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‘The perfect choice’: BYU promotes Aaron Roderick to offensive coordinator; Fesi Sitake named passing game coordinator

Roderick will retain his duties as quarterbacks coach and Sitake will retain his duties as receivers coach after offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes’ departure for Baylor

SHARE ‘The perfect choice’: BYU promotes Aaron Roderick to offensive coordinator; Fesi Sitake named passing game coordinator
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BYU quarterback Zach Wilson and QBs coach Aaron Roderick confer during Blue-White game at on Saturday, April 7, 2018.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Less than 24 hours after the abrupt departure of three-year offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes to Baylor, BYU football coach Kalani Sitake moved quickly Monday night to name his replacement.

Sitake announced the promotion of three-year passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick to offensive coordinator.

The coach also announced that receivers coach Fesi Sitake will take Roderick’s former position as passing game coordinator. Roderick will retain his duties as quarterbacks coach and Fesi Sitake — Kalani Sitake’s cousin — will retain his position as receivers coach.

Assistant coaches Steve Clark (tight ends), Eric Mateos (offensive line) and Harvey Unga (running backs) will continue in their same position responsibilities on Roderick’s offensive staff, according to a school news release.

“Aaron (Roderick) is the right person to take over as our offensive coordinator with the departure of Jeff (Grimes). Jeff did a tremendous job as offensive coordinator and Aaron is the perfect choice to help us build on the success our offensive staff have achieved together.” — BYU coach Kalani Sitake.

There was speculation that Mateos, who was brought to BYU by Grimes, might follow him to Waco, Texas, but Monday’s announcement put that to rest. Grimes, Mateos and Mateos’ predecessor, Ryan Pugh, have been credited for rebuilding BYU’s offensive line into one of the top OL’s in the country.

Kalani Sitake said the promotion of Roderick, a former co-offensive coordinator at Utah, should enable the Cougars’ offense to keep rolling, after it ranked No. 3 in the country in scoring offense (43.5 points per game) in 2020.

“Aaron is the right person to take over as our offensive coordinator with the departure of Jeff (Grimes),” Kalani Sitake said. “Jeff did a tremendous job as offensive coordinator and Aaron is the perfect choice to help us build on the success Jeff, Aaron, Fesi and our offensive staff have achieved together. I know firsthand the exceptional coach Aaron is from working on the same staff for 15 years during our careers. He is an experienced play-caller and coordinator and a great mentor and teacher. I’m thrilled to have Aaron as our new offensive coordinator.”

When Grimes and Mateos were unable to attend the Boca Raton Bowl last month in Florida, Roderick and Sitake stepped in and handled the play-calling duties and helped the Cougars route UCF 45-23 on Dec. 22.

Fesi Sitake was Weber State’s offensive coordinator before joining BYU’s staff in 2018.

“Fesi came to BYU three years ago as one of the game’s up-and-coming young coordinators and he’s played a big role in our success,” Kalani Sitake said. “He has improved his team wherever he has been and that is certainly the case here at BYU. We are better because of Fesi’s contributions in our staff room, on the practice field and on the sidelines. I’m excited to have him working closely with Aaron and the other coaches in this new role.”

It is not clear how Kalani Sitake will fill the opening on the staff created by Monday’s shuffling. He could choose to hire a defensive line coach to free defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki of one of his duties.

Meanwhile, Roderick, a former BYU receiver, takes over for Grimes with 21 years of coaching experience, including 10 seasons as a coordinator. BYU was No. 7 in total offense (522.2 ypg) and No. 8 in passing offense (332.1 ypg) while ranking in the top 15 in 10 different statistical categories overall in 2020.

“I am incredibly honored to be the offensive coordinator at BYU because I understand this program’s legacy and truly appreciate the great coaches that have been in this position in the past to build that legacy,” Roderick said. “I’m grateful to Kalani for this opportunity. He and I have worked together for 15 years at three different schools, and he is the kind of coach I want to work for and someone in whom I have so much trust and respect.”

BYU lost three senior starters at receiver prior to the 2020 season, but Fesi Sitake developed Dax Milne, Neil Pau’u and Gunner Romney into one of the top receiving corps in the nation. Milne became BYU’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2012 and recently declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to continue my experience here at BYU as the passing game coordinator,” Fesi Sitake said. “I’m grateful for Kalani and his willingness to provide this opportunity for me. Working with Aaron Roderick has been an incredible learning experience and I appreciate his continued trust in me. I look forward to continuing my journey here at BYU with the rest of this incredible staff and these amazing players.”