June 21, 2016
It’s been nearly 30 years since a young man from Texas came to BYU to play quarterback on the football team.
It’s been more than 25 years since that same athlete earned the highest individual honor in college football.
Ty Detmer’s Heisman Trophy has become one of the great Cougar football success stories and — along with the 1984 national championship and a few others — has to be considered one of the great moments in BYU football history.
Now, of course, the superstar himself is back in Provo, this time to be the football team’s offensive coordinator.
Throughout spring camp — and everywhere Detmer goes — Cougar supporters want to talk to him, get his autograph or a photo, and relive the memories of watching the former BYU QB on the field. It’s been a whirlwind as he’s come back to his alma mater.
“Any time there is change, people are excited,” Detmer said last week after competing with head coach Kalani Sitake in a charity golf tournament in Sandy. “Everybody has voiced that and it’s good. It’s good to be back right now. We’ll see how it is once September starts.”
But he’s still the same relaxed, easygoing guy he’s always been. The scorekeeper for Detmer and Sitake’s foursome at the charity event said Detmer is one of the nicest guys he’s ever met.
It’s just part of who he is. There might have been a lot going on for Detmer since his arrival, but another aspect he keeps reminding everyone about is that he’s here to do a job for the current group of players.
“Everything is like you are living in Oz right now,” Detmer said. “But the reality is — and I tell people all the time — that I’m shocked at how little football I’ve actually done. With the recruiting part and firesides and fanfests, it’s just been 15 days of football really. I can’t wait for August to get here, for things to settle down and to focus on football more.”
One of the players he will be focusing on is Cougar senior Taysom Hill, who is trying to come back from a Lisfranc foot injury. In an article by Sport Illustrated’s Joan Niesen published on June 15, Hill says he isn’t even sore after some workouts and is working on getting all of his muscles up to par so he can be ready to go in August and September.
Detmer said he is hearing good things about how Hill is progressing at this point.
“He’s running around a little bit more,” Detmer said. “There’s still not a real rush to have him cutting and doing those things, but to be in honest, I haven’t been in town enough to know what he’s doing. I do know he’s feeling pretty good and getting closer.”
But before he gets down to the details of fall camp, Detmer has other things to be focused on. He talked about getting the family situation in place during the summer while he’s got the time to work out the details.
“We have (found a home),” Detmer said. “We’re going to rent a place in Mapleton and then figure out where we’re going to be.”
He added that he’s not planning on having any horses at his new residence.
“They eat too much and cost too much to take care of,” Detmer said with a grin. “It’s like a boat. It’s better to know someone with a boat or know people who have horses. Then you don’t have to take care of them.”
He also said he enjoyed the chance to be at the charity golf tournament and spend the morning with Sitake, defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki and grad assistant JD Falslev — although the coach in him had some other feelings, too.
“I have some mixed emotions because we have youth camps going on, so I kind of feel bad that I’m not down there,” Detmer said. “But it’s great to get out and spend time outside of being in the office or on the field with them.”
But it also brought back some memories from a summer back when he was a player.
“I remember playing in one of these when I was a quarterback with LaVell Edwards,” Detmer said. “We did it way back then and it’s fun to be back.”
Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd can be reached at (801) 344-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.