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All signs point to ex-BYU offensive coordinator coming to Arizona

Robert Anae

Robert Anae was at BYU for the past six seasons.
Photo from BYU

Nothing is close to official, but there seems to be little disagreement that former BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae will be joining coach Mike Stoops‘ staff at Arizona.

WildcatSportsReport.com, one of our partners in the TucsonCitizen.com Sports Network, wrote Sunday night in a premium article that Anae was expected to replace offensive coordinator Bill Bedenbaugh.

The Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune also reported Monday that Anae was set to join the Wildcats.

Official word likely will have to wait. Stoops still has a job opening for a secondary coach, but the official university site lists no new job posting for an assistant coach.

Bedenbaugh, who is Arizona’s offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator, is set to join his former Iowa Wesleyan teammate Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia. Holgorsen will be the Mountaineers’ offensive coordinator in 2011 and then take over head coaching duties in 2012.

Hiring Anae at Arizona makes sense in that he was the offensive line coach at Texas Tech under Mike Leach from 2000 to 2004, giving him a background in Arizona’s offensive system.

Anae, who was a standout offensive lineman at BYU and a member of its 1984 national championship team, resigned under pressure at the end of the Cougars’ season.

Wrote Gordon Monson in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Anae was forced out, a victim of Bronco Mendenhall’s recent declaration to his offensive assistants for them to seek employment elsewhere. And that strong suggestion was aimed primarily at You Know Who. Now that the main objective has been met, with the tossing of another assistant or two yet to come, Mendenhall can charge into independence with the guys he wants.

That’s what he desired for a long time, but the politics here were delicate. Anae was hired as BYU’s lead offensive man not by Mendenhall but by administrators. In other words, Anae was being crammed down the head coach’s throat before he was even named the head coach, and it wasn’t until recently that Mendenhall felt empowered to show Anae the door. …

Beyond what’s already been noted, it wasn’t easy unloading Anae because the Cougars had been putting up winning seasons (56-21), and statistically the offense had been impressive. In half of Anae’s years, BYU had ranked in the top six passing offenses nationally.

But there were troubles brewing beneath the surface. Players had difficulty communicating with the coordinator even in good seasons, and, at times, those breakdowns caused real antipathy. Mix in Anae’s stubbornness, and the entire offensive push was ham-handed, made worse by Mendenhall’s lack of expertise on that side of the ball.


Would Anae just coach the offensive line at Arizona? Would he share coordinator duties with current co-coordinator and running backs coach Seth Littrell? Would he take over play-calling duties?

(My guess, given Stoops’ penchant for promoting from within, is that Littrell becomes the “full-time” coordinator and retains calls plays … we’ll see.)

Here’s a quirky fact if Stoops hires Anae:

Anae would be second new coach at Arizona who started his career under Dick Tomey.

Stoops already brought in ex-Wildcat defensive tackle Joe Salave’a, who started his coaching career under Tomey at San Jose State in 2008. Anae’s first coaching job was at Hawaii in 1986, which was Tomey last year at the school before becoming the Arizona head coach.

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