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Tom Smart, Deseret News, File

BYU adds Roderick, Weber State's Sitake, UTSA's Pugh to offensive staff

By Sean Walker, KSL.com  |  Posted Dec 27th, 2017 @ 5:30pm


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PROVO — The BYU offensive coaching staff under new coordinator Jeff Grimes is beginning to take shape, nearly a week before Grimes officially leaves his post at Louisiana State.

The Cougars added passing game coordinator Aaron Roderick, former Weber State offensive coordinator Fesi Sitake and former UTSA offensive line coach Ryan Pugh as assistant coaches Wednesday afternoon, as announced in a school release.

Tight ends coach Steve Clark was retained under Grimes, and the Cougars also plan to add a 10th assistant coach when NCAA by-laws allow it beginning in January.

The three new assistants replace running backs coach Reno Mahe, who pre-empted his dismissal earlier Saturday morning via Twitter; offensive line coach Mike Empey; wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon; and quarterbacks coach Ty Detmer, who was dismissed as offensive coordinator just two days after the Cougars' season finale at Hawaii.

Under Detmer, BYU ranked 119th out of 129 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total offense, averaging 17 points and 325 yards per game in 2017.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake expressed his appreciation for the dismissed assistant coaches, including Detmer, in a statement via Twitter.

"I want to express my sincere appreciation to Ty, Ben, Mike and Reno for their dedication to the BYU football program," Sitake tweeted "I wish them the very best."

Mahe, a former Brighton High and NFL standout whose wife Sunny was an All-American volleyball player at BYU, tweeted his appreciation for his two years spent as BYU's running backs coach earlier Wednesday.

"Coaching at BYU has been an amazing chapter in my life and I have made memories and friendship that will last forever," Mahe tweeted. "I’m excited to watch the new direction of the program and even more excited to open this new chapter and see where my next adventure leads."

Roderick, who has been at BYU as an offensive analyst since fall camp, was a junior college All-American wide receiver at Rick's College before finishing his career at BYU in 1997-98. The former Bountiful High star has 18 years of coaching experience, including a decade on Kyle Whittingham's coaching staff at Utah with two separate stints as co-offensive coordinator in 2010 and 2015.

"I'm excited for the opportunity to work at BYU and return to my alma mater," Roderick said. "I look forward to working again with Kalani Sitake, someone I have a great deal of respect for as both a person and a coach. I am eager to work with coach Grimes on his staff and contribute to the success of BYU football."

At one point the longest tenured member of Whittingham's coaching staff, Roderick was fired following the 2016 season, when the Utes ranked 106th nationally in red-zone offense and averaged just 29.8 points and 216.7 passing yards per game.

During his run with the Utes, he previously accepted assistant coaching positions at BYU in 2013 and Washington in 2009, but returned to Salt Lake City on both occasions.

"I have worked on the same staff as Aaron for 12 years, so I know firsthand how Aaron's versatility and experience will be a tremendous asset for our staff," head coach Kalani Sitake said in a statement. "He brings valuable play-calling and coordinating experience, and his ability to teach the game is impressive."

Fesi Sitake joins his close cousin Kalani in Provo after spending five seasons as an offensive coordinator at Weber State. The 31-year-old Sitake also spent time at his alma mater Southern Utah prior to moving to the Big Sky Conference rival in Ogden.

"I am thrilled to be a part of Cougar Nation," Fesi Sitake said in a statement from the school. "My father graduated from BYU, and I've had many family members come through this amazing institution, so it's a surreal moment for my family and me to embark on this journey at BYU."

Fesi Sitake of SUU returns a punt for a touchdown in Cedar City, Utah, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009. (Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Pugh joins Grimes' staff after spending the past two seasons at UTSA. The 29-year-old coach has six years of coaching experience, and was a graduate assistant under Grimes at Auburn in 2012, Virginia Tech in 2013 and LSU in 2015.

"BYU is a national brand and iconic program with a storied history of success that I am humbled to now be a part of," said Pugh, a former All-American center who also played for Grimes at Auburn. "I also want to thank coach Frank Wilson and UTSA for a great two years in San Antonio. I cannot wait to be in Provo and get to work with the outstanding coaches and young men at BYU."

Clark has spent more than two decades as a collegiate coach, with stops at Weber State, Southern Utah and BYU, among others. He previously coached the Cougars' tight ends in 2016 and 2017, including leading freshman Matt Bushman to an All-American season with 520 yards on 49 receptions.

Bushman's production was the most by a BYU tight end since Dennis Pitta in 2009.

Shortly after being introduced to the media, boosters and a handful of recruits in Provo, Grimes returned to LSU to help coach the offensive line in the Citrus Bowl against Notre Dame on New Year’s Day. He’ll formally assume his role as BYU offensive coordinator following the game.

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Sean Walker, KSL.com
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