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.