Canadian Football League

Saturday, March 18, 2006

BYU hires former Canadian Football League coach

BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall wasted little time in selecting a new assistant coach to replace the departed Brian Mitchell. He’s also showing he can be flexible.On the same day he announced Jaime Hill (first name is pronounced HI-me) as the newest member of the BYU football coaching staff, Mendenhall also acknowledged he is changing his defensive scheme from the 3-3-5 he brought with him from New Mexico to a 3-4.The move to a 3-4 will allow Mendenhall to take advantage of his depth at linebacker. “We feel like we’ve assembled the best coaching staff possible,” said Mendenhall, who is also the defensive coordinator. “After reviewing our defensive personnel, there are players on our team who we can design scheme elements around to make sure we get our best 11 football players on the field. We believe the coaching assignment changes are in direct alignment with the strengths of our returning defensive personnel.“The principles (of the 3-4) are very similar to what we have already done. We will continue to emphasize pursuit and gang tackling.”Last season, Mendenhall started three former defensive tackles (Manaia Brown, Daniel Marquardt and Vince Feula) on the defensive line because he wanted to get his best linemen on the field, so the move to the 3-4 is just another expression of that philosophy.BYU returns just one starting linebacker in senior middle linebacker Cameron Jensen. But several others have starting experience, including juniors Markell Staffieri and Bryan Kehl and senior Aaron Wagner. BYU’s defense ranked 14th in the nation (307 yards per game) in Mendenhall’s first year as defensive coordinator in 2003. But the Cougars fell to 59th in 2004 (377 yards per game) and 91st in 2005 (417 yards per game). The secondary in particular was exploited last season, giving up 269 yards per game (104th in the country).Hill, a 42-year-old native of San Diego, comes to Provo after three seasons as an assistant coach in the Canadian Football League, including the past two seasons as the co-defensive coordinator for the Ottawa Renegades. He has accumulated an extensive resume with over 20 years of coaching experience, including stints in college football and with the NFL.“Coach Hill brings a great deal of technical and schematic expertise to our secondary,” Mendenhall said. “He has coaching experience at every level, including the past two seasons as a defensive coordinator in the Canadian Football League.Hill replaces Mitchell, who left BYU in February for Mike Leach’s staff at Texas Tech. Hill will coach the entire secondary and former safeties coach Barry Lamb will move to outside linebacker coach. Paul Tidwell will take the inside linebackers and Steve Kaufusi will handle the defensive line. Hill will arrive in Provo this weekend and be on the field for spring practice when it begins on Monday.“I’m very excited to work with coach Mendenhall and his staff,” Hill said. “I think they have this program heading in the right direction and this is a train I want to be aboard when it comes into the station.”Prior to his three years in Canada, Hill served as the defensive coordinator at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. In the XFL, Hill served as the secondary coach with the San Francisco Demons in 2001. He has also worked with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, working as a defensive assistant and secondary coach.A graduate of San Francisco State University with a degree in psychology, Hill was a first team all-conference wide receiver in 1984 and 1985. He was also an Academic All-American and first-team all-league performer at Grossmont Junior College.After a year as a student assistant coach at his alma mater, Hill was hired as the graduate assistant coach at UTEP for the 1988 season. A year later, he moved to Northern Arizona where he coached the receivers and tight ends. In 1991 and 1992, Hill coached the secondary at Sonoma State. In 1993, Hill served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Chicago before moving to Portland State as the defensive coordinator for four seasons.Hill and his wife, LaShanda, have three children, including twin girls Brianna and Tichelle and a son, Marcquet.


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