PROVO — Former Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer declared he has not burned any bridges with BYU, and if his alma mater calls again, he’d be more than happy to explore that opportunity in a few years.
Detmer’s classic personality, his native Texan approach to life and football was on full display this week during an interview with Ben Criddle on ESPN 960 AM radio. Detmer is a featured presenter for the Big Outdoors Expo with organizer Tony Abbott scheduled March 9-10 at the UCC Center in Orem.
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake relieved Detmer of his duties as offensive coordinator following a road win over Hawaii in the Cougars’ finale to a four-win season in 2017. It was a season in which BYU’s offense struggled and five quarterbacks played due to season-ending injuries to starter Tanner Mangum and backup Beau Hoge.
During the interview, Detmer talked hunting and football, saying he would not trade his experience coaching at BYU for anything, and that he learned key lessons that he will apply to his future in the profession if opportunities arise.
Detmer also said he is not bitter over losing his post at BYU.
“I am not a bitter person, it’s not my nature. I was disappointed. There are a lot of things that I can’t control and I don’t worry about what I can’t control. I don’t let it beat me up. I don’t stay in that mode very long.”
This past week, Detmer attended the ceremonies for the Davey O’Brien Award given to Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. Detmer won the award as a BYU junior and as a senior.
Detmer said in talks with BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe, his assistant Brian Santiago, and with Sitake, he never closed any doors.
“In two or three years, if it is a good fit for me to be back, I’d definitely explore the opportunity.”
Detmer said 2017 was a season nobody anticipated.
“Coming off a 9-4 season and a good year, year two was expected to be better," Detmer said. "Then you realize you lost a lot of senior leadership from that team. It was a perfect storm, a tough schedule early, young players you hope will step up and then injuries come. Then you get to a point where you are handcuffed when you get to some games you think will be more winnable. Those are battles because of the situation you are in with injuries.”
Detmer said he never planned on playing five quarterbacks. He also said he learned valuable lessons he can apply in the future. He could have communicated better, he could have been more vocal in asking for what was needed.
“You chalk it up to a learning experience. I would have liked to have had another year to right the ship and get back on track and teach some of the younger players. Our best players skill-wise were freshmen and sophomores.”
Detmer expressed gratitude for the support he felt from many corners of the BYU realm.
“Sometimes you just get caught up in some of the business decisions of having a job and you move on and learn from the experience.”
As reported earlier, Detmer has put out feelers to the NFL, where he has more contacts than he has with college programs. He plans on doing some personal development by visiting NFL camps and some college campuses the next year to see methods and philosophies and compare them with his own.
Detmer left a head coaching job at a small private high school in Texas to become BYU’s offensive coordinator when Sitake replaced Bronco Mendenhall after the 2015 season. He said his experience at BYU got his competitive juices going again and he appreciated the run.
“I really enjoyed the competitive side, week in and week out,” said Detmer. “You are competing and the competitive level is very different. Coming from a small private high school where some weeks you go in knowing you have no chance to other weeks where you feel this one may not be too tough.
“At this level, every week is a new week and you have to be on your A game and I really enjoyed that part of it. It kind of got the juices going again. I enjoyed working with the players and getting to know them on a personal level and tried to coach them up.”
Detmer’s immediate sights will be from the barrel of a rifle as he resumes promotions for his T14 Ranch in Texas, where he is owner, operator, guide and cook. He has invited former Cougar and current New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill to work in his booth at the expo in March.
And he’ll be smiling, as usual.
It is his element, his way.