December 30, 2005John
A few thoughts from my view of the game:
Plaisted and Malaman looked great. They gave a pretty nice presence down low and got their hands on a lot of blocked shots and changed people’s shots a bunch of times. Derek Dawes played some decent clean up minutes, but he couldn’t elevate like Plaisted and Malaman in order to adjust people’s shots. That’s going to be great going into Conference games. Let’s hope that their smaller bodies can withstand the next 16 games.
The rotation of guards Emery, Balderson, Broadus, Cummard and Reichner is a great mix of talent. I was surprised how Rose was able to continue inserting fresh guards that played some quality minutes. Cummard looks a little frail, but it was amazing how his lanky body was able to keep some free balls alive and keep posession of the ball.
I was most disappointed with BYU’s ability to score on the break. A lot of POOR decisions were made on the break which resulted in a lot of missed shots. They’ve got to clean that up and execute on the break better.
December 28, 2005John
Just an idea, but I think it would be pretty cool if BYU athletics opened up some time in Bronco’s schedule(even in the off season) for some BYU fans(probably ones who contribute) to some time with Bronco or the other coaches to watch film and have them break down another team or missed assignments on defense. I’d be willing to chip in some money for this experience and even happy to sign some sort of agreement to not release the information I learn. Although from what I hear that shouldn’t be necessary because there really aren’t that many secrets when someone experienced watches film they can figure most of it out. This would be cool for other sports too.
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As we take a look back at the cougars football season it is difficult to look at the final 6-6 record. 7-5 would have looked so much better, but it was not to be. Either way, I think everyone around the program can feel a different energy. I still feel that Crowton should have been given another year considering the recruiting cycle, but that’s a subject for a different post. There is a good feeling around the BYU program that has the sense of a winning team with a winning attitude and a winning ethic. It’s a feeling that can’t be quantified in wins and losses this first year.
There’s also a lot of good to look at beyond the record. Finishing second in the Mountain West Conference despite being picked to finish 6th. The best part of this finish is that we were ahead of Utah. What more could a cougar fan want(besides a win against Utah and a bowl win). Also, if you look at the 2 overtime loses against TCU and Utah that could have been turned the other way and left BYU the Mountain West Conference Champ. Does that make them any better of a team? No, and I would argue that the 2 overtime losses is going to help shape and define the team giving them that sour taste next year when they meat TCU and Utah with John Beck, Johnny Harline and Curtis Brown all ready to blow it out their senior year.
I’m highlighting the good points of the past season, because I’m a cougar fan. That’s what this boards about. I’m not afraid of considering other points, but don’t be surprised if every piece of bad news becomes a Pollyanna positive on this board.
December 27, 2005John
USU was a poor showing for BYU, but it seemed to have exposed a weakness that BYU is going to find a thorn all conference season long. Every opponent in the MWC is going to exploit BYU’s big men with their superior big men. I wish I could say this wasn’t the case, but nothing but Hafa was able to handle the Mountain West Conference’s big men.
I don’t think we’re going to learn much against the last 2 BYU opponents either. They seem like mediocre opponents. At least Eastern Washington played Gonzaga tough, but I don’t think BYU’s going to earn much by beating Eastern Washington. The NCAA tournament committee isn’t going to give BYU extra points for beating Eastern Washington. However, if they can reach 20 wins again then that will look pretty nice and help BYU return to March Madness.
December 26, 2005John
After Todd Watkins great performance in the Las Vegas Bowl it begs the question if he is going to be an NFL prospect. I must admit that I have no perspective on what the NFL likes and quite frankly I don’t think the NFL really knows what’s going to make it either after you see the likes of Tom Brady, Steve Young and Kurt Warner winning MVP’s after horrible draft picks(or non-existent ones). I’ll admit here that I really thought that last year’s kicker Matt Payne would be a sure draft pick and somehow I don’t think he ever even got picked up as a free agent. With all the horrible kickers I’ve seen in the NFL I’m still not sure why someone hasn’t picked him up.
Back to Watkins, I think everyone would agree that he has NFL talent and speed. The biggest question is why he couldn’t produce in his numbers this year. His Junior year definitely showed some promise, but his senior year he was third on the team with catches. Ok, Johnny Harline is definitely going to the NFL if he stays healthy, but Watkins should never be behind another receiver. He should have demanded the ball.
I blame the offense on why he didn’t get the numbers. All the short passes or nearly running play passes to Brown and Tahi really seem to hurt Watkins style of play. The rest I give to John Beck on probably looking him off a few times for the sure thing short passes. Either way Todd still should have done something to get the ball. What’s the difference between Reno Mahe and Todd Watkins. Reno always seemed to get the ball even though everyone knew he was our top threat. Maybe Todd should have expanded his game to allow him to get those short passes.
I really don’t know what the NFL will do, but I can’t imagine most NFL teams would want to pass up on the talent and play making ability of Todd. I would love to watch him develop with NFL coaching and NFL skill players where he isn’t the number one receiver, but can create some great plays much like Kevin Curtis from Utah State is doing for the Rams.
In fact, why didn’t BYU use Watkins speed like the Rams have done with Curtis on the end around.
Best of Luck Todd!! Your highlights were great to watch.
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I think it is great that Utah made it to a Bowl game and has such a formidable challenge. Too bad just like BYU’s loss to Cal Utah’s loss to Georgia Tech isn’t going to do anything to help with the Mountain West Conference’s hopes of cracking the BCS.
Thankfully in the mind of a BYU fan Utah playing in a bowl game is a complete WIN WIN. If they win the bowl game then it will help raise the position of the Mountain West Conference which could eventually put more money in the pockets of BYU. More importantly, if they lose then it is a win for BYU fans that just love to see Utah lose.
“We’re going to win championships now” was the quote in the Sports Illustrated article about his $700,000 hiring. I’m not sure if he’s referring to himself with all that money or the San Diego State Team. He must not have been around the Mountain West Conference that long. Maybe the Oklahoma mentality is still on his mind. Does he realize what he’s doing to himself. I guess if that’s what you have to say to take home a big pay day I’d be willing to say it too.
Yes, I’ll eat crow if San Diego State wins the Mountain West Conference next year. I’m sure I don’t have to worry about that.
December 22, 2005John
Vegas Bowl: Cal 35, BYU 28
I must admit that I was wrong on my prediction which was certainly influenced by my bias to BYU.
However, I do want to point out my observation on turnovers being key Which was definitely the case since BYU had 0 and lost while Cal had 2 and won. Pretty significant difference in the game.
The thing I missed most in my commentary was the effect that penalties would play in the game. How could a Bronco Mendenhall led offense commit so many penalties. Get your heads in the game! Penalties in the first half changed the entire complexity of the game. I don’t plan on mentioning penalties being a problem for a while now. Bronco should make sure of that.
I think it should be against the rules that BYU have a basketball game and a football game on the same evening. It’s just more than a heart can really handle. Now along with going to visit my counselor I think I might need to see a cardiologist.
BYU’s had horrible success against backup quarterbacks. Today in the Las Vegas bowl against Cal we are facing yet another backup quarterback. I’m not sure if I think BYU’s going to redeem themselves from the backup quarterback syndrome because I want them to or because they are. The reality is that they should be able to take care of business. Here’s my 2 philosophies:
1. BYU’s defense is founded on excellent preparation for an opponent and so when it sees a new quarterback that it can’t prepare for then they flop.
2. BYU’s defense is such a different style that a new quarterback should have tons of problems adapting and finding its weaknesses.
Let’s hope the second one is true.