Ty Detmer seemed at ease on the field that made him famous.
The Heisman-winning former BYU quarterback was back in Provo for Saturday’s game against Oregon State. He was honored at halftime as a 2012 College Football Hall of Fame inductee.
One thing was obvious: The man is the same, both physically and personality-wise. He was accommodating, good natured and patient – same as always. Considering BYU has gained a lot of yards by rushing its quarterbacks this year, Detmer was asked if he ever asked LaVell Edwards to allow him to run more.
“Not at all,” Detmer said. “I’d rather throw than run. I did it if I had to, but overall, that was what my receivers were for.”
Detmer’s appearance came 22 years after he led the Cougars to a win over No. 1 Miami.
“Every time I get on this field and they come running out before the game starts, it gives me goose bumps,” he said. “There are so many memories and it kind of brings back the emotion. You wish you could turn back time and get out there and play again.”
Detmer gave a qualified endorsement to independence for BYU football.
“I still think there’s something about winning a conference championship, and that was our goal every year,” he said. “As an independent, you don’t have that luxury. But they definitely enjoy better opponents and tougher teams, so it’s a catch-22. You give a little and take a little. Overall I think it’s exciting for the fans and the team.”
Asked about the defense being a big deal, rather than the offense this year, Detmer said he talked to former teammate Rocky Biegel about the focus shift.
“He mentioned that, and I said, ‘You know, when you think about it, whenever we had to make a stop or get the ball back, we generally did it.’ When you play with a high-powered offense, you know the offense can handle it, but when the offense is stuttering, it puts that much more focus on the defense.”