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Does BYU Football Promote From Within For 10th Assistant Spot?

BYU football coaches in 2020 prior to the Cougars bowl game against UCF. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football has a good thing going right now. Despite all of the personnel losses to the NFL, a lot of talent returns from a team that won 11 games in 2020. The same goes for the coaching staff.

Aaron Roderick fills the shoes left behind by Jeff Grimes at an offensive coordinator, but everyone else returns and remains in their same roles in 2020.

BYU still has an opening for a 10th full-time assistant to join the staff. Head coach Kalani Sitake could go on either side of the ball with the hire. Grimes was a sixth offensive assistant who could roam from one position to the next on any given day. Perhaps Sitake hires another offensive coach to aid Roderick to keep the offensive juggernaut rolling beyond 2020.

Sitake himself helps out on the defensive side already, assisting Ed Lamb with the linebackers. But maybe he wants to bring a defensive coach on board.

Whichever way Sitake goes, he has candidates in-house that could step in as the 10th assistant from within the program.

BYU Football 10th assistant options in-house

One intriguing option is Kevin Clune, who was a volunteer this past season but was seen wearing a headset on the sideline during BYU’s Boca Raton Bowl win over UCF. Clune is a former defensive coordinator at Oregon State, Utah State, Hawaii, and Southern Utah. Clune, 48, boasts more than two decades of experience on his coaching resume.

During his time with the T-Birds in Cedar City from 2003-2004, Clune was on the same SUU staff with Kalani Sitake and Aaron Roderick.

Clune participated in the team pictures with the coaching staff before traveling to Boca Raton for the bowl game.

His recent coaching experience is all on the defensive side ball, with his most recent stop at Memphis, where he served as interim defensive coordinator during the Tigers’ appearance in the Cotton Bowl.

In the early years of his coaching career, Clune coached a little bit on the offensive side of the ball. He was an offensive graduate assistant at Utah with current Weber State head coach Jay Hill. He could go into a role with the tight ends freeing up Steve Clark to be the coach that Grimes was who helped out with any position.

BYU Football - Kevin Clune - Steve Clark

BYU football volunteer Kevin Clune (far left) with student tight end assistant Jamison Clark (middle), and tight ends coach Steve Clark (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

Other potential coaches Sitake could turn to for the 10th assistant spot is Blair Peterson, a current BYU offensive analyst. Peterson, who worked with BYU’s quarterbacks the past two years, has experience at Rice, FIU, and Texas. At FIU, he was the tight ends coach for the Panthers. With the Longhorns, Peterson was an offensive quality control analyst on Mack Brown’s staff from 2010-12.

Vince Feula, a former BYU standout along the defensive line, continues to rise the ladder within BYU’s program quietly. In 2015, Feula joined BYU’s staff as a student assistant under Bronco Mendenhall, the man who recruited Feula to BYU from Cerritos College. Feula worked with the nose tackles that season.

Under Kalani Sitake, Feula has moved up from graduate assistant to a defensive analyst the past two years.

Jeff Hansen from CougarSportsInsider.com brought up an intriguing idea of promoting BYU’s Director of Recruiting Jasen Ah You as a defensive ends coach to give the Cougars an ace recruiter who could take his recruiting expertise on the road when the dead period concludes amidst the global pandemic.

Possible options outside of BYU’s program

If Sitake wanted to go outside of his program, former Utah State interim head coach Frank Maile would be intriguing. Maile has recent experience coaching both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. A former Aggie, Maile was a key piece to the revival of that program in the first stint with Gary Andersen. In between his two stops in Logan, Maile was a defensive line coach at Vanderbilt from 2014-15.

Utah State’s Justin Ena and Snow College’s Jan Jorgensen have ties to BYU and Kalani Sitake. Ena was a teammate with Sitake from 1997-2000 at BYU and coached alongside him on Utah’s defensive staff in 2015.

Jorgensen, one of the greatest sack artists in BYU’s history, is the current defensive coordinator at Snow on Zac Erekson’s staff. The Helper native was a grad assistant for Sitake for three years before making a move to Ephraim.

USC defensive line coach Vic So’oto is a rising star in coaching. He is a former player at BYU. But is it realistic to expect BYU could sway a Power 5 position coach to a similar role? Across town in Los Angeles is UCLA’s Jason Kaufusi, a former standout with Utah as a player. He’s currently coaching the outside linebackers on Chip Kelly’s staff that started to turn the corner as a program near the end of 2020.

Former BYU running backs coach AJ Steward was not retained on Jedd Fisch’s new staff down at Arizona after Kevin Sumlin was let go. Steward was relentless on the recruiting trail, especially in the transfer portal. He played wide receiver during his days as a player at Kansas. He’s a versatile offensive mind and an excellent recruiter.

There’s no shortage of options for Kalani Sitake to pick from as he rounds out his 2021 BYU football staff.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app

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