bowl game for the program.

BYU doesn’t have to worry about getting to a bowl game at this point in a 3-8 season but the effort on Friday night had to be an encouraging one for a team that has struggled to move the ball on seemingly every snap. That wasn’t the case against UNLV however as the Cougars left Sin City with a satisfying victory.

 

BYU’s leading rusher cited for pot possession

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Off-field issues continue to plague BYU football, although this one, unlike the other most recent one, involves a player currently on the roster.

According to the Deseret News, Ula Tolutau was cited earlier this month for possession or use of a controlled substance. The citation is a misdemeanor offense, with the Logan Daily Herald reporting that the substance involved was marijuana.

The Salt Lake Tribune, meanwhile, details what led up to the running back being issued the citation:

Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon said a deputy stopped a vehicle carrying four adults just after midnight on Oct. 8 for speeding and a tail-light violation. The deputy smelled alcohol and marijuana in the car and issued a field sobriety test to the driver, who was deemed not to be impaired.

Tolutau was a passenger and was found holding a frisbee containing marijuana. He told the deputy that the pot was in a frisbee because he didn’t have a baggie. He was cited at the scene and released. No other citations were given.

“It was a relatively normal interaction,” Cannon said, noting the occupants were cooperative but initially denied the possession of a controlled substance.

The News writes that “[a] BYU official said the school is aware of the situation and would not say when coaches learned of it.” What the true freshman’s status will be moving forward remains to be seen.

Tolutau currently leads the Cougars with 303 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground. Originally a Wisconsin signee, the 6-1, 250-pound back transferred to BYU after completing a two-year church mission.

This past Saturday morning, linebacker Francis Bernard was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a valid license and failing to register his vehicle/having an expired registration.  With him during the traffic stop was senior defensive back Marvin Hifo, who was cited for having an open container.

It was subsequently revealed by head coach Kalani Sitake that both players had previously left the team in the last couple of weeks prior to the off-field incident — Bernard withdrew from school and requested a release from his scholarship, while Hifo, a senior defensive back, decided to simply quit.

Two BYU football players involved in alcohol-related incident were actually ex-BYU football players

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The curious case of Francis Bernard has taken yet another twist.

In mid-August, it was announced that Francis Bernard, a 12-game starter at linebacker for BYU in 2016, would miss the entire 2017 season because of unspecified “personal reasons.” Very early Saturday morning, Bernard (pictured, No. 13) was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving without a valid license and failing to register his vehicle/having an expired registration.

With him during the traffic stop was teammate Marvin Hifo, who was cited for having an open container.

Monday, Kalani Sitake was asked about the situation.  In addressing it, the head coach revealed that both players had previously left the team in the last couple of weeks —  Bernard withdrew from school and requested a release from his scholarship, while Hifo, a senior defensive back, decided to simply quit.

Notably, Sitake seemingly indicated that, as of at least a couple of weeks ago, he was leaving the door open for a potential Bernard return at some point in the future.

“[Bernard] was looking at all of his options, and one of them was possibly returning here with a release in hand,” the coach said according to the Deseret News. “I wish him the best in finding what is the best place for him and I care about him.”

Bernard was third on the Cougars last season in tackles.  Should he continue playing football at the collegiate level, he would presumably be a fourth-year junior in 2018.

BYU, East Carolina add two games to football series in 2022 and 2024

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If you wanted to see BYU and East Carolina play some more football, congrats because this is your lucky day.

Prior to the Cougars’ trip to Greenville this week, the two schools announced on Thursday that they will be adding another two game set to their ongoing series. As these schedule announcements usually do, the dates are well into the future — with a game in Provo for Oct. 15, 2022 between the two teams and a return date for Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium back east on Oct. 19, 2024.

“We have enjoyed the opportunity to play teams from the American Athletic Conference, including the current series with East Carolina,” BYU athletics director Tom Holmoe said in a release. “ECU is a great matchup and it was an easy decision to schedule another series with them. It provides our team with a unique travel opportunity, and it gives Cougar fans who live in the southeast another opportunity to see us play.”

The two sides are wrapping up the first two game series on Saturday as BYU travels to East Carolina in a game where the teams combined record is a whopping 2-12. The Cougars won 45-38 last year in Utah during the first meeting.

The upcoming series gives ECU three non-conference opponents for both 2022 and 2024 as a result, and becomes the first team scheduled by BYU for the 2024 slate.