Media Day

BEATON: Legendary quarterbacks and coach enjoy shared legacy

2013-06-27T00:30:00Z 2013-11-06T21:45:35Z BEATON: Legendary quarterbacks and coach enjoy shared legacyBeky Beaton-Daily Herald Daily Herald
June 27, 2013 12:30 am  • 


That’s the best word to describe the interaction between the group of BYU’s famed quarterbacks who gathered in person or by satellite Wednesday afternoon during Football Media Day to chat with retired BYU coach LaVell Edwards, who gave them all a place to play.

If you didn’t already know it, you’re left with one inescapable conclusion after watching these guys for an hour. They’re getting old.

Even the still-youthful-looking Ty Detmer is 45, and the “baby” of the group, University of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, turns 40 next year.

And except for him, the group participating in this Media Day exercise represents a nearly-unbroken string of outstanding signal-callers which ruled the passing lanes from 1973 through 1991, with Sarkisian making his contributions in the 1995 and ’96 seasons.

Still, all a long time ago. Most of these guys are gray-headed grandfathers now.

Gary Sheide, Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson, Steve Young and Robbie Bosco all made an appearance in the studio, while Sarkisian and Detmer were live via satellite and Jim McMahon offered prerecorded segments.

It was a pleasant hour of reminiscing and mutual praise. Most of the stories they told were very familiar, although a few had a new twist or two.

Edwards, who had seemed very fragile the last couple of times I’d seen him, was very animated on this occasion and cracked more than a few of his famously-deadpan jokes. A sampler:

When asked how it felt to be back with this particular group of old friends, he quipped, “Looking at them, I wonder how we ever won a game.”

After the first McMahon segment, in which the maverick quarterback was wearing his typical shades with his hair shaved off, Edwards was asked if Jim was wearing sunglasses when he was recruited. “No, but I think we go to the same barber,” the venerable coach said.

Later in the hour, Edwards was asked what Ty Detmer had done for him. Without missing a beat, he said, “Kept me employed.”

Maybe his best lines of the day came when he described his first meeting with Ty and his father Sonny, which happened during a recruiting trip. Edwards said Detmer maybe weighed 145 pounds.

“His Adam’s apple was bigger than his bicep,” Edwards said with a smile. “I was expecting to see John Elway and got Pee-wee Herman.”

The follow-up comment was a bit more serious, though. Once Detmer hit campus, after five days of practice, then-quarterbacks coach Norm Chow came to Edwards and said, “We’ve got something really special here.”

Three years later, the Heisman voters agreed.

There’s no doubt that much of Cougar Nation still enjoys this annual walk down Memory Lane. Like me, many of them have seen all of these guys play in a Cougar uniform and really appreciate what they did to put BYU on the football map.

But the crowd is getting restless too.

The Cougars were innovators in those days, leading the football world with their pass-happy attack which was such a departure from the offensive schemes of that era.

Edwards understood that the only chance he had to win with the kids he could attract here was exactly that.

Recruiting to Provo still has challenges that most other Division I coaches don’t face. The Cougars have continued to be broadly successful, but there remains a hunger out there to see a new chapter written that will fit in with the glory days of old.

Will this be the year?

Only time will tell.

Beky Beaton can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @BeatonWrite.

-- Beky Beaton is the prep sports specialist and also covers BYU and other sports for the Daily Herald. You can follow her on Twitter at @BeatonWrite.
Read more from  Beky Beaton here.



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