Last season fullback Fred Whittingham's girlfriend left him for a swimmer, and Detmer came to a practice with a picture of the swimmer glued to his helmet. Then again, he's as often the victim of a prank. Recently, at the urging of Detmer's roommates, a blind date conned him into joining her in a photo machine at a K Mart, and the pictures were distributed across the campus in the form of a wedding announcement.
Yet the responsibilities of Heisman candidacy slowed this foolishness some. Says Mortensen, "Now he's famous, and it's hard for him to go egg somebody. Everybody knows Ty's car."
Until last Saturday, Mortensen was referring strictly to Detmer's fame in Provo. After a home game, it can take an hour or more before he can leave the stadium. Outside the locker room will be a crowd of fans, and Detmer will not duck an autograph request. Also, because the school naively published his phone number in the student directory, there is a constant ringing in the house. "I pick it up," says Mortensen, "and nobody says anything. They just want to hear Ty's voice."
Detmer's only escape has been his hunting, for which he is justifiably renowned. At the age of 18 he won the Texas Muy Grande contest, for bagging a 10-point deer with an antler spread of 25¾ inches. This season he was delighted to find that the football team's two off weeks happened to fall during deer-and elk-hunting seasons. It sounds like more folklore, but the story is that he shot his elk, about 600 pounds' worth, with a 30.06 slug right through the heart from a distance of four football fields. Another 400-yard game. The meat rests in a coffin freezer in the living room of Detmer's house, and parts of it will no doubt find their way into Bellini's bed.
After all, who knows how sophisticated these pranks will be by next season? And there will be a next season. Detmer has allowed himself no out on that; he's coming back, and not just to break the NCAA career passing-yardage record (he needs 426 yards to break the mark of 11,425 set by Todd Santos at San Diego State from 1984 to '87). "I committed to the school." Detmer explains. "They've made plans." He said this even before the team's unofficial Heisman ceremony, which was capped—inevitably, you might think—by four teammates hoisting him up and throwing him into the hotel pool. Detmer owes somebody, for sure.