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Some of Bronco Mendenhall’s former assistants are reportedly eyeing new jobs

BYU assistant head coach/ offensive coordinator Robert Anae talks with media during their media day Wednesday, June 24, 2015, at their broadcast facility on campus in Provo.
Then-BYU assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Robert Anae talks with the media on Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Provo. Anae could be headed From Virginia to Syracuse to coach there.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

When former BYU Cougars head football coach Bronco Mendenhall abruptly resigned as head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers on Dec. 2, one of the first things he acknowledged was how his decision would affect his assistant coaches, many of whom followed him to Virginia from BYU in 2015.

Some of those assistants are now reportedly starting to find new jobs.

On Sunday night, Yahoo’s Pete Thamel reported that Mendenhall’s longtime offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck could be headed to Syracuse to fill those same roles.

Then on Monday, Thamel reported that running backs coach Mark Atuaia “is expected” to be hired for that same position at Washington State.

At Syracuse, Anae and Beck would be joining a team that went 5-7 this season but just 2-6 in ACC play (Virginia is also in the ACC).

There was talk that Syracuse head coach Dino Babers was on the hot seat this offseason, but he was retained and a few of his assistants were fired instead.

That list included Sterlin Gilbert, who doubled as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

At Washington State, new head coach Jake Dickert is installing new coaches, and former offensive coordinator/running backs coach Brian Smith was not retained as part of that change.

In the 2021 season, Virginia had one of the more successful offenses in the country, as it finished third in both total yards and passing yards and 22nd in points per game.

Other coaches who were with Mendenhall at both BYU and Virginia include offensive line coach Garett Tujague, defensive coordinator Nick Howell and linebackers coach Kelly Poppinga.

In 2021, the Cavaliers were one of the worst defenses in the country. They were in the bottom 30 in points given up per game and bottom 10 in rushing yards given up per game.