Could one of these Mountain West assistants join BYU as the next defense coordinator?
BYU could poach a current MW coach
BYU is looking for a new defensive coordinator after Ilaisa Tuiaki stated on his Instagram page (which is private) that he is stepping down as the Cougars’ lead defensive coach.
“What a great 7 year run. It’s time to get going and face a new challenge. I want to say thank you,” Tuiaki wrote.
Tuiaki tried to resign earlier in the season when BYU was going through a tough four-game losing streak, but head coach Kalani Sitake wouldn’t accept it. Instead, Tuiaki was essentially demoted to defensive line coach.
Now that the Cougars season is over without their bowl game, they’re looking for a new defensive coordinator as they head into the Big 12.
KSL Sports’ Mitch Harper has compiled a slate of candidates that includes a number of well-known names from the Mountain West.
Rocky long | New Mexico defensive coordinator
Harper on Long’s notes say he’s a proven coach that Sitake could have him take over and run the defense. During his time in New Mexico, Long did a great job of building this defense unit to be in the top third of defense statewide.
One concern is how Long interacted with BYU when he was head coach in New Mexico when the two were at Mountain West. That’s probably just because he’s an opposing coach.
Frank Maile | Boise State Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line
Maile has a lot of experience coaching this spot from his days at Utah State, Vanderbilt and now Boise State. He also did a really good job defensively with the Broncos.
He was interim head coach when Gary Andersen stepped down a few years ago to lead a sinking Aggie ship. Maile has that experience as a head coach, albeit in a unique way.
Derrick Odum | San Jose State defensive coordinator
Odum has worked with Kalani Sitake in Utah and Oregon State in the past. The Spartans’ defense has been exceptionally good in recent years and is in the top 25 this year.
Defensive lineman Cade Hall was his crown jewel by being named Defensive Player of the Year in 2020, an honorable mention in 2021, but he is once again in the running for Player of the Year in 2022.
BYU’s passing rush was poor and this year’s Spartans team has 36 sacks.
With BYU heading into the Big 12, they can afford to snag a seated defensive coordinator from Mountain West.
The salary will be unknown as the Cougars is a private school, but the salary will and must be competitive with the rest of the Big 12 if they are to land a quality coach.
Other names listed were former Utah or BYU coaches/players familiar with the religious structure in Provo.
If we had to guess the order of these Mountain West trainers, it probably would.
Odum, Maile and then Long.
Long is the most experienced but given his age of 72 he would be a short-term play. Maile will have a certain stain on his allegations against Utah State for not getting the head coaching job.
He called for a “thorough and independent investigation into religious, cultural and racial discrimination” in the state of Utah.
From my understanding – from members of the Team Leadership Council who attended a meeting with Utah State President Noelle Cockett and Athletic Director John Hartwell – I was ultimately not selected for the position of head coach at Utah State (my beloved alma mater ) being considered because of concerns that my religion and Pacific Islander culture could negatively impact the university’s future football program. I served twice as interim head coach and went through the application process, but was not informed of a formal hiring decision until after Noelle Cockett and John Hartwell met with the team.
These comments shouldn’t stop him from being the guy, but schools and programs do thorough research.
Odum seems excellent at turning a very poor San Jose State defense into a very formidable unit, and it helps that he’s trained with Sitake at multiple locations over the years.
It’s still very early in the process, as BYU hasn’t even officially announced the coaching change yet.