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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended August 27, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 26Aug00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

BYU Chooses Engemann As QB, While Pundits Speculate on Edwards' Successor

PROVO, UTAH -- Larry King was right about BYU's starting quarterback -- kind of. His brother-in-law, Brett Engemann will indeed lead the Cougars in their first game this weekend against the Florida State Seminoles. But his main competitor for the starting spot, Charlie Peterson, has also been promised playing time in Saturday's game, maybe as much time as Engemann will get.

BYU quarterbacks coach Robbie Bosco described the arrangement. "Both guys, Bret and Charlie, are going to play significantly, and not just in a mop-up role. They're going to play when the game is on the line. It's not going to be if the one guy messes up, we're going to yank him and put the next guy in."

The two LDS returned missionaries have competed for the starting spot since both played in the Motor City Bowl last December, after then-starter Kevin Feterik was injured in the game. Engemann, a sophomore, has been thought to have a leg up on Peterson through the spring and summer scrimmages, in which he demonstrated a stronger arm. He also has the makings of a star, based on his high school performance and recruiting resume. But Peterson, a junior has more experience with BYU's system of play. Since he redshirted in 1995 before going on his mission and has been on the team since his 1998 Freshman year.

But regardless of the quarterback, Saturday's game is expected to go to the Seminloes, who are favored to win by 23 1/2 points. The Mountain West Conferences coaches have also delt the team a bit of a blow by placing BYU 3rd in the conference in the preseason poll, behind Utah and Colorado State. And, its anyone's guess what effect the recent announcement, that this is Coach Edwards' last season, will have on the team's performance.

Meanwhile, in the wake of Edwards' announcement and in spite of BYU Athletic Director Val Hale's suggestion that the school will concentrate on the season instead of on finding a replacement for Edwards, the media have begun to speculate on who the successor may be. Even before the speculation started, Alabama quarterbacks coach Charlie Stubbs, a former member of BYU's coaching staff, told an Alabama radio station that he would love the job.

But another possible candidate, Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach, said that he was not interested. Leach said "I was shocked by [the announcement.] It caught me by surprise to the extent that I didn't even think that [I was a possible candidate.]" However, Leach, who is in his second year as head coach, soon responded to the possibility. "I'm in a great situation here, and I plan to stay here."

CBS Sportsline speculated this week on Edwards successor in a couple of recent artiles, one focusing on Chicago Bears offensive coach Gary Crowton, who Sportsline claims would be "natural for [the] BYU job -- if he wants it." It also observes that Crowton would have to move to the NCAA from the NFL, the opposite move from what most coaches are trying to do. However, Crowton told the Chicago Sun-Times in February that he might decide to go to the College level if the move was better for his family. "I don't want to go back to college, but I want a little security because this is a tough business and I have a big family."

In a second article, Sportsline quotes BYU athletic director Val Hale saying "The next head coach will be Mormon. The pool (of possible replacements) isn't huge. It isn't like we have to look under every rock." That requirement, says Sportsline, limits BYU's candidates.

In addition to Crowton, Stubbs and Leach, it says current BYU defensive coordinator Ken Schmidt is a possible candidate for the position. Schmidt explained to Sportsline why BYU needs a Mormon candidate. "I don't think you'd ever see a head coach who's not Mormon or LDS (Church of Latter Day Saints). A lot of our kids go on missions. They want somebody who understands that situation. You bring in a guy who is not Mormon, the kids start going on missions and he says, "Wait a minute, I don't want kids going on missions.' A guy who doesn't understand that would have a real struggle."

But limiting the position to Mormons has its downside. BYU's reputation could mean that many highly qualified coaches would be interested, and excluding those candidates may mean BYU won't get as good a coach. That limitation also doesn't help BYU's reputation among minorities. "Certainly we hope that any opening for any college football coach that African-Americans will certainly be considered," said Charles Farrell, director of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Sports in New York, "but as you said, this is sort of a slot that ... historically has gone to a Mormon. There are very few black Mormons."

But Farrell admits that BYU doesn't seem to have discriminated against African-Americans in the students it accepts on the team. "I don't think it's been deliberately biased against African-Americans," he said. "It's been more biased more towards Mormons."


Engemann Gets Nod Vs. 'Noles
Salt Lake Tribune 22Aug00 S2
By Patrick Kinahan: Salt Lake Tribune

Leach: I'm staying
Austin TX American-Statesman 22Aug00 S2
By Randy Riggs: Austin American-Statesman

Bears' Crowton natural for BYU job -- if he wants it
CBS Sportsline 21Aug00 S2
By Mark Alesia: Senior Writer

Notebook: BYU's options limited in coaching search
CBS Sportsline 21Aug00 S2
By Dennis Dodd: Senior Writer


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