By Craig Ellenport | Sept. 4, 2018
After winning the 1990 Heisman Trophy as a record-settling quarterback at BYU, Ty Detmer spent 14 seasons as a player in the NFL. He learned under NFL coaches like Mike Holmgren and Jon Gruden, and played alongside teammates such as Brett Favre and Doug Pederson. In recent years, Detmer has made the transition to coaching, having served as offensive coordinator at his alma mater from 2015-17.
We recently caught up with Detmer, to get his thoughts on some of the current and former NFL coaches he’s worked with:
HCR: What do you think Jon Gruden can do for quarterback Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders offense?
TY DETMER: Well, I think he’ll be great for Derek Carr. He’s always been good with his quarterbacks. He’s had a lot of time here where I know he’s been collecting ideas and film and things that he really likes. He’s had a lot of time on his hands to do these things, so he’ll bring a full package of ideas that he feels will be really good in the league. He was doing that in Green Bay when I was there — just collecting cut-ups and things that he liked. And when I got to Philly with him, we incorporated some of those things into what we were doing there, so I know he’s got a full file of ideas right now.
I think the attention to detail was a big thing with him. The other thing, he kind of tailored his offense to the different quarterback styles he had. (In Philadelphia) we had Rodney Peete at the time, I was there, Bobby Hoying. I felt like he was calling the game to what we did best. Not just the things he liked but the things he thought we could be successful with.
HCR: You recently spent some time at New Orleans Saints camp. What does Sean Payton do from a practice and preparation standpoint that impressed you?
TD: He comes from the Bill Parcells influence and he talked several times about the influence Parcells had on him. The attention to detail. Spending time in the quarterback room. You’ve got a veteran quarterback there in Drew Brees that he knows exactly what he wants to get to, he knows the offense inside and out. Seeing how they interact, you know. Drew has the freedom to change the play at the line, to get to what he likes. I think Sean does a great job with that. Practices were sharp and crisp – not a lot of wasted time out there.
HCR: Who were some of the NFL coaches who had an impact on you during your playing days?
TD: Coming into the league, I had Mike Holmgren in his first year as a head coach. Spending four years with him, where he came from San Francisco — Bill Walsh, and had Joe Montana and Steve Young, two of the greats to play the game. To learn from him and see how things are done. The expectations, the demand for perfection. I know a lot of those things probably came from Bill Walsh. On that staff you had Steve Mariucci and Andy Reid, Marty Mornhinweg, Jon Gruden, Ray Rhodes, Dick Jauron – all future head coaches. It was a great staff to learn from.
HCR: What do you think about the current crop of NFL head coaches?
TD: You’ve got some of the up-and-comers. Sean McVay at the Rams, some of the innovative stuff that’s coming on. Doug Pederson – I played with him. To see how aggressive he is as a head coach – going for it on fourth down a lot. You’ve got these up-and-comers who are kinda breaking the mold of the NFL a little bit.
Some of the RPO [run-pass option] things, changing up how things are done. The NFL for such a long time has been, “You do this a certain way. This is how you do it.”
Now the game is changing a little bit.
But then you’ve got the old-school style, and a guy like Andy Reid is still very successful. I love the way he interacts with his players. Watching him on the sidelines. Knowing him as a person, he’s got that personal touch and interaction, and that goes a long way, I think, in today’s game with the players. It’s fun to see how the game is evolving and changing. It’s fun to keep up with that.
HCR: You were a teammate of current Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. Could you tell from his playing days that he would get into coaching?
TD: Yeah, I think he was that guy on the sidelines, especially in Green Bay with Brett Favre there – Doug was the guy on the sidelines stealing signals. He had his little notebook, getting defensive coordinators’ signals and writing them down. And he’d alert Brett to any potential blitz look or things like that. He was doing a lot of coaching as a backup – similar to my role throughout my time in the NFL – mentoring younger quarterbacks or helping out an older veteran. You could see that he would be a great football coach at some point, because he just loved it and was kind of doing that as a player.