Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cougar Quarter Year Report

With almost a quarter of the season in the books, BYU is still undefeated with tough wins against Utah State, St. Mary’s, Creighton, and a double overtime thriller against South Florida. While I am not surprised that BYU is undefeated, I am surprised at how BYU has done it – BYU has won those four games by an average of 5 points. Last year, when in crunch time, the Cougars depended too heavily on Jimmer to get baskets and either seal wins or come from behind for the win. This year? Against Utah State, Chris Collinsworth hit some big free throws and Abouo came up with a huge offensive board with BYU only up by 3 in the last 30 seconds, followed by Hartsock knocking down two more free throws. Against South Florida, Emery and Abouo hit 3’s to send the game into overtime, and Hartsock hit the game winner in the second overtime. St. Mary’s? Ok, so it was Jimmer that hit the game winner, but he has to do it sometimes, right? Against Creighton, Jimmer had a tough shooting night, but Brandon Davies’ 24 points and Kyle Collinsworth’s first college double-double helped BYU pull away in the second half.

If I had a choice, of course I would choose Jimmer to shoot the last shot, and who wouldn’t? However, BYU’s supporting cast has more than filled its role for the first month of the season. During the first few games of the season and pre-season, I realized how much BYU missed Tyler Haws. Haws would always guard a tough assignment defensively, run the break, and hit jumpers as well. Sure, he missed the shot last year at home against UNM that would have put us ahead in the last minute of the game, but I wanted him to take it with all the attention they were paying to Jimmer. The consistency Haws brought to the team has been hard to replace, but BYU has found it in the form of Collinsworth. No, really. Both Kyle and Chris Collinsworth do things that BYU misses from Tyler Haws. Even though he has been hurt recently, Chris can hit jumpers and gets rebounds. Kyle drives to the hoop (though his free throw shooting is definitely not Haws-esque – try 39.1%) and can run the point for the few minutes Jimmer goes out each game. Speaking of free throws, what has happened to last year’s top free throw shooting team in the NCAA? BYU, after a great year last year of 79%, has dropped to 65% this year. Against teams like SDSU, UNLV, UCLA, and Arizona, where we will almost definitely see a close game, BYU needs to hit their free throws.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Mild Case of Concern


After all the disappointment surrounding this year's football team there is always that ex-girl friend who will let you come over and make out at a moments notice. Yep, I’m talking BYU basketball. Jimmer’s back and he is no longer anonymous. He is the new media darling, the new Stephen Curry, and now he has a huge bulls eye on his back.

Barring some Tavernari/Bigelow like senior melt down, Jimmer is still going to get his. His range is redic, his crossover is un-white and his free throws are Mark Price-ish. No question about it, BYU will be good this year just because of Jimmer Fredette.

Yeah... Jimmer is kind of like that
However after watching the exhibition game with BYU-Hawaii last night I am a little concerned. The problem I see is one that the Cougars have been dealing with for a long time.

BYU basketball lacks a post scoring and defensive presence.

At some point in the season BYU will be on the road and people will be doubling Jimmer, Jackson may have an off night and the Cougs are not hitting from outside. Throw in some homer reffing and a loud opposing crowd and you will have a major scoring drought.

This is when you throw the ball down to your proverbial horse and get an easy bucket or some free throws. Problem is I don’t see that player on the depth chart for the cougars. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Davies, Hartsock and Collinsworth. They all have upside and certain skills. What they do not have is the ability to go get a basket in the post during crunch time. They also are lacking a major defensive presence. Say what you will about Chris Miles, (and I have said a lot under my breath) but he was a major defensive presence in the lane.

The way I see it this year BYU will live by the 3 and die by the 3. When Jackson and Jimmer shoot well it will open up lanes for easier baskets for the “bigs”. When the Cougars can get out and run they will have an advantage. Most of the season BYU's size weakness will not be a glaring deficiency, because most of thiee league doesn’t have menacing post bruisers to deal with.  But when BYU gets to the tournament and plays a team like a Michigan St. or a UConn it will become very apparent.

My brother and I have talked at length about how sad it was the Dave Rose was not able to get a 6'10 thug to just Millsap around for Jimmer's senior year. Unfortunately Rogers was the closest thing Rose could find and so far you can color me unimpressed.

How nice would it be if the Cougs could get this guy in a BYU jersey...
Anyway the outlook for the season is still good. BYU should win plenty of games and who knows maybe Davies or Collinsworth can surprise. Right now, I think they are the main variables of success for this team.

NOTE: I hope everyone stands and cheers as loud as they can for Steve Cleveland when he comes. He did a lot for the program and was really a great coach. Without him BYU wouldn’t have coach Rose or be where they are today. He truly is one of the good guys in sports and deserves our love and respect.

Steve Cleveland won 128 with the Cougars


Thursday, October 28, 2010

BYU to Vegas?

Don’t look now, but BYU could be headed to another Las Vegas bowl come December. After a rough start with some close losses (and some not so close), BYU is improving and is looking halfway decent for the second half of the season. With Air Force losing to SDSU a few weeks ago, BYU could end up tied with Air Force and SDSU for 3rd in the conference, and I would bet (but not in a Las Vegas way) that the Cougars could be headed there for the 6th straight year. The first year BYU went to the Las Vegas Bowl, they were 6-6. I wouldn't doubt it if BYU ended up with that same record. After victories against SDSU and Wyoming, BYU’s defense has been dominant against middle-class offenses and held its own against TCU as well. If you take out the offense giving away great field position through a fumble, interception, or shanked punt, SDSU, TCU, and Wyoming offenses scored an average or 11 points per game. I don’t care who you are, that is at least a decent defense. You know you are in trouble when your offense allows more points per game than your defense (over 15 points a game). BYU can make a bowl game this year, but these are a few keys on the road to Las Vegas.

Use Brian Kariya and Juice more steadily - after relying heavily on JJ Di Luigi for the first half of the season, it has become apparent that teams are keying on him in the running game. Last week against Wyoming, Kariya, Di Luigi, and Quezada all had a rushing average of greater than 4 yards. Yes, Di Luigi is quicker, but he is also riskier with his running, often trying to beat the offense to the corner. Kariya and Quezada won’t break out any huge runs (their longest runs this year have been 15 and 17 yards, respectively) but they will usually get you around 3-6 yards per rush and will not lose yardage, simply because they almost always fall forwards when they are tackled. Also, Kariya and Quezada are better blockers in the shotgun, so defenses have to stuff the middle to stop their run but also be ready for the pass to the receivers out wide.

Andrew Rich has to stay healthy - there are already enough defensive players hurt, but Rich is the backbone of the defense. He is essential in breaking up screen passes and hitting opposing RB’s at or behind the line of scrimmage. Rich already has some lingering injuries (one reason why he wears long sleeves at every game), but please, don’t get any more. I want to go to Vegas. For the bowl game.



Luke Ashworth can’t have any more drops - he was a key part of a few of BYU’s drives last game, but this year in earlier games he has had several drops. BYU’s TE’s are fickle, but they are also new to the system. Ashworth is an experienced receiver and has the ability to catch anything, we saw it all of last year. He isn’t incredibly quick or fast, but he was a consistent catcher. He can’t fall back into dropping passes. We know his ability, we saw it last year. Just keep doing what you did last week, Luke.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Too early for basketball?

As the BYU football team continues to disappoint this year, most Cougar fans can take solace that basketball season in now officially one week away... sort of. The Cougars will play in the annual Cougar tip-off game next Wednesday, October 27th. Following the scrimmage BYU will play two pre-season games against Laval and BYU-Hawaii before the regular season starts.

BYU's first regular season game will be Friday, November 12th against Fresno State which is of course coached by former BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. It will be Cleveland's first appearance in the Marriott Center since he left for Fresno at the end of the 2006 season. I am sure it will be a very warm homecoming for Coach Cleveland after all he did to help rebuild the program.


It's no doubt that how Jimmer goes so go the Cougars? Jimmer is the pre-season Mountain West Conference player of the year, and many pundits have him listed as one of the top five players in the nation. No question Jimmer will average over 20 points a game this year but what will really matter is how involved he can get his teammates. Jimmer is a proven scorer but what remains to be seen is if he can win big games doing other things besides putting the ball in the hoop. Jimmer will have a huge bulls eye on his back this year and it I am sure there will games where other teams will force to make other Cougars beat them.

While it is true that Jimmer was a scoring machine at the end of last year there were times when all BYU would do is sit around and watch the Jimmer show. You know exactly what play I'm talking about. When BYU tries to push the ball down the court.. after they don't get a transition bucket Jimmer slowly backs the ball out and tries to drive before time expires on the shot clock.


This is fun to watch when it works but it makes the BYU offense stagnant and very predictable (kind of like this year's football team). The bottom line is Jimmer needs to dominate this year if the Cougars want to have a decent year but he needs to do it within the flow of the game... without forcing anything. If he is having an off night or another team is daring other players to make shots other players need to step up. But no question about it, this is Jimmer's team and as Jimmer goes... so go the Cougars.

What do you think Jimmer needs to work on the most this year?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Max Hall on the Jim Rome Show

For those of you that missed it Jim Rome had former BYU QB Max Hall on his naitonally syndicated talk show.



Click here to follow the link to 1320 KFAN where you can here what Magic Max had to say about his first start in the NFL. Among other topics Rome asked Max about the BYU Utah rivalry and how his days at the Y helped prepare him for life as a professional QB.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cougars Land Their Man

Demarcus Harrison is listed as 6'5 190 lbs

BYU learned last week that their top recruit Demarcus Harrison plans on verbally commiting to the Cougars in November.  Demarcus is an LDS player out of South Carolina and it will only take one look at his highlight video to see that the kid can jump out of the building.


Click here to see his highlights. Make sure to check out around the 25 second mark when Harrison goes Vince Carter and jumps over a defender to dunk the ball.

Here is what ESPN.com says about Harrison:

Strengths:
DeMarcus is athletic and has a high major look about him. He's a good athlete that makes his presence felt shooting the basketball. He has deep range off the catch and can drive an out of control closeout. He can get to the rim on the break but prefers to spot up where he benefits from penetration. Harrison is ready to shoot on the catch and can get it off quickly. Because of his excellent size he can shoot over smaller defenders very easily. He has the potential to be a good defender and can guard multiple positions because of his size and quickness.

Weaknesses:
DeMarcus needs to be more active on the offensive glass and use his explosiveness to generate more scoring opportunities for his team. He must add strength but Harrison has game controlling offensive skills.

Bottom Line:
He looks like the prototypical player at the elite mid-major program. he has good upside and should be on the radar of a lot of high level teams. Harrison has all the tools to be a special player.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Offensive, defensive changes help BYU win

One thing is obvious after Saturday’s win against San Diego State - even though Jamie Hill was the only one fired after last week, it sent a message to the rest of the coaches. The actual talent level of the team this year is lower than it has been in recent years, but one thing is certain - Bronco will not put up with a sub-par coaching effort. It seemed that Hill was determined to run the defense he wanted to run, no matter who the personnel was. The offense, prior to this week, looked like it was trying to be a “BYU offense” with no regard to who was actually running it.

Saturday was a good day to be a Cougar

There was a considerable difference in the style and attitude of the offense and defense this last week, with defensively being the most noticeable. Before running out onto the field, the defense would huddle together, line up on the sideline, and then run out as a group. Sure, it may seem kind of cheesy or childish, but the defense definitely played more like a unit instead of a bunch of individuals. The corners did a better job seeing the run and coming up on it. CB’s Brian Logan, Brandon Bradley, and Corby Eason combined for 16.5 out of 30 total tackles for the Cougar defense (all of Logan's tackles were unassisted). Jray Galea’i (#18) would come on as an additional DB in 3rd and long situations. There was more pressure on the quarterback in passing situations, so even though we only had one safety with Andrew Rich coming up to guard a receiver man-to-man, that forced the QB into making quicker decisions, and as a result, inaccuracy, an interception, and at least 3 batted down balls at the line of scrimmage.

Offensively, RB’s were relied on more heavily and the O-line was better than ever (the two sacks they gave up weren‘t all their fault). We ran the ball 62 times. That's 13 more times than an Air Force team that scored 49 points this week. The blocking backs did a great job on passing and running plays. Heaps was stuck with only a few 3rd and long situations, and that led to him being more confident with 3rd down and short to go. And Matt Marshall, after throwing a strike on the 4th and 15 fake field goal, ran the option 4 or 5 times to gain a few yards on first down. A final point - if you saw Bronco’s post-game interview on Byucougars.com, he praised the defense and the running game. Not Jake Heaps. I think Heaps played well, but Bronco knows that Heaps can’t stop improving if we want to make it to a bowl game this year.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

QB Max Hall Gets the Nod



Cardinals coach Ken Wizenhunt has just announced that former BYU standout Max Hall will start for the Cardinals this Sunday against the defending Super Bowl Champions New Orleans Saints. Hall replaced Derek Anderson in the second half of last week's 41-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers. Hall went 8-14 for 82 yards with no INT's in his NFL debut.

Click here to see the article on ESPN.com.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bronco takes charge

So Jamie Hill is gone. Is anyone surprised? A year after Bronco gives up the defensive squad, we give up 29 points a game to (hold your breath) Nevada, Air Force, Florida State, and Utah State. Then again, the offense hasn’t been able to do much either. We scored a grand total of 43 points. That is enough points to win one game. That is saying something, something like other teams are tripling or quadrupling our score. So how does Bronco taking over the defensive side of the ball help?

Way to call a time out on the defense, Bronco

For one, Bronco is not afraid to be creative. He has been coaching the special teams for a few years now, and we have seen some trickery and deviance from the norm. Four years ago in the 2006 season, during the first four games or so, every kickoff the four return men would huddle, hand the ball off to one of the players, and then break and hope the opposing team followed the wrong person. Unfortunately, some players couldn’t figure out that the handoff needed to be backward and we got flagged on it several times, but it was really exciting for the fans and at least got the defense a little off its rocker.

This year on special teams, we have already seen a few gadgets. Some have worked, some haven’t. One that did work was the reverse return against Nevada. I still can’t figure out how it worked so well, simply because Hoffman had to run to the other side of the field, get the ball from Di Luigi, and then run back, but it was somehow effective and got us 10 or so more yards in field position for an offense searching for its identity. On the other hand, for one of the plays that didn’t work, Bronco sent in JD Falslev (I think - either way, it wasn’t Stephenson) to punt. Yeah, it ended up being a shank of a punt, but did you see the confusion in the Nevada punt return team? Guys were pointing and yelling and standing up out of position and everything. It made them think twice the next time we punted.

This year, I kind of wish we were cheering for this Bronco

I mean, really, can the defensive situation get any worse? Fuga is gone until next fall. Andrew Rich has been particularly injury prone this year. Pendleton left last game early with an injury. LB Jameson Frazier and S Stephen Thomas were out for all of last game in positions where we have struggled. Why not be a bit creative on defense? I know our secondary isn’t the best, but instead of dropping more guys in coverage, why not send someone like CB Brandon Bradley a few times on the weak side when he would be rushing at the QB’s blind side? Or send Rich in on a safety blitz? Did you see what defense we were playing when we had the interception against Nevada? It was a zone blitz, with the DT dropping back into coverage. Kapernick didn’t even see him (kind of hard when you realize most DT’s are 300 pounds or so). We have a total of 5 sacks this season so far, with none in the last two games. What’s stopping Bronco from taking chances to salvage a currently struggling squad?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Jaime Hill fired after Cougars lose to Utah State


It looks like BYU has found a scape goat, and his name is Jaime Hill. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall let go Hill after the Cougars embarrassing 31-16 loss to Utah State.

The Cougars are statistically one of the worst defensive teams in the nation right now. Ranking 119th (out of 121 schools) in defending the run.  Bronco says that he will take over the defense one year after handing the reigns to Coach Hill.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Romney Fuga Out For Season After Dirty Play



BYU has just announced that Cougar junior defensive tackle Romney Fuga will be out for the remainder of the year after an injury he suffered in last week's game against Nevada. Fuga was chop blocked from behind in what BYU officials are calling a very dirty play.

Click here to see the video of the play and Bronco's reaction.

This was clearly an illegal block with malicious intent by UNR's offensive lineman John Bender. Nevada has yet to issue a suspension on Bender. What type of punisment do you think Bender should get?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Austin Collie has career day in Colts win



Is Austin Collie Peyton Manning's new go-to receiver? He was on Sunday leading the Colts to a 27-13 win in Denver. In case you missed it Collie had 12 catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns. The former BYU standout was seemingly unstoppable when it mattered helping the Colts improve to 2-1 on the young season.

Here is a nice article on Collie from the Indy star.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Platform 9 3/4 vs. the 20 yard line

"But, Hagrid, there must be a mistake. This says Platform 9 3/4, there's no such thing. Is there?"


"Platform 9 and 3/4? Think you're being funny, do ya?"


Not that Harry Potter has anything to do with football, but like Platform 9 and three quarters, there is something magical about the 20 yard line. What is it? Whenever a team punts or kicks off, all the fans go crazy if the kicking team stops the runner at the 19 yard line. The only question is, does that actually affect the players too? Or is it really something to get that excited about? After doing a bit of research, it is apparent that the 20 yard line has been a magical point for BYU’s defense. Sure, if a team gets past the 20 yard line, that gives them better field position, but a lot of the drives that I will refer to that are “After the 20 yard line” are only in the mid 20’s or 30’s to start anyway.

After the 20 yard line – Opposing teams score on BYU’s defense 50% of the time. Out of 16 opportunities, there have been 7 touchdowns and one field goal (and two missed field goals).
On the 20 yard line – Opposing teams score on BYU’s defense 33% of the time. Out of 9 opportunities, there have been 2 touchdowns and one field goal.
Before the 20 yard line – Opposing teams score on BYU’s defense 27% of the time. Out of 11 opportunities, there have been 2 touchdowns and one field goal.

So what? Well, for starters, the one criticism that I have for Jake Heaps in the last game is to take a sack if the collapsing pocket has you blocked off in every direction except for one – backwards. I only played defensive line for one year, but as a defensive end, you just get more motivated to lay one on the quarterback when you see him moving backwards. Just take the sack, don’t try to do anything amazing, and let Riley Stephenson pin the opponent near the end zone. The punt/kick coverage has also been surprisingly good so far this year (on kickoffs, BYU leads the nation allowing less than 9 yards a return - stat from ESPN), so just hand it over to the defense and hope for the best. They have shown flashes of promise, so let’s see what they can do.


Yes, Jimmer, I am itching for basketball season too. Just wait your turn.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

There is always basketball

Amid the Cougars abysmal 1-2 start in football I have found solace in one name... Jimmer. While it is has been tough to watch the merry-go-round that has been the quarterback controversy it all might be worth it later this fall when BYU basketball tips off.

How could we forget Jimmer?

Andy Katz recently wrote a nice article about Dave Rose. You can view it by clicking here.

So, the next time J.J DiLuigi fumbles the ball, or O'neil Chambers gets caught on camera flipping the bird at an opposing player...  just think Jimmer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nelson out, Heaps thrown into the fire

Ouch. Sure, Riley Nelson is the only one that feels this one physically, but mentally it will hurt Jake Heaps a lot too. Even though there is a bit of anxiety when your spot is on the line, for a team player, there is a bit of comfort to knowing there is another solid player that can replace you if you are struggling and especially if you are a freshman. Also, simply watching Nelson play was of some benefit to Heaps I am sure. Yes, Nelson was more of a runner than a passer, but there were even instances against Washington when you could see Nelson settling into the pocket and looking for a pass to develop, and if it didn’t, simply knowing where to scramble for either more passing time or gain a few yards on the ground. I remember last year, after Nelson would come in for garbage time, the proceeding week Max Hall was noticeably willing to run a bit more instead of being stuck in the pocket when it collapsed.




BYU will miss Nelson's leadership on the field



Yes, Heaps is still a great player and will get some wins, but he will no longer benefit from watching Nelson play right in front of him. It seems like a dull ending to the two-quarterback battle that was going on, but now we know, and more importantly, the wide receivers know, who will be running the offense. I would have been shocked if Heaps didn’t start next year (regardless of whether Nelson got hurt this year or not), but he is starting about three quarters of a season earlier than I expected.


So, with that in mind, what can we expect? The good thing is this isn’t the first time a freshman quarterback has started for BYU. Sure, it is earlier in the season than the only instance of that to happen, but apparently Heaps has shown something that neither Jason Munns nor James Lark has. I don’t know what it is, but I am wondering if there will be any change in the offensive structure due to the solidity of the quarterback situation. Brian Kariya is by far the best blocking back, so perhaps that means JJ DiLuigi will get more time in the slot with Kariya getting more time in the backfield. So far, there hasn't been a consistently catching tight end, so that might mean more time for Ashworth, Jacobsen, Hoffman, and even Matt Marshall. But who knows? Let us know what you think.

Riley Nelson out for the season

Remember you heard it here first... unless of course you didn't

The news has just been reported that BYU QB Riley Nelson is out for the remainder of the season due to a shoulder injury he suffered during the Florida State game. Click here to view the article from ESPN.com... so I guess that solves the QB controversy.

Riley, is a great kid (I actually don't know that, I've never met the guy... that is just what every single pundit has said about him so I don't want to fall out of line) but he wasn't actually the best quarterback.  Granted, he could run, but I've seen Kardashians with better arms.

I bet Khloe has a hose for an arm...

Nelson's injury will finally allow Jake Heaps some time to develop... and he really needs it. Heaps has loads of potential and a cannon for an arm, but his youth definitely showed last game against FSU. Honestly,  Heaps reminded me of John Beck's first start in the NFL against the Steelers (for those of you that witnessed that game several years ago). He had no poise in the pocket, no mobility, and any time he ran into contact he fumbled the ball.

Heaps has a major upside, but it might just be time that Cougar fans chalked this season up to experience and look forward to a more mature team.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

BYU looks forward to Florida State

Not many people have a positive outlook on the game this weekend, and I don’t blame them. However, after Florida State got drubbed by Oklahoma this last weekend, it got me to do some research on a few variables in favor of BYU. Here is what I came up with in favor of BYU’s chances of winning Saturday:

The yearly slump of Christian Ponder – every year he has had a few consecutive games that he has struggled; 2008 – Ponder completed only 6 of 18 passes against Wake Forest (with three interceptions), and the next game he came out against Colorado and only completed 10 of 22 with one interception and no touchdowns. 2009 – After throwing two interceptions and barely getting by with a win against a struggling NC State team, he threw four interceptions the following week against Clemson. Last week, Ponder threw two interceptions and completed less than 40% of his passes. Let’s hope his yearly struggle continues.


Hopefully BYU can do to Christian Ponder what Oklahoma did last week

Florida State’s 47-17 loss to Oklahoma last week – the main breakdown that Florida State had last week against Oklahoma was its secondary. Five receivers had receptions of 19 or more yards and two of the four touchdown tosses by Oklahoma QB Landry Jones were more than 35 yards each. BYU quarterbacks could use a slightly weaker secondary to gain confidence again after a complete shut-down against Air Force. By the way, isn’t that what Air Force should do? Shut down other team’s air attacks? (That was probably the best joke I have made in months, so I hope you laughed)

BYU doesn’t lose two straight games – during the last four regular seasons, BYU has only lost two games in a row once. The only instance was in 2007 when Max Hall was a sophomore and Harvey Unga was a freshman, with back-to-back losses against #13 UCLA and then a 55-47 shootout at Tulsa. Unfortunately, we are in a similar situation as that year with a new starting quarterback and a new starting running back, but I am sure Bronco will say something motivating and we’ll at least start the game with a decent drive.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010










Because I spent most of my growing-up years in Singapore, I learned about many different Asian philosophies and theories. The most common one, Yin and Yang, refers to finding balance in two opposites. Literally, Yin means “negative” and Yang means “positive.” Well, that is pretty much what happened during the last two football games, from the players to my personal health in relation to the team. With the first two football games of the season in the books, the slightly younger Cougar squad has shown signs of promise, and simultaneously, signs of youth (go figure).

Against Washington, these are the main things that went well: a two-quarterback system, an effective secondary, no turnovers for the entire day (even though there were a few fumbles), productive second half adjustments (second half score: BYU 10, Washington 0), a strong offensive line, and a sweet Riley option.

Against Air Force, these are the main things that contributed to the loss: a two-quarterback frenzy with no flow at all, a few secondary breakdowns (although Andrew Rich led the team in tackles again), three turnovers (two lost fumbles, one interception), a total lack of second half adjustments, a struggling offensive line, and a weak option play because of a total of 10 receptions on the day. TEN RECEPTIONS FOR THE WHOLE GAME! I want to look into it, but that may be the least number of pass completions by a BYU offense ever.

I know that a portion of those will simply come with the development of players and the decision (if there will be one) of a quarterback, but the thing that shocked me the most was the lack of adjustment in the second half. Against Washington, BYU had some adjustments to make defensively. For the most part they were able to stop Washington, but a few hiccups led to two touchdowns and a field goal by the end of the first half. In the second half, BYU’s defense was up for the challenge. In the three drives Washington had in the 3rd quarter, they never got past their own 43 yard line. In the fourth quarter, the defense came up with the only sack of the game and made two critical fourth down deflections. On one of those, my hat goes off to Brian Logan. He gave up practically a foot to Jermaine Kearse, but he fought around Kearse on a pass to the end zone on fourth down to knock the ball incomplete.

However, against Air Force in the second half, BYU had two drives that were 5 plays, two drives that were 7 plays, and one 9 play drive. Playing against Air Force’s triple option defense is hard work. Just try to defend it with four manual players on an X-Box. Then think what it’s like for those that are actually in the game. The offense wasn’t able to give the defense enough time to rest and regroup, and as a result, Air Force’s offense ran all over the field (literally).


Try filling up these couches and then stopping the Air Force option on this screen



Even though this game was very difficult to watch, my favorite moment occurred at about halfway through the third quarter when things went from bad to frustrating. After an incomplete pass from Riley Nelson to Luke Ashworth way too far out of bounds to be worth anything, an Air Force cornerback still bumped up against Ashworth to make sure he was out of bounds, and Ashworth promptly threw him over the BYU bench. I can’t find a link for it, but if anyone can find that, please, show it to me. I took that as a really good sign for the team, showing that things weren’t going how they wanted and they were frustrated like crazy. Now, all we can do is look to this weekend and hope that we play against Florida State like we played against Oklahoma last season. Maybe we’ll win 47-17 or something.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Independence Day

In this metaphor BYU is the spaceship and the Mountain West is the White House

The Facts:

It is looking more and more like BYU will blast their Mountain West compadres in football and go at it Notre Dame style as an independent. This means one of these next few days might be always remembered by Cougar nation as their very own "Independence Day".  The decision has yet to be confirmed by BYU but according to this article on ESPN.com the Cougars will announce their decision by the end of the week. The article also states that BYU will look to join the WAC in all other sports, and in turn BYU will play four WAC teams in football each year.

Questions and Answers:

Q.) Won't playing four WAC teams still be a pretty soft schedule?

A.) Some sources are saying that Boise State will leave the Mt. West and head back to the WAC without penalty. If that is the case then BYU could play Boise every year, and the Cougars were already playing Utah State which leaves two WAC teams that BYU would need to schedule. They could fill those games with patsies, like San Jose State, or they could play tougher teams like Nevada or Fresno State.

Q.) Will BYU have a hard time scheduling top teams?

A.) BYU has shown in football that they are capable of scheduling home and home games with tough teams. Programs like Florida State, Notre Dame, USC, to name a few, have all put BYU on their schedule. If the past is any indication, with the flexibility of being an independent the Cougars should be able to put at least three of four good teams on their schedule every year. It is possible that BYU and Notre Dame could set something up where they could play each year, which would help both schools.

BYU vs Notre Dame has happened before and a yearly match up would benefit both schools
Q.) Won't the move to the WAC have a negative effect on the basketball program?

A.) Gonzaga has proved to the college basketball world league play isn't a huge deal. In fact, in some cases being in a weak conference allows teams to get an automatic bid to the big dance every year.

I know what most Cougar fans are saying,  "What's an... auto...matic... bid?" It feels like BYU hasn't had an automatic bid since the Danny Ainge days (an obvious exaggeration, but still it has been forever). One of the main reasons why BYU hasn't earned an automatic bid is because the MWC tournament is played on UNLV's home floor and the Rebels have simply owned the Cougars in Vegas.

Sick of seeing this every year? A move to the WAC might actually help BYU basketball
Plus, if you have grown to love your yearly trip to Vegas for the tourney you are in luck because that is where the WAC will be holding their tournament starting next year the WAC will be playing just down the block, in the Orleans Center.  Sure BYU will miss playing a few teams but do you honestly think UNLV or San Diego State won't want to schedule BYU?

In the end, there really aren't many negatives. The BYU Sports Blog looks forward to the next few days when BYU will announce its Independence. What other questions or concerns do you have about BYU going idependent?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Two questions for the 2010 season

Written by David Bywater

1) Should BYU be ranked?

BYU is ranked 28th in the preseason poll. There is definitely not as much excitement about football season on campus this year as there was last year. However, I see this as a real positive for the team. BYU seems to do better when playing the underdog role. Last year, BYU wasn't expected to come close to competing with Oklahoma in their season opener. No one gave the Cougars a chance with a shaky secondary going against the Heisman trophy winner of a year before. But, BYU won a 14-13 nail biter.

Then (despite BYU being ranked higher) Oregon State was expected to come back from their Pac-10 finale loss against Oregon and beat the Cougars in the Las Vegas Bowl. I will never forget Jordan Pendleton turfing Jaquizz Rodgers in the first quarter after he fumbled the ball on a short screen pass. After Pendleton didn't go for the ball and just hit Rodgers, I thought, THE BALL IS JUST SITTING THERE! PICK IT UP! and promptly Matt Bauman scooped up the ball for the score. It was one of those I-will-restore-my-pride-and-take-away-yours kind of a play.



On the other hand, after BYU rose to be ranked 7th in the nation, they got drilled by a good but not a great Florida State team. A month later, the BYU-TCU matchup was so highly anticipated that College Game Day even showed up outside LaVell Edwards stadium for pre-game. However, it ended with a bitterly similar result. A 31 point loss in front of the home crowd wasn’t what I was looking for. Basically, BYU doesn’t do well with high expectations (see also: Quest for Perfection t-shirts).

On a lighter note…


And the big one…

2) Who will be BYU’s quarterback on September 4?

I said it before, and I will say it again – I still think Riley Nelson should be the starting quarterback this year. A lot has been said on both ends, but I found a few other reasons why Nelson should start.
A lot of people have said that running quarterbacks don’t do well at BYU. Who was the last quarterback on the Heisman trophy watch list besides Max Hall (who was only there for about a week) and John Beck? That would be Brandon Doman, a running quarterback. Doman led BYU to a 13-2 record as a starter, including 14 points in three minutes to pull off a victory against Utah for LaVell’s last victory. He led the BYU offense to about 44 points/game in those starts. Max Hall? 33 points. John Beck? 32 points.



Nelson certainly is not Brandon Doman and he will need one of the current running backs to step up, but if he can get some sort of an option game going, BYU’s offense could be surprisingly dangerous. As for the passing game, experienced
WR’s would also make up for some of Nelson’s mistakes, so I could see the BYU offense being very balanced.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Can Riley Nelson Punt?

Who couldn't punt the ball at least 20 yards...?


Imagine this... BYU is facing a 4th down and 2 on their opponent's 40. Too far for a field goal... and a punt will likely bounce into the end zone putting the ball on the 20. This happens all the time throughout the year. What if in this 4th and short situation the Cougars sent Riley Nelson on the field. Nelson could go out, try to bark and get the opposing team to jump offside, if that doesn't work he hikes the ball, looks for something open, worse case scenario he simply rolls to his left and boots the ball 20... maybe 30 yards.

More often than not I am guessing that he will find something open, and with his rushing ability he might just be able to scramble for two yards.  This will help the Cougars in so many ways. Anytime you can put a wrinkle in an offense it causes other teams to have to prepare to cover more options. This is why you want a team that is balanced, so an opponent can't just prepare to shut down one facet of your game. If Riley is able to punt, every time the Cougars send him out on 4th down the other team has to have it in the back of their mind that he might not actually punt. Thus weakening their punt return if he does punt... thus strengthening the Cougars overall game, and giving them more options.

For those of you nay-sayers out there living in Horseville (get it, becasue a horse goes "nay"... rough joke) you might wonder if Riley can punt. Well when I look at it, even I can punt the ball 20 yards and I am not a college athlete like Nelson... and I don't spend all day practicing. Give Nelson a little practice and I am sure someone with his skills will at least be able to punt the ball 30 yards come game time.  Just one more reason why I am excited for this years' team.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Good & The Bad for 2010

 Written by David Bywater

With the beginning of BYU's football season inching closer it seems most people aren’t quite as excited for this season as they have been in years past...and for good reason. The Cougars starting quarterback and running back from last year’s 11-2 team are gone. So what is there to look forward to this year? After doing a bit of research, I have a few good things and bad things for this year, including some specifics for game one against Washington.

The Good: During the last few years, BYU quarterbacks have had good starts to the season. The last three years, Max Hall had impressive first games against Oklahoma, Northern Iowa, and Arizona.

The Bad: Perhaps the next BYU quarterback could have a good start if the Cougars knew who their next quarterback was. Personally, I think it should be Riley Nelson. For those of you that think he doesn’t have a winning pedigree because of his record at Utah State, remember who he played for. Utah State. Jason (not John) Beck beat them with BYU 38-0 in 2007.

The Good: BYU has dealt well with Heisman hopeful quarterbacks before (see Sam Bradford, err… Mr. Clawson). So they should be fully prepared for Mr. Jake Locker.

The Bad: BYU has been known to stuggle with quarterbacks that have the ability to run. The most recent being Christian Ponder who ran for 77 yards last year against the Cougs in Provo, adding a touchdown in the 54-28 beat down (which makes me sick every time I think of it). Jake Locker had 4 games last year with 50 or more yards. He also scored 7 rushing touchdowns in 12 games in 2009 for the Huskies. The last time BYU faced Locker in 2008 the Cougars made him look like a Heisman contender before they were bailed out by a celebration penalty.
 

This rule has to be changed


The Good: Whoever BYU chooses as a signal caller, they will be helped by a solid wide receiveing core. This year, it will be anchored by McKay Jacobson and Luke Ashworth.

The Bad: O’Neill Chambers will probably be returning punts. I have never seen him call for a fair-catch, and yet I have seen him fumble multiple times. While the man does have more confidence than a heavyweight boxer and a politician combined, he has yet to prove that he can provide any type of stability as a punt returner. Yes, he has shown flashes of greatness, but if he really wants to help the Cougars win he must become more sure handed and be willing to settle for a fair-catch every now and then.

The Good: BYU always has good linebackers. I don't really know how they do it but every year BYU seems to reload with ease in their LB group. Also, preseason all-MWC safety Andrew Rich will plug up a lot of holes.

The Bad: Andrew Rich will have his hands full... maybe even too full because of one reason: cornerbacks, cornerbacks, cornerbacks. Has BYU ever had a CB All-American, much less on the MWC first team? EVER?

The Good: ESPN had offensive Lineman Matt Reynolds as the third best player on all of the non-automatic qualifying teams... he is that good.

The Bad: Who will replace Harvey Unga? JJ Di Luigi was the second highest rusher on the team last year, but he cannot, and will not be a feature back. I don’t feel like his IQ is too hot either. I went to my first (and last) pep rally for the team last year, and after someone asked him a question, he thought for a few long seconds, and then answered “I don’t know” and then walked away. Also, what was with his little Irish jig or whatever the heck it was after he scored a touchdown last year and got a penalty for? Really?

The Good: Bronco will have a great halftime speech. He is one of the only coaches that I don’t laugh at when he speaks, mostly because doesn’t stutter.

Feel free to rebut or support anything or everything I have said. Also, let’s go support our Cougars at the open practices in the coming weeks. See the times and places on the BYU football website.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Forget the Whales... Save the Rivalry


Written by J.D Sheppard

As a die-hard BYU fan... this is hard for me to admit... BYU needs the University of Utah. Allow me to explain.

Now that Utah has left for greener pastures in the Pac 10 we are all wondering what will happen to our sacred rivalry with the team up north.  Will the game that has been the highlight of November (eclipsing Thanksgiving) be over or only played once every other year?  Maybe it will be played in September every year, and if so, how will that change the game?  Although I don’t know how, or even if it will be played in the future, I am going to recount some of the more memorable rivalry games between BYU and the U in the last decade.

We will start in 2001, the very first BYU-Utah game that I ever went to.  It was magical.  There was something about the wave of blue and white that made me feel like I was a part of something special, something beyond football.  I felt that was on the right side, I was a fan of the greatest football team that ever played the game.  I felt indestructible, nothing was going to ruin this great day.  Then, with doubt blanketing the stadium and the cougars trailing 21-10 with only 3:30 left, Brandon Doman and Luke Staley took me on a roller coaster ride that would start my love/hate relationship with this game.

Look at the calves on Luke

The next game I attended was in 2003. The men in my family drove down to Provo with dark threatening skies, and hope that this year would be just like my last visit to Provo.  I was ready for a feast of great football, just to sit through the worst football game I have ever watched… my beloved Cougars shutout 3 to zip.

In 2005-2007 I was on my mission in Spain. Near the end of my mission I was put with a companion who was a die-hard Ute fan… which made for a pretty miserable transfer. One day, after a zone-conference, my mission president called my companion and me into his office and showed us the final play where John Beck pulled a miracle out of his hat and found a wide-open Jonny Harline in the end-zone. I was grinning ear to ear for the rest of  the day but my companion didn’t exactly share in my jubilation.

No, I will not put "Harline is still open" as a caption

In 2007 I found out that we were having Thanksgiving at my brother’s house in Arizona.  After begging him to get an upgrade in his cable package so that we could watch the game, we sat and watched as the Cougars trailed 10-9 and faced what seemed like in insurmountable 4th and 18. As we all know, magic happened and Max Hall threw a 49 yard bomb to Austin Collie before Harvey Unga put the nail in the 17-10 BYU victory...the emotional roller coaster was back.


Last Year, wow what a ride. It almost seemed like Max was toying with me... before he delivered a strike to Andrew George. All I will say is that rushing the field after that game was one of the greatest memories I have as a Cougar fan.



No game has ever made me feel the way the BYU Utah game makes me feel.  No game has ever sent me so high and so low so many times, and isn’t that why we watch sports?  Granted, watching BYU beat Oklahoma last year was spectacular, but it didn’t have the history behind it, or the bragging rights to my friends and in-laws. It didn't have Max’s comments after the game, and it didn’t have the buildup of every store, radio station, and person in UtahEmotions are what make sports great, and no game makes me feel more emotion than the rivalry game.  So yes, BYU needs Utah, but to be fair...Utah needs BYU as well.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Just like Sam Bradford... we could use a hand


If you are looking for a platform to vent your Cougar excitement, you have come to the right place. We could use a hand keeping the blog interesting so if you have a good idea, or you just want to start writing for us, email us at thebyusportsblog@gmail.com. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Ha Ha Ha Haka


Written by Jarond Suman

Growing up in southern CA we enjoyed the Polynesian entertainment provided for us by the Samoan and Tongan branches in our church. Whether it was the Haka, Tahitian dancing or even an occasional fire dancing, it was always entertaining. Gorgeous Polynesian women swayed their hips and the oiled up men flexed their gigantic muscles. For lack of a better term, it was always really cool when the POLYNESIANS “Haka’ed”.  Let me again emphasize that I enjoy when POLYNESIANS do the Haka. In no way do I enjoy seeing an uncoordinated white dude, in his BYU football uniform, sticking his tongue out doing the Haka. 

BYU football is sacred to me, holy ground if you will (and you will). I get defensive when others mock the BYU football program but, how in the swear word can I defend a football team that is 80% Caucasian doing the Haka? --I can’t and I won’t. Maybe white boys should start crip walking or better yet, maybe we should make the very few and proud African Americans on the football team do a river dance before the game? Sounds kinda silly right? I guess some things just don't go well together like, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, or a 90 year old woman with a tramp stamp... or a few laxatives chased down with an ambien—bad idea. Trust me on that one. 
Yikes

Let me say this, I have no problem with the Polynesian football players doing the Haka because when they do it, it looks completely natural.
 
I will now allow myself to write from the superstitious part of my brain. As anti pre-game Haka as I am it seemed the more white boys that did the pre-game Haka, the more games BYU  has won every year. Take John Beck for example, he refused to do the Haka at the beginning of his junior season but, as the season continued he was leading the team in the pre game dance ritual. I think BYU is in a catch 22 now because doing the Haka has only gotten them to the Vegas Bowl every year for the 5 past years, but it has given them winning seasons. Do they ditch the pre-game dance this season, hope to go undefeated and get invited somewhere bigger and badder than Vegas? Or do they Hak’ it up and hope for the best????

If you look strictly at the facts, I feel I have a valid argument. 5 years of Haka has translated into 5 Las Vegas Bowls. Ultimately my disdain for posers will beat up my belief in leprechauns any day.
So BYU football players, if you feel you need to dance to get to a big dance... please pop, lock, crunk, spin, kick, worm, windmill or chant, but oh please…say goodnight to the Haka.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Decision 2010

Having two talented quarterbacks to choose from is a good problem to have

Here it is, decision 2010... in this post I will make the decision for Bronco on who his starting QB will be for the 2010 season. Unfortunately, unlike Lebron's "Decision 2010" I couldn't get Jim Grey to host so I will just have to pick Bronco's mind without the sleazy-money grubbing talk show host.

Obviously, Bronco has a big decision to make. On the one hand he can go with the reliable Riley Nelson. Nelson can run the ball, he can take a hit, and he has a decent arm. Nelson has college experience, something a young BYU team sorely needs. Or, Bronco can go with the true freshman Jake Heaps. Jake might be a bit of a gamble to start right away but the kid is talented enough that once he gets some experience he is going to be a legit college QB. Basically, Bronco is in a tighter spot than George Clooney in "O Brother, Where art Thou"...

Damn... we're in a tight spot

That being said, having to choose between two talented quarterbacks is a good problem to have.  So after all this "Team Jake", "Team Riley" stuff what would my decision be? Who would I choose if I was the brain resting under Bronco's inexplicably blond head? Who would I choose between Heaps and Nelson... I know this might sound like I am taking the easy way out, but I would choose them both. Yeah, that's right, start and play both of them.

I know what most of you are going to say, that a two quarterback system never works especially at BYU. The last time the Cougars ran a two quarterback system was with Lance Pendleton and Bret Engamann in the 2002 season and that was a disaster (they finished 5-7).  But that was only because neither Pendleton or Engamann knew their role. They were both competing for the starting spot. A perfect example of a how a two quarterback system works was when Urban Myer won a national championship with the Florida Gators in 2006 by playing both Chris Leak and Tim Tebow at quarterback. 

Unlike Engamann and Pendleton, Leak and Tebow knew their roles that year... one of the many reasons why Urban Myer has had more success than Gary Crowton as a head coach. In 2006, Leak was the passer because he had a better arm and the left handed Tebow was a running QB, used in third down situations and in the red zone. Do Leak's and Tebow's strengths sound familiar...? Why not use Jake Heaps as the passing quarterback and Riley Nelson as the running quarterback? As long as both Heaps and Nelson know their roles it could definitely work.

Can Riley Nelson be the next Tim Tebow...? Probably not, but he definetly has similar strengths


This two quarterback system would help Heaps develop and learn while still not putting all the pressure on the freshman's shoulders. It would also allow Nelson a chance to earn the spot and if he is considerably better than Heaps then he could just take over at QB.

In the end, Cougar nation can rest easy knowing that they have a proven coach in Bronco Mendenhall making the decision. What Bronco has done since he as taken over for Gary Crowton has been amazing. The man simply wins games. With a winner like Bronco at the helm, whatever he should decide is probably a more informed, intelligent choice than mine would be... but I know how I would choose.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Team Riley

Though Nelson does have experience as a starter with Utah State in 2006, his record was a modest 1-7 with the Aggies

Pros:

-Nelson started seven games with Utah State in 2006 before leaving for a LDS mission in Spain so Riley actually has experience as a starter in NCAA football.
-In that seven game span with the Aggies Nelson:

-Threw for 925 yds
-Rushed for 277 yds (second best on the team that year)
-Became the first QB to win his first career start for the Aggies since 1992

-Nelson also took some snaps behind Max Hall last year for the Cougars going 7 for 10 for 99 yds. He also added one rushing TD and had no INT's.
-Nelson has been in the system longer than Heaps.
-Riley has proven that he can run the ball and with Harvey Unga gone he could be the running threat that will provide balance in BYU's offense.

Riley Nelson being carried off the field after he led Utah State to a 13-12 win over Fresno State in 2006


Cons:

-While it is true that Nelson does have some starting experience he also has a very poor record as a starter, a modest 1-7 record with Utah State in 2006.
-Though he had 7 TD's in 2006 he also threw 6 INT's.
-Nelson has a significantly weaker arm than Heaps and aside from Steve Young, run happy quarterbacks have never flourished at the Y.
-Nelson and Heaps seem to be on the same level (which is why it is taking Bronco so long to make a decision) and if that is the case BYU would be better suited in the long run in giving the spot to the younger Heaps.

Summary:

Those on "Team Riley" could easily point to the fact that Heaps has no college game experience and that BYU has never had a true freshman signal caller start on opening day.  With no Harvey Unga it could be nice to have someone with a little experience under their belt on the offense. Nelson is talented... as a runner. He showed last year that he can come in games and contribute as a running quarterback. BYU typically does not preform well with running quarterbacks, just ask Lance Pendelton.

BYU is known as quarterback U for a reason, they pass the ball. The Cougar system is set up to run short little "dink and dunk" passes and unless they have a quarterback that can execute those passes with percision and keep defenses honest by going deep occasionaly, those short passes will not be open. If Bronco decides to start Nelson, he will certainly need to change a few things with the way the Cougars run their offense. Should he change his offense and base it around a more "run-happy" quarterback in Riley Nelson? Or should he go with tradition and keep BYU a "pass first" team? Tommorow I will put myself in Bronco's seat and make the decision...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Team Jake or Team Riley?

Basically the worst movie ever


For those of you that have a female to impress you might understand the title "Team Jake or Team Riley". I have to admit that I fell victim to watching the third Twilight movie last week with my wife... although if I am ever confronted I will probably just deny it, or if I am really pressed I will just say that I saw it on an airplane.

As it relates to BYU football there is a real-life battle going on between Jake Heaps and Riley Nelson. This battle has a little less to do with who gets to fight vampires (at least I think that is what was going on in the movie) and more to do with who gets to lead the BYU football team this fall. This feature, "Team Jake or Team Riley", will be a three part series. After I wrap it up I will announce my own starter. Today we will look at Jake Heaps AKA "Team Jake".

Team Jake


Pros:

The kid was legit in high school. His senior year at Skyline high Heaps:
 -Averaged 227 yds a game
 -Threw 45 TD's and only 7 INT's
 -Threw for over 3,000 yds
 -Led his team to a state Championship
 (click here to see his 2009 highlights)

-Heaps is a known competitor and a much like his quarterback coach Brandon Doman, he is a gamer. All he did in high school was win games going 40-2 as a starter and leading Skyline to three consecutive state titles in his tenure. 
-He was listed among the top five Q.B's in most high school scouting lists and some scouts had Heaps listed as the number one overall recruit coming out of high school.
-Scouts have noted that Jake's strengths are that he has an above average arm and has excellent footwork.
-At 6'2 225 lbs Heaps has the quintessential BYU quarterback body... and I say that in a completely heterosexual way.

Cons:

-As a true freshman Heaps has NO college game-time experience, and has not played a single down in the NCAA.
-Heaps is not as mobile as Riley Nelson and without a proven running game the Cougars will certainly struggle on the ground.
-While it is true that Heaps was named as one of the best QB's coming out of high school, 2009 was known as a fairly weak QB class.
-BYU has never had a true freshman do exceedingly well in his first year.




Summary:

Looking at Cougar history, BYU has never handed the season-opening signal-calling reins to a freshman--whether a true freshman straight out of high school, a redshirt freshman, or a return missionary (with or without a redshirt season).
In fact, since 1972 (when freshman eligibility was restored by the NCAA), only four BYU rookies have ever started a game for the Cougars (year, first start, freshman eligibility):

Ty Detmer (1988, 8th game of the season, RS)
Drew Miller (1997, 8th game of the season, HS)
Matt Berry (2002, 7th game of the season, RS/RM)
John Beck (2003, 4th game of the season, RM)

Of the four QB's listed above, only Ty Detmer and John Beck ended their careers as starters. It could be said that obviously Miller and Berry just didn't have what it takes to play College football... or another way to look at it is they were rushed into playing. Both Miller and Berry were very highly recruited out of high school. Heaps might be a little more hyped, but not by much. One could argue that had Miller and Berry been given more time to learn the system and grow up a little that they could have had great careers as a Cougar.

Ty Detmer was arguably the best true freshman to ever start at BYU and even he didn't get the nod until 8 games in

Overall Heaps is going to be a player, I'm just not sure if it will be this year. Let me state that I really believe that Heaps will be special, maybe even a Heisman contender by his senior year. That being said, Heaps is a TRUE FRESHMAN and he might just need some time to cultivate his skills. If BYU does start Heaps they are not necessarily waving the white flag for 2010 but history would suggest that the Cougars would certainly experience some growing pains this year. So, would it be worth it for Bronco to start the kid knowing that he will have his struggles this year but that it might pay off in the long run?