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Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Highlights: Brad Clark

I found these highlights for Brad Clark not too long ago. He played for BYU from 1989-92. Several of these highlights come from twenty years ago (1991), including the punt return for a touchdown versus UTEP.

Brad Clark Highlights

Enjoy!

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday Trivia: The last time a BYU player was not drafted

The correct answer to the last trivia question "Who are the two BYU quarterbacks to have achieved a single season TD to interception ratio better than 4:1?" is Jim McMahon and Brandon Doman. McMahon had 30 TD passes and just 7 interceptions in 1981 for a 4.29:1 ratio. Doman had 33 TD passes and 8 interceptions in 2001 to barely eclipse John Beck with a 4.125:1 ratio.

On to this week's question. BYU has consistently had players drafted in the annual NFL draft. It is rare that a draft is completed without at least one Cougar having his name called. Therefore, this week’s trivia question asks:
What year was the last year that zero former BYU players were drafted by the NFL?
Leave your answer in the comments section. Come back next week when the answer is revealed and a new trivia question is asked.

More trivia questions can be found on the Trivia page.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Brigham Young Cougars to play in 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl

The Brigham Young Cougars have reached an agreement with the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl to be on of the game's two participants, if BYU is bowl eligible, but not selected to play in a BCS bowl this coming football season. The game is scheduled for December 30, 2011, at 11 a.m. CST. The full press release from BYU can be found here.

BYU declared independent status in football less than a year ago (August 31, 2010) and lost all bowl tie-ins that it had as a member of the Mountain West Conference. One of those bowls was, in fact, the Armed Forces Bowl. BYU has also entered into separate bowl agreements with the Poinsettia Bowl for 2012, and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl for 2013. The Poinsettia Bowl is also a MWC bowl, and BYU will face one of its former conference foes in that game.

In the 2011 Armed Forces Bowl, BYU will face a team from Conference USA. BYU has played four bowl games against current C-USA teams: UTEP (New Mexico Bowl, 2010), Marshall (Motor City, 1999), Tulane (Liberty Bowl, 1998), SMU (Holiday Bowl, 1980). BYU's record in these games is 2-2.

BYU is scheduled to play the reigning C-USA champion UCF on September 23, 2011, in Provo, UT.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Flashback: The 1986 NFL Draft

The Brigham Young Cougars have a long history of sending its best players to the NFL. Naturally, some years are better than others. However, almost every year for over 30 years BYU has had at least one player drafted. In the NFL draft 25 years ago (1986), more Brigham Young Cougars were drafted (7) than any draft before and after.

Robbie Bosco, quarterback of the 1984 national championship team, was the first Cougar off the board in the third round to the Green Bay Packers. Leon White was next in the fifth round. One Cougar was drafted in each round from 8 through 12. The round numbers are not anything to get excited about, but these players had several exciting moments in their careers.

This was an eclectic group. It included a two-time Super Bowl champion, a two-time Pro Bowler, a fan favorite, as well as those who had careers cut short by injury, and those who didn’t make the team. In the end, this draft class delivered and made their alma mater proud. The majority had good, successful careers.

Here’s the rundown of each player, when they were drafted, the team that drafted them, and their BYU stats and NFL stats. (Note: The NFL does not have tackles data available prior to 2001.)

Robbie Bosco, 3rd Round, Green Bay Packers
BYU: 638-997, 8,400 yards, 66 TD, 36 Int. (4 rushing TD)
NFL: no stats accumulated due to injury

Leon White, 5th Round, Cincinnati Bengals
BYU: 249 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, 4 interceptions.
NFL: 6 sacks; 1 safety; 4 interceptions, 92 return yards; 3 fumble recoveries, 22 return yards, 1 touchdown.

White played in 119 games over 8 seasons (6 with the Cincinnati Bengals, 1986-91; and 2 with the Los Angeles Rams, 1992-93). He started in Super Bowl XXIII with the Bengals vs. the San Francisco 49ers.

Kurt Gouveia, 8th Round, Washington Redskins
BYU: 224 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 2 interceptions.
NFL: 5 sacks; 12 interceptions, 193 yards, 1 touchdown; 2 fumble recoveries, 39 yards, 1 touchdown.

Gouveia played in 183 games over 13 seasons (8 years with the Washington Redskins, 1987-1994; one year with the Philadelphia Eagles, 1995; 3 years with the San Diego Chargers, 1996-98; and one with the Washington Redskins, 1999). He played on two Super Bowl champion teams (Super Bowl XXII and XXVI). In Super Bowl XXVI, Gouveia intercepted a Jim Kelly pass and returned it 23 yards to the Buffalo Bills’ 2-yard line on the first play of the second half to set up a touchdown that pushed the Redskins’ lead to 24-0.

Cary Whittingham, 9th Round, Cincinnati Bengals
BYU: 340 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 4 sacks.
NFL: Played in 3 games in 1 year (1987) for the LA Rams.

Vai Sikahema, 10th Round, St. Louis Cardinals
BYU: 112 carries, 745 yards, 11 TD; 53 receptions, 658 yards, 2 TD;
42 kickoff returns, 973 yards; 153 punt returns, 1312 yards, 3 TD.
NFL: 59 rush, 217 yards; 53 receptions 537 yards 1 TD;
292 punt returns, 3,169 yards, 4 TD; 235 kickoff returns 4,933 yards.

Sikahema played in 118 games played over 8 seasons (St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals, 1986-90; Green Bay Packers, 1991; Philadelphia Eagles, 1992-93). He was the first Tongan player in the NFL. Sikahema was a two-time Pro Bowler (1986, 1987). He was first team All-Pro in 1987.

Glen Kozlowski, 11th Round, Chicago Bears
BYU: 136 receptions, 2,223 yards, 23 touchdowns.
NFL: 31 receptions, 471 yards 3 TD; 6 kickoff returns, 121 yards; 30+ tackles on special teams.

Kozlowski played in 66 games over 6 seasons. He was a fan favorite for his emotions on special teams.

Jeff Sprowls, 12th Round, San Diego Chargers
BYU: 111 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions.
NFL: no stats accumulated.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poll Results: Which would be the best halftime ceremony for 2011?

The results are in and honoring Jim McMahon (if he graduates) as a BYU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee tied with the 1996 team for the most votes. Each had 33%. Jason Buck and his 1986 Outland Trophy was next with 21%. Honoring Luke Staley for his Doak Walker winning season 10 years ago was last with 13%.

As I stated last week when this topic was introduced, I prefer that Jason Buck get honored. I guess my argument wasn't persuasive enough to skew the results of the poll. The 1996 team does have some appeal with this being BYU's first year as an independent. I can't really explain why, but focusing on that special team seems like an appropriate way to boost BYU's independent profile while honoring an individual player would not. As for Staley, I think BYU wants to retire his jersey. That requires 15 years after his final season. I can't justify two halftime ceremonies honoring Staley in a five or six year span when the school has other worthy options.  

Thank you to everyone who voted. Don't forget to vote in this week's poll, "Do your feelings about an NFL team change if they draft a BYU player?"

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Monday, April 25, 2011

Brigham Young Cougars 2011 NFL Draft Primer

The outlook for former Brigham Young Cougars in this week’s NFL draft isn’t very bright. Nevertheless, three former Cougars could have free agent contracts by this time next week.

Each year BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL lists three potential teams for BYU’s top prospects. Remember, I don’t profess to be a draft guru. I will try to not get very unconventional in my choices and reasoning.

Vic So’oto, DE
1. Houston Texans. After reading this Yahoo! Sports report for the Houston Texans, I think So’oto would be a good fit for what they need—an outside linebacker who can rush the passer. So’oto is athletic enough, he could get back in pass coverage sometimes, if necessary. He did intercept a pass against TCU this year.

2. San Diego Chargers. The Chargers are So’oto’s hometown team. Carlsbad is just 35 miles up the coast. There are a lot of defensive needs in San Diego, including defensive end and outside linebacker (3-4 scheme). They will want to bring in as many bodies as possible to fill those needs.

3. New Orleans Saints. The production from the Saints’ defensive ends hasn’t been satisfactory. Sean Payton seems like the kind of guy that would like Bronco Mendenhall coached players.

Brian Logan, CB
1. Oakland Raiders. Speaking of unconventional, Al Davis and the Raiders are the ones that drafted defensive back Mike Mitchell from Ohio University in the second round two years ago. They have also signed multiple Cougars in recent years (Todd Watkins, David Nixon, Manase Tonga). With Nnamdi Asomugha gone, the Raiders have an opening.

2. Baltimore Ravens. This would be a dream come true for a defensive player. Three cornerbacks will be free agents. Logan has always played bigger than his size, which he will have to do if he wants to join this defensive minded ball club.

3. Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles need cornerbacks. Logan’s size makes it difficult for him to be the physical, aggressive corner the Eagles like. However, Andy Reid is a BYU guy. If Logan has nowhere else to go, he might give Logan a chance to try out.

Andrew Rich, SS
1. Philadelphia Eagles. This analysis of the Eagles made me think that Rich would fit in there. Rich has size that Kurt Coleman lacks. As mentioned, Reid is still there in Philly and could pull some strings to get Rich into camp. The other thing about Rich is you know he is going to give you 100% effort every play.

2. Houston Texans. The same Yahoo! Sports report also talks about the Texans’ need at strong safety. It says the Texans want a strong safety who can also play free safety. I remember Bronco saying Rich could play either when the free safety spot was unsettled last year.

3. Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals only have two safeties under contract for 2011. The culture in the Bengals locker room needs to change. Signing Rich would be a good way to help that.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Highlights: John Beck

With the flashback about John Beck this week, I thought this video tribute to John Beck would be appropriate for this week.

John Beck Highlights

Enjoy!

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Trivia: Best Single Season Touchdown to Interception Ratios

The correct answer to the last trivia question "Which 1981 super sophomore was part of BYU's 1984 national championship team?" is Vai Sikahema. Following his sophomore season, Sikahema left for a two-year mission, missing the 1982 and 1983 seasons. He came back just in time to be part of the 1984 team.

On to this week's question. Yesterday's flashback noted that John Beck’s 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio in 2006 was the third best single season ratio in BYU history. Therefore, this week’s trivia question asks:
Who are the two BYU quarterbacks to have achieved a single season TD to interception ratio better than 4:1?
Leave your answer in the comments section. Come back next week when the answer is revealed and a new trivia question is asked.

More trivia questions can be found on the Trivia page.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Flashback: Beck To The Future (2006)

Five years ago, and a little more than 20 years after the first Back To The Future blockbuster, the Brigham Young Cougars went Beck to the future. Quarterback John Beck solidified his place as one of the great BYU quarterbacks by guiding the 2006 team to a season reminiscent of the glory days of LaVell Edwards’ tenure.

Beck proved to be the first great quarterback in the Bronco Mendenhall era, and he did it wearing the same number 12 jersey that Gary Sheide did—the first great quarterback in the Edwards era.

The great BYU quarterbacks of the past brought home conference championships and conference player of the year honors on a regular basis. John Beck did the same. He helped give BYU its first Mountain West Conference (MWC) title in five years, and he did it most impressively. BYU was 8-0 in conference play with a 25.5 points average margin of victory. In the conference opener, Beck played hurt. His gutsy leadership was good enough to earn BYU a 31-17 win over number 17 TCU in Fort Worth. This kind of outstanding play, week in and week out, resulted in Beck being unanimously voted the MWC Offensive Player of the Year.

Statistically, Beck had one of the best seasons, ever, for a BYU signal caller. His season stats ranked in the top 10 in all of the important categories:
  • Passing Yards: 3,885 (8th most in BYU history);
  • Touchdown Passes: 32 (8th);
  • Interceptions: 8 (3rd—Tied, minimum 300 attempts);
  • TD to Int. Ratio: 4:1 (3rd);
  • Completion Percentage: 69.3% (2nd);
  • Pass Efficiency: 169.05 (4th).
Beck beat Utah, marking BYU’s first win over the Utes since 2001. The great BYU quarterbacks almost never lost to Utah, and you had to go back to 1968-71 for the last time BYU lost four in a row to Utah. Not only did Beck beat Utah, but his touchdown pass to Jonny Harline with no time remaining to win the game has come to define Beck’s legacy much like Jim McMahon’s hail Mary to win the 1980 Holiday Bowl and Steve Young’s touchdown catch to win the 1983 Holiday Bowl has defined their legacies.

To punctuate his superb season, Beck assaulted the Oregon Ducks and gave BYU its first bowl win in 10 seasons. Only six other quarterbacks had won a bowl game at BYU.

BYU finished 2006 with 11 wins and 2 losses and ranked numbers 15 and 16 in the coaches and media polls, respectively. Once again, these results were on par with teams in the glory days of BYU football. However, they were also indicative of what the future held. In 2006, BYU football truly was Beck to the future.

More Flashbacks can be found on the Flashbacks page

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Poll Results: Which Player Who Changed Positions Will Have The Biggest Impact?

Mike Hague the fullback converted to free safety ran away with this poll receiving 79% of the votes. Michael Alisa switching from linebacker to fullback was second with 14%. Mike Muehlmann (tight end to defensive end) and Ezekiel Ansah (defensive end to linebacker) both got 3.5%.

While Hague was making a lot of plays during spring practice, my vote would go to Michael Alisa. My reasoning is simple: he will get more playing time. BYU has just one other fullback. Hague will probably be second string to newly elected team captain Travis Uale. Furthermore, Bronco Mendenhall has repeatedly said that the free safety position is the most important position on defense. That makes me think that he is less likely to rotate players at that position.

Thank you to everyone who voted. Don't forget to vote in this week's poll: "Which would be the best halftime ceremony for 2011?"

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Monday, April 18, 2011

Brigham Young Cougars 2011 Halftime Ceremony

In recent years, the Brigham Young Cougars have had special halftime ceremonies at a home football game fairly regularly. Some of the more recent ones have been:

2010--Quarterback Weekend honoring former All-American Quarterbacks.
2009--The 1984 National Championship team was honored during the 25th anniversary season.
2007--Gifford Nielsen and Ty Detmer had their jerseys retired.

I don’t remember one for 2008, and after extensive research I still can’t find a home game that had a special halftime ceremony.

What about 2011? BYU has several players and teams that could be honored this season.

Luke Staley—It has been 10 years since Luke Staley won the Doak Walker Award after he exploded for 1,582 yards rushing (8.1 yards per carry) and 28 touchdowns (24 rushing, 4 receiving).

The 1996 team—This team was the last truly great BYU football team, and probably the second best ever. They set an NCAA record for most wins in a season (14), they played in (and won) BYU’s first ever January bowl game (Cotton), and they finished with the second highest national ranking in BYU history (5).

Jason Buck—Buck was the first BYU player to win the Outland Trophy 25 years ago (1986). The Ricks College transfer had 12.5 sacks and 13 tackles-for-loss to go with 59 total tackles that season. He finished his career with the third most sacks in a career, and the BYU record for most sacks in a game (4 vs. Oregon State, 1986).

Jim McMahon—There are rumblings that McMahon is trying to finish up his degree and qualify for the BYU Athletics Hall of Fame. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of his senior season. A surprise announcement and halftime ceremony to honor him as a Hall of Fame inductee could be in the works.

While each of these is worthy of a special halftime ceremony, the one I would like to see the most is Jason Buck. BYU’s defensive accomplishments are largely unheralded. Buck represents several BYU defensive stars who have gone on and excelled in the NFL, and who deserve a lot of credit for BYU winning 10, 11, 12, or more games several times. If BYU wants to continue to build a dominating defense, and sign more top defensive recruits, then BYU needs to illuminate the great accomplishments of guys like Buck.

Back in 1986, the Outland Trophy Award winner was announced November 29. BYU has a home game scheduled against New Mexico State on November 19, 2011. That might be the most appropriate game to honor Buck making it as close to the actual date the event occurred.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Highlights: Brigham Young Cougars at TCU (2006)

This week we are going back 5 years to 2006. The upset win over TCU set the tone for the rest of that season--Bronco's first MWC championship, first 11 win season, and first bowl win.

BYU vs. TCU (2006)

Enjoy!

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday Trivia: Member of the 1981 and 1984 Team

The correct answer to the last trivia question "Where did Ronney Jenkins’ 14 touchdowns and 84 points rank in the BYU record book for most touchdowns and most points scored in a season?" is fourth and tenth.The 14 touchdowns was fourth (one player had 16 and two had 15). The 84 points was tenth.

On to this week's question. Yesterday's flashback highlighted four super sophomores from the 1981 team: Todd Shell, Gordon Hudson, Waymon Hamilton, and Vai Sikahema. One of these four players played on the 1984 national championship team. This week’s trivia question asks:
Which 1981 super sophomore was part of BYU's 1984 national championship team?
Leave your answer in the comments section. Come back next week when the answer is revealed and a new trivia question is asked.

More trivia questions can be found on the Trivia page.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Flashback: Super Sophomores (1981)

Fans have plenty of reasons to be excited to see the 2011 Brigham Young Cougars football team this fall. Foremost among those reasons is a quartet of sophomores. Quarterback Jake Heaps, running back Joshua Quezada, wide receiver Cody Hoffman, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy are looking to build on their freshman successes to have super sophomore seasons.

Thirty years ago, BYU had another set of super sophomores who were a vital part of the 1981 team winning 11 games. Here is a look at each players’ resume and contribution to the team that year.

Todd Shell, LB
58 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 touchdowns
WAC Defensive Player of the Week (10/3)

Shell was sixth on the team in total tackles, tied for first on the team in fumble recoveries, and tied for third on the team in total interceptions. He returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns. The first one was in the season opener at Long Beach State. The second broke a 26-26 tie against Utah State to give BYU a 32-26 win.

Gordon Hudson, TE
67 receptions, 960 yards, 10 touchdowns
Second team All-WAC
WAC Offensive Player of the Week (11/21)

Hudson’s 67 receptions were the third most in a season in BYU history (currently 8th most). The 960 receiving yards was the fourth most in a season in BYU history (second most by a tight end). In the game against Colorado State, Hudson caught 11 passes for 117 yards and 3 touchdowns. His biggest game of the season came in the regular season finale versus Utah. Hudson set an NCAA record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single game with 259 yards on 13 receptions. He also scored two touchdowns against the Utes.

Waymon Hamilton, RB
96 rushes, 394 yards, 14 touchdowns
32 receptions, 387 yards, 2 touchdowns
Second team All-WAC

Hamilton set a couple of school scoring records. His 16 touchdowns was the most touchdowns ever scored in a single season, and the 96 points from those touchdowns broke the school record for most points scored in a season. Hamilton was second on the team in rushing yards and fourth on the team in receiving yards. He scored three rushing touchdowns versus UNLV and had a 42-yard touchdown run against Utah State.

Vai Sikahema, RB
35 rushes, 242 yards, 3 touchdowns
11 receptions, 97 yards
11 kick off returns, 188 yards
44 punt returns, 377 yards

Sikahema was BYU’s do everything back. He accumulated 904 all-purpose yards. He was the team’s third leading rusher. His best game running the ball was against UTEP. Sikahema rushed for 87 yards on just 8 carries (10.875 yards per carry).

If Van Noy can match Shell’s play, Hoffman can match Hudson’s production, Quezada can score like Hamilton, and Heaps can be BYU’s do everything quarterback, then these super sophomores should make 2011 as memorable as 1981.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jimmer Fredette To Give Football A Try?

Former Brigham Young Cougars record setting point guard Jimmer Fredette led BYU to its first Sweet 16 appearance in 30 years. He led BYU to its highest national ranking since 1988. Jimmer was a consensus All-American and won the Naismith, Wooden, and every other player of the year award out there. He is a lock to be an NBA first round draft pick.

So why is he considering a football career?

During the BYU spring football game last Saturday, KSL radio color analyst Marc Lyons explained he spotted Fredette at a BYU football spring practice earlier in the week. Lyons said that BYU Director of Football Operations Duane Busby informed him that Fredette was at practice because Fredette was considering using his fifth year of eligibility playing football if the NBA didn’t work out.

Don’t believe me? Listen to the audio yourself here. In the Cougar Cuts box, click on the button next to “Apr 9th 2011 Blue White Spring Game On KSL Radio.”

Like LeBron James, Fredette played wide receiver in high school and even earned all-state honors as a junior. Fredette quit after his junior year, however, to concentrate on basketball.

Maybe it is a New York thing. Fredette is from Glens Falls, which is only 160 miles away from Syracuse—home of Greg Paulus. You may recall that upon completion of his four years as a Duke basketball star, Paulus went to Syracuse and quarterbacked the Orangemen in 2009.

Is there any substance to these plans? Fredette about it.

It doesn’t make sense on any level. BYU has several big, strong, fast receivers. Even if he made the team, Fredette would never see the field. NCAA rules require that Fredette use his fifth year immediately. The NBA thing wouldn’t have time to “not work out” before the 2011 football season ends, let alone start.

What's really going on here? Lyons got Jimmered!

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Other recent posts on BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL:
Poll Results: Which USC Transfer Are You More Excited About?
Brigham Young Cougars Spring Finals
Brigham Young Cougars Spring Football Blue Hot Answers
Brigham Young Cougars Spring Game Recap: Whites 18, Blues 17
Brigham Young Cougars 2011-19 QB Outlook
Friday Highlights: WAC Championship Game 1996
Thursday Trivia: Ronney Jenkins' Scoring
New Brigham Young Cougars 2012 Commit Tanner Mangum
Flashback: Dynamic Rushing Duo (1996)

Poll Results: Which USC Transfer Are You More Excited About?

The Brigham Young Cougars fan base is overwhelmingly more excited about Uona Kaveinga (92%) than they are Hebron Fangupo (8%).

My vote would be for Kaveinga as well. I don't think that these results mean that BYU fans are not excited about Fangupo. I am excited to see both play. For me, the difference was that linebackers make more plays and can have a bigger impact than defensive linemen. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall is already on the record saying Kaveinga is the leader on defense. My expectations for Kaveinga are high this year, which contributes to my excitement. I am glad that both are with BYU, and am certain they will both do great things as Cougars this year.

Thank you to everyone who voted. Don't forget to vote in this week's poll: "Which player who changed positions will have the biggest impact?"

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Monday, April 11, 2011

Brigham Young Cougars Spring Finals

The Brigham Young Cougars football team wrapped up spring practices this weekend. Now the players are preparing for their final exams in school. While the grades in the classroom are yet to be determined, BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL is ready to give the football team its final grades for spring term.

DEFENSE
The defense scored high marks this spring. Top to bottom, the defense is poised to shutdown opponents. Pass rush has been a weakness in previous years, but in 2011 the defense can bring the pressure from everywhere. The down linemen were in the backfield a lot. Normally, this unit does not make a lot of sacks, but during spring practices they were in the double digits.

Uona Kaveinga has emerged as the leader of a very experienced linebacking unit. Austen Jorgensen isn’t far behind. The linebackers are not short on playmakers either. They stuffed the run for most of the spring game, and all spring long the offense struggled to break off runs longer than 10 yards. Ezekiel Anseh was moved from d-line to linebacker to add another fast, athletic body to this unit that already had Jordan Pendleton and Kyle Van Noy.

The current weakness of the team is the secondary. While the newcomers can clearly get the job done, they gave up more than their share of deep balls. Most opponents probably won’t have receivers to match Ross Apo and Cody Hoffman, but you know Texas will have big, strong, fast guys. It would be a shame if the difference in that game was a BYU defensive back getting beat for a deep pass.

Mike Hague made a splash as a convert from the offense. Travis Uale doesn’t have any room to slip up or he could lose his starting spot to Hague.

Grade: A-

OFFENSE
The offensive side of the ball started very strong, but cooled off towards the end. That may be attributed to familiarity by the defense after 3-4 weeks of playing the same players and really understanding their tendencies. It doesn’t help, either, that the defense is pretty good this year.

With the way the spring ended, Jake Heaps and the gang should be extra motivated to work hard this summer to perfect timing, reads, and knowledge of assignments. The offense will be as good as Heaps is this year. Naturally, he is further ahead than where he was a year ago, but he still can make a lot of progress from now and September. He admitted himself that he made some bad decisions in the spring game. Heaps’ maturity in decision making could be a 2-3 game difference in the win-loss column this year.

The big development on offense was with the offensive line. Several starters sat out spring, which gave the backups a chance to play. The drop off was hard to detect. Protection for Heaps and holes for the running backs should not be a problem.

Overall, I get the feeling that the offense can do better. I don’t like that they seemed to have lost their edge near the end of spring practices.

Grade: B

COACHES
Led by Bronco Mendenhall, the new coaching staff is giving 100% to make the 2011 team a hit as it moves to independence. The energy, excitement, and enthusiasm is higher than it has ever been. They are also raising the expectations for each player. New coaches Joe DuPaix and Ben Cahoon are doing their best to make their presence felt.

Lance Reynolds deserves special recognition for cleaning up the tight end position. Mike Weber should also get props for the way the second unit o-line guys were able to step in and play at a high level. Nick Howell should get some credit for the way the secondary is playing.

I want to see the secondary, however, defend the deep ball better. The pass interference penalties and the Rhen Brown touchdown in the spring game has to be corrected. The passing game isn’t where I would like it to be, either.

Grade: B+

Click here for BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL's complete coverage of Spring Practices

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Other recent posts on BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL:
Brigham Young Cougars Spring Football Blue Hot Answers
Brigham Young Cougars Spring Game Recap: Whites 18, Blues 17
Brigham Young Cougars 2011-19 QB Outlook
Friday Highlights: WAC Championship Game 1996
Thursday Trivia: Ronney Jenkins' Scoring
New Brigham Young Cougars 2012 Commit Tanner Mangum
Flashback: Dynamic Rushing Duo (1996)
Poll Results: Who should be BYU’s #1 running back in 2011?

Brigham Young Cougars Spring Football Blue Hot Answers

The Brigham Young Cougars concluded spring football with an exciting spring game last Saturday. With spring practices now in the books, it is time to get our blue hot answers to the Spring Football Burning Questions

1. Will the coaching changes make a serious impact?
The coaching changes are having an impact, which is inevitable. Is it enough to be considered serious? Yes. All the players are saying they love their new position coaches. Joe Dupaix, Brandon Doman, and Ben Cahoon are maximizing their positive impact with their high energy and enthusiasm. The coaches’ emotions will send the team off on a high for the summer. Summer workouts should be better, and result in the team coming back in August closer to being game ready.

On the KSL radio spring game pre-game show, Doman sounds like he has gotten to know his players and identified how to take advantage of their strengths and what areas they needs to improve on.

2. What is going to be done with the tight ends?
The tight end position appears to be settled. With Mike Muehlmann moved to defense and Richard Wilson out recovering from shoulder surgery, Devin Mahina and Austin Holt have become the number one and number two guys, respectively. Marcus Mathews will not line up tight, but play in a flex-end capacity. Kaneakua Friel is carving a place for him as a tight end as well.

3. Will the defensive secondary reload or rebuild?
The defensive secondary has reloaded. All eight players on the two deep roster appear to be capable of starting. Daniel Sorensen was impressive fresh off his mission. He is part of the current first unit along with Corby Eason, Robbie Buckner, and Travis Uale. Preston Hadley, Jordan Johnson, Jray Galea’i and Mike Hague make up the second team.

4. Which newcomers are going to have an immediate impact?
Uona Kaveinga has been singled out by Bronco Mendenhall as the leader on defense. Ross Apo was another spring star. Big things can be expected from him in the fall. Hebron Fangupo looks like he will be a force up front as well. Drew Phillips, on the other hand, has great playmaking potential, but sounds like his impact this year will be limited.

5. When will Jake Heaps be designated as the starter?
I am still yet to find a quote from Bronco that Heaps is the starter September 3, and only a complete melt down will change that. Honestly, that doesn’t really matter. Heaps had a good spring. Players and the media are talking openly about Heaps as the number one quarterback, and both Bronco and Doman are not making any effort to change that perception. As I stated before, I don’t expect Bronco to make any additional, or clarifying, endorsement of Heaps as his starter. He will let things continue to keep the status quo, unless a change occurs.

Click here for the complete coverage of spring football on BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Brigham Young Cougars Spring Game Recap: Whites 18, Blues 17

The snowy conditions for the Brigham Young Cougars spring game was an omen. White quarterback Riley Nelson pulled the whites to within one point on a 15-yard touchdown run, and then connected with tight end Bryan Sampson for a game-winning two-point conversion.

The White team was comprised of the first-team defense and the second-team offense; the Blues were first-team offense and second-team defense. That made the game, theoretically, evenly matched with first-team O vs. first-team D, and second-team D vs. second-team O.

The game was a defensive battle. Both defenses kept the offenses scoreless in the first half. It was the Blue defense that got the scoring started with a Jordan Johnson interception return for a touchdown. Even after the White defense recovered a snap fumbled by reserve quarterback Christian Stewart at the Blues 11-yard line, the Blue defense only allowed the White team to kick a field goal.

Chase Pendley for the Blue team and White teammates Daniel Sorensen and Eathyn Manumaleuna led all tacklers with 5 tackles each.

The Blue defense did have one lapse during regulation, which allowed White receiver Rhen Brown to make a 73-yard touchdown catch.

Blue quarterback Jake Heaps had his side poised to win the game with a last minute field goal, but Justin Sorensen’s 37-yard attempt was wide right.

Heaps was an accurate 16 of 21 (76%), but only managed 126 yards passing. The low yards per attempt (6) could be a result of the wet, snowy conditions.

With the boost from the 73-yard TD, Nelson finished the day 8 of 11 for 149 yards. Nelson also had the 15-yard touchdown run in overtime.

The defenses lost control of the game in the overtime period. With J.J. DiLuigi scoring on a 17-yard run, each offense scored from at least 15 yards out. It was a big offensive play by the Whites (2-point conversion) that was the difference in the game.

Uona Kaveinga, Sae Tautu, Graham Rowley and Mike Hague were dinged up, but none of their injuries were major. Their participation during summer drills should not be impacted.

Click here for the complete coverage of spring football on BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Friday, April 8, 2011

Brigham Young Cougars 2011-19 QB Outlook

For the second time this week, the Brigham Young Cougars added a great quarterback prospect. Bronco Mendenhall announced yesterday that Taysom Hill (Highland High, Pocatello, Idaho) had signed a scholarship agreement to enroll at BYU in January 2012. Hill is currently serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sydney, Australia.

With both Hill and Tanner Mangum now in the fold, the BYU quarterback outlook is pretty clear all the way until 2020. No that is not a typo. Kind of mind boggling, isn’t it? Therefore, to make it clear for everyone, I have put together the ultimate BYU quarterback outlook. Go ahead and bookmark this page. It will come in handy for several years.

This outlook has three parts:

1. An explanation of the career path for each potential starting quarterback from 2011-19.
2. A series of spreadsheets tracking, side-by-side, each QB's year in school for the “best case” scenario, and three other possible scenarios. Additionally, an expanded spreadsheet tracking Taysom Hill, Alex Kuresa, and Tanner Mangum’s experience before they can reasonably be expected to compete for the starting spot is included.
3. A list of key dates when the incumbent starter will leave BYU and the starting spot will open up.

CAREER PATHS
Jake Heaps-Heaps will be the starter as long as he stays at BYU. This upcoming season, 2011, is his sophomore year. He will be eligible to turn pro following the 2012 season. It is way too early to tell if he will. The “best case” scenario for BYU football is for Heaps to stay for his senior year in 2013.

Jason Munns-Should Heaps leave early, Munns will be the most experienced QB and could occupy the spot for his senior season in 2013.

Taysom Hill-As noted, Hill will enroll nine months from now. With Heaps, Munns, Riley Nelson, and James Lark all ahead of him on the depth chart, redshirting seems to be a no brainer.

Hill will still be primed to compete for the starting spot in 2013 if Heaps leaves early. Should he win the battle then, Hill would have four years rather than three to start. If Heaps stays or Munns starts in 2013, Hill is almost a lock to start in 2014. The redshirt would benefit Hill giving him three years, rather than two, to start.

Alex Kuresa-Kuresa will be on the roster this upcoming season (2011). As with Hill, a redshirt appears inevitable. Kuresa will be fifth on the depth chart, and a mission is definitely in his plans.

He hopes to be back in time for spring football 2014 when BYU could have an opening, but Hill will have the inside track, and I expect it will be very hard for Kuresa, fresh off a mission, to unseat Hill.

If Hill does not redshirt, or goes pro a year early, Kuresa will have two years of eligibility left (2016-17). That would give Kuresa his best opportunity to start, but by that point, Kuresa will have Tanner Mangum to deal with.

In my opinion, Kuresa is going to end up as a security blanket. He will only get to play if Hill or Mangum flop.

Tanner Mangum–Mangum sounds like he will start his mission sometime during the summer of 2012, and, technically, could be back in time for the 2014 season.

My recommendation to him would be to greyshirt the 2014 season and wait until Januray 2015 to start his eligibility clock. You can call it the John Beck plan. I don’t have the NCAA rulebook memorized, but I think Mangum could still be present at practices (especially practices open to the public) and on the sidelines during games in 2014 to get his feet wet.

I would also recommend Mangum redshirt 2015. It is all about maximizing opportunities. Worst case scenario would be start for two years after Kuresa graduates. Best case scenario would be start for four years.

Of course, much of this depends on how Hill and Kuresa are playing. If Kuresa is a “bust” or has been moved to another position, and Hill did not redshirt or is such a great quarterback that he would leave for the NFL a year early, then it could be advantageous for Mangum to not redshirt 2015.

Regardless, if the quarterback spot is open in 2016, Mangum should be ready to compete for it. He will have been at BYU for two springs and two falls by the time the 2016 season opens.

SPREADSHEETS
That is looking at each quarterback individually and how his eligibility timetable could run. To better see how all these career paths align, I have put all five quarterbacks side-by-side on a spreadsheet and tracked each quarterback’s year in school.

The year that each quarterback is, reasonably, expected to compete for the starting job has been highlighted in BYU blue.

I have put an asterisk next to who I think will be the starter.

There is one spreadsheet for the “Best Case” Scenario (Heaps stays for senior season), one for the “Heaps Goes Pro Early” Scenario, "Hill Goes Pro Early" Scenario, and one for the “Mangum Does Not Greyshirt” Scenario.

A fifth spreadsheet is included that is an expanded breakdown (Spring and Fall practices) of how long Hill, Kuresa, and Mangum will have been in the program before they compete for possible openings for the starting job.





The main purpose of the “Experience Before Starting” spreadsheet is to illustrate that BYU should never have an inexperienced starting quarterback for the rest of this decade.

KEY DATES

Year: 2013
Scenario: Heaps leaves a year early for NFL
Depth Chart: Munns (Sr.), Hill (RS Fr.)
Prediction: Bronco Mendenhall will be loyal to Munns and all the work he has invested into the program. Munns will be the starter.

Year: 2014
Scenario: Heaps/Munns graduates
Depth Chart: Hill (RS So.), Kuresa (RS Fr.), Mangum (Fr., if not greyshirting)
Prediction: Hill will easily win the starting job. Kuresa will be loaded with mission rust, as will Mangum, who will miss spring practices.

Year: 2016
Scenario: Hill is the real deal and leaves a year early for NFL
Depth Chart: Kuresa (RS Jr.), Mangum (RS Fr. Or RS So.)
Prediction: If Kuresa has shown he is legit, look for Bronco to favor him (more experience, more invested), especially if Mangum is a redshirt freshman. Each QB would get two years to start. However, if Mangum is head and shoulders better than Kuresa, Mangum should have invested enough to get the starting nod.

Year: 2017
Scenario: Hill graduates
Depth Chart: Kuresa (RS Sr.), Mangum (RS So. Or RS Jr.)
Prediction: The coaches would need some compelling reason to pick Kuresa over Mangum. It would be Kuresa’s only year to start, and the offense would go through two consecutive seasons of having to start over with timing and such with Mangum the next year. Mangum should end up the starter.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Other recent posts on BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL:
Friday Highlights: WAC Championship Game 1996
Thursday Trivia: Ronney Jenkins' Scoring
New Brigham Young Cougars 2012 Commit Tanner Mangum
Flashback: Dynamic Rushing Duo (1996)
Poll Results: Who should be BYU’s #1 running back in 2011?
Ty Detmer Talks About Jake Heaps and Other BYU Football Topics   

Friday Highlights: WAC Championship Game 1996

Welcome to Friday! Let's get the weekend started right with some great highlights. Talk of Brian McKenzie and Ronney Jenkins this week makes the 1996 WAC Championship game appropriate.

BYU vs. Wyoming (WAC Championship Game, 1996)

It has been a great week for BYU football. Two big quarterback commits (I should have more on that later today). Spring game is tomorrow. If you can't get to the game you can listen to it on KSL 1160 AM or 102.7 FM. If you are out of the state, tune in over the internet at http://www.ksl.com/. Coverage starts at 11 AM (Mountain Time).

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday Trivia: Ronney Jenkins' Scoring

The correct answer to the last trivia question "How many tackles did Shay Muirbrook, Brad Martin, and Dennis Simmons combine to make in 1996" is 195. Muirbrook had 97, Martin had 77, and Simmons chipped in 21.

On to this week's question. Ronney Jenkins scored 14 touchdowns, which translates to 84 points, in 1996. Both totals were BYU records for a freshman. They were both pretty high on the all-time list as well. This week’s trivia question asks:
Where did Ronney Jenkins’ 14 touchdowns and 84 points rank in the BYU record book for most touchdowns and most points scored in a season?
Leave your answer in the comments section. Come back next week when the answer is revealed and a new trivia question is asked.

More trivia questions can be found on the Trivia page.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Brigham Young Cougars 2012 Commit Tanner Mangum

Eagle High School (Idaho) quarterback Tanner Mangum has committed to the Brigham Young Cougars, per totalbluesports.com. Mangum has nice measurables (6’3”, 195 lbs.) and is rated the #19 quarterback overall in the 2012 class by Scout.com. A bevy of Pac-12 schools (Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, and Washington State) are reported to have shown interest in Mangum as well as Arkansas and Boise State.

Mangum has been impressive going all the way back to his freshman year. He passed for 2,900 yards and had a 29:8 TD to interception ratio in that 2008 season. That was good enough to get him voted first-team All 5-A Southern Idaho Conference (SIC).

This past season, Mangum was injured early in the second game. His passing stats to that point were very impressive (23 of 29 for 417 yards and 5 touchdowns). The collarbone injury kept him out until the playoffs. Upon his return, the injury did not appear to have any lingering effects. Mangum completed 23 of 36 passes for 438 yards and five touchdowns in a loss.

While Mangum can be counted as a good catch for BYU, he has some work to do if he is going to become a great BYU quarterback.

I watched his highlight video on YouTube and several of his throws were behind his receivers. That leads me to believe he needs to work on his accuracy. Arm strength may be another issue contributing to those passes being behind his receivers.

I am also taking the big numbers in the playoff game with a grain of salt. Eagle High lost that game 70-42, and it wasn’t even that close. Stats can often be padded at the end of blowouts. The IdahoStatesman.com State Football Game Blog for November 5, 2010, gives a detailed account of this game.

Mangum got off to a great start. He threw for 230 yards on 13 of 17 and two TDs in the first half, but his team trailed 28-21. In the decisive third quarter Mangum did not play well. He threw an interception deep in his own territory, which contributed to Rocky Mountain High School building an insurmountable 49-21 lead. Mangum only had 74 yards passing in the third quarter, and 47 of those came on one play with 43 seconds left in the quarter. Mangum and Eagle High were unable to capitalize on the momentum of that 47-yard touchdown going into the fourth quarter. Rocky Mountain scored 21 more points to lead 70-28 before Mangum threw two more touchdown passes with less than six minutes to play in the game.

What’s the bottom line? Cougar fans should be excited with the latest class of 2012 commit. Notwithstanding the weaknesses pointed out earlier, Mangum can throw the ball. He also has good scrambling ability. He still has one more year in high school to work on his accuracy, arm strength, and leadership. Under the tutelage of Brandon Doman, Mangum can be molded into a great quarterback who gives fans plenty of reasons to cheer.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Other recent posts on BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL:
Flashback: Dynamic Rushing Duo (1996)
Poll Results: Who should be BYU's #1 Running Back in 2011? 
Ty Detmer Talks About Jake Heaps and Other BYU Football Topics
Friday Highlights: Brigham Young Cougars Greatest Hits
Thursday Trivia: Tackles by the 1996 Linebackers
Flashback: Living Large at Linebacker

Flashback: Dynamic Rushing Duo (1996)

The 2011 Brigham Young Cougars could have the best rushing duo the school has seen in 15 years. In 2010, J.J. DiLuigi rushed for 917 yards and true freshman Joshua “Juice” Quezada came on strong at the end of the year to finish with 505 yards. They combined for 13 touchdowns on the ground. With both of them back, they could provide a potent one-two punch out of the backfield.

The BYU football standard for dynamic rushing duos came in 1996 with Brian McKenzie and Ronney Jenkins.

Both McKenzie and Jenkins were new to BYU in 1996. McKenzie came via the junior college ranks, and Jenkins was fresh out of high school in Port Hueneme, California. They had impressive resumes, and as soon as they were brought up to speed on the BYU offense they proved they were no frauds.

Game four is when both backs started showing some signs of life. The New Mexico Lobos were in Provo, and they were giving the Cougars a run for their money. Ronney Jenkins scored his first career touchdown on a 6-yard run with 6:11 to play in the third quarter. That score put BYU ahead 17-14, and it ended up being the game winner with neither team scoring again. On the day, Jenkins had 37 yards on just 7 carries. McKenzie added 59 yards on 14 carries.

The next game (SMU), with the score tied 3-3, the dynamic duo scored three consecutive touchdowns. McKenzie got things started with a 17-yard run in the first quarter. Jenkins scored the next two from one and 21 yards out in the second quarter. BYU was now pulling away from the Mustangs 24-3.

They matched each other score for score the next two games (three TDs apiece) while still getting limited touches. In game eight at Tulsa, McKenzie exploded. He rushed for 132 yards on 13 carries. Although his totals were not as impressive, Jenkins kept himself in the spotlight with two more rushing touchdowns and a 48-yard pass reception.

The two reversed roles three weeks later against Rice. Jenkins had his first 100-yard rushing game with 109 yards on 12 carries. McKenzie scored twice on the ground while also accounting for 97 yards rushing.

After Jenkins scored once through the air and once on the ground, and McKenzie scored on a 44-yard run against Hawaii, these two backs became the Utah Utes' worst nightmare. McKenzie and Jenkins were unstoppable as they combined for 332 yards rushing and four touchdowns. McKenzie had more yards—176 to 156—and Jenkins had more touchdowns—3 to 1. Jenkins was named the WAC offensive player of the week. Their phenomenal efforts secured BYU a spot in the WAC championship game.

In the WAC championship game, McKenzie scored on a run in the second quarter. It was the 11th consecutive game that at least one of the dynamic duo scored a touchdown.

McKenzie ended the season as BYU’s leading rusher with 950 yards and 11 touchdowns on 167 carries. Jenkins was second on the team with 733 yards and 11 touchdowns on 128 carries. Jenkins also added 3 touchdowns through the air. Each back averaged 5.7 yards per carry. Jenkins’ rushing yards total was the most ever by a BYU freshman. Jenkins also earned the WAC Mountain Division Freshman of the Year award.

This dangerous, dynamic duo was a large reason why the 1996 offense was one of BYU’s best ever and the 1996 team set a school and NCAA record with 14 wins and finished with a number 5 national ranking.

DiLuigi and Juice hope to have a similar season that leads to similar results in 2011.

More Flashbacks can be found on the Flashbacks page

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Other recent posts on BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL:
Poll Results: Who should be BYU's #1 Running Back in 2011? 
Ty Detmer Talks About Jake Heaps and Other BYU Football Topics
Friday Highlights: Brigham Young Cougars Greatest Hits
Thursday Trivia: Tackles by the 1996 Linebackers
Flashback: Living Large at Linebacker   

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Poll Results: Who should be BYU’s #1 running back in 2011?

Joshua Quezada (69%) comfortably beat out incumbent J.J. DiLuigi (23%) as BYU’s top running back in 2011. Drew Phillips was next with 5%, and Brian Kariya was not forgotten with 3% voting for him.

Going by season totals last year, J.J. DiLuigi has “earned” the right to be the starter. He was the team’s leading rusher (917), had the best yards per carry average (5.2), and the most touchdowns (8). Plus, he is a senior.

Looking at the game-by-game totals, one finds that Quezada (505 yards, 5.1 ypc, 5 TD in 2010) rushed for more yards than DiLuigi in each of the last three games. Now that Quezada has a year in the system and understands the college game, maybe he can beat out DiLuigi for the starting spot.

What this boils down to is who is better. I am guessing that both will see the field a lot this year, but whoever is better should be the one that gets the call when BYU needs the running back to make a play.

I don’t think that it was a coincidence that we saw Juice getting more reps and bigger numbers at the end of the year. The coaches think that he has the most talent and brings the most to the table. Q will be the #1 running back this year.

Thanks to everyone who voted. Don’t forget to vote in this week’s question: “Which USC transfer are you more excited about?”

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ty Detmer Talks About Jake Heaps and Other BYU Football Topics

I recently talked to the 1990 Heisman Trophy winner and former Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Ty Detmer. My four objectives when interviewing former players are:

1. Get an update on their life post-BYU;
2. Discuss how much involvement they still have with the BYU football program;
3. Get their opinions about any relevant current BYU football affairs;
4. Give you, the reader, the opportunity to have some of your questions for that player answered.

Twenty years after leaving BYU, Ty seems to be the same down-to-earth guy he was when he first walked on campus. It was truly a pleasure speaking with him.

This was a lengthy interview, so I have broken it down into six sections: Family, Professional Life, BYU, Jake Heaps, Austin Road Trip Recommendations, and Reader Submitted Questions.

Family

Ty Detmer and his wife Kim have four daughters. When asked how he feels about not having a son to continue the family tradition of football excellence, Detmer responded:

“I wouldn't really know what to do with one now. All of [the daughters] like the outdoors and they are athletic and they like to get dirty, but they like to dress up, too. Three of the four like to hunt out on the ranch. The one that doesn't she's the athlete of the group right now, she's our soccer player. She is a sophomore right now. Our oldest is a cheerleader. She will be trying out for the BYU cheer leading squad. They are well rounded girls.”

What do they think about having a Heisman Trophy winner, three-time All-American, and NCAA record holder as a father?

“I think they look at me as a mean dad who won't let them go play with their friends.” He added, “They get a little taste of it here and there, like when we come out for a BYU game, so they think 'maybe you were a pretty good player.' The older daughters remember me as a backup in the NFL. … They kind of see a different side. They see people want your autograph.”

Professional Life

Detmer is currently coaching at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. St Andrew's is a small, private school that didn't have much of a football program when Detmer arrived just one year ago. Although Detmer had figured that he would end up coaching at some point, he wasn't planning on coaching now. However, he had a friend who's son attended St. Andrew's and he broached the subject with Ty.

Detmer recalls, “The more I talked to him the more excited I got and started seeing ways that I thought I could help. I … thought it was a great opportunity to go to one of these smaller schools and get your feet wet and see how you like it and figure out what your system will look like. It has been a lot of fun.”

When asked about the expectations for his team in 2011, Detmer explained that he had a really young team in 2010 and this program needs to be built from the ground up. He is coordinating with the junior high that feeds into St. Andrew's to get the junior high on the same page with what Detmer and his staff are doing. While everyone hopes 2011 is better than the winless 2010 season, Detmer is counting on future success with those younger kids that will be coming up in the next few years by bringing them in the right direction.

Regarding any long-term coaching goals, or a career path he might have, Detmer said, “Right now I am enjoying what I am doing. I like the high schools. It gives you a little flexibility. You can still do some things outside of the coaching thing. Once you go up a couple of levels, you are pretty much dialed in full-time. I really enjoy where I am at, and what I am doing, and the people I am working with. … At some point, you start looking at it and wondering 'would I like to coach college?' You know what, I would like to see us turn this program around and headed in the right direction before even starting to think about something like that.”

The right direction is requiring Detmer to stop doing something he was notorious for while a player: practical jokes. He says he hasn't pulled any practical jokes on his assistant coaches or the players. He said he has “too much work to do.” At such a small school, Detmer does double and triple duty functioning as the equipment manager, part-time trainer, and whatever else needs to be done.

Detmer's father Sonny is still coaching high school football in Texas, and is currently at Somerset High School on the south side of San Antonio. Ty's brother Koy is part of Sonny's staff.

Will there be a family face-off: St. Andrew's vs. Somerset?

“No. They are 3A. We are in a little private school conference. We talked about bringing their JV team up for a scrimmage last year, but it didn't work out. Probably won't happen.”

Detmer also runs a hunting business on the side. However, it isn't a fully functioning operation. He does it on his ranch in south Texas, and the intention is not to get rich, rather just pay for the upkeep of the ranch. He relies on word of mouth for business. If you, or someone you know, would be interested in hunting on his ranch, you can send an email to: tdetmer@austin.rr.com.

Ty Detmer also spends his time giving back to others. He has organized some events in the past to raise money for the BYU athletics program. He has also helped raise money for family trust funds when his former teammates have suffered untimely deaths. Detmer participates in other people's charity events, such as golf tournaments and dinners, just to name a few.

Detmer explains that former BYU running back Stacey Corley (1987-1990), “talked me into putting my name on the youth football league in Grants, New Mexico, so they have the Detmer Youth Football League. I go out there every summer with some other celebrity type people and we do a fundraiser and football camp for the kids out there and raise some money for equipment and the league out there.”

BYU
As a high school coach, Ty can directly influence the recruiting process for his players. How will he approach referring and directing D1 talented players to BYU?

“They have to be the right kind of kid, the right fit for BYU.” Detmer explained, “I am happy to help out kids to go wherever they want to go, and if they are interested in BYU, I have experience there and can fill him in on what it is like, and I know the coaching staff. You don't want to bring someone somewhere they don't want to be or don't fit. It is kind of a tricky situation.”

Ty also told me that Brandon Doman has contacted him in the past to ask him about Texas prospects, pick his brain, and get his feedback.

Besides being leaned on for recruiting help, how much involvement does Detmer have with the football program?

“Not that much. Bronco [Mendenhall] is great when you come into town. He lets you in to the team meeting or attend the position meetings.” Detmer continued, “I am down here, don't get up there very often. I am glad they are going independent, so I can see them on TV a lot more.”

Four months ago, Detmer's name continually surfaced as a possible new BYU assistant football coach. Ty sightings were being reported in Utah. How much was he really involved? Did he apply? Was he interviewed? Did Bronco Mendenhall offer him a position?

Here is what Ty had to say: “You heard the rumors. I never got a call from anyone about participating, so they were all rumors. … You know, with Brandon [Doman] staying and becoming the coordinator and still coaching the quarterbacks … there wasn't an opportunity for a QB job. I know they were looking for a couple of other assistants, but I am really enjoying where I am at. It would have to be the right time at the right place and the right position for me to make a move.”

Does that right time and right place involve Mendenhall offering concessions, like no recruiting area, as Vai Sikahema suggested

“I think if you are going to do something, you should do it right, and if I could help recruiting, I would jump in both feet and do whatever was asked of me. That's part of the job, so I would want to give my best effort and do whatever was asked of me. That is not something I would go in asking. I don't see myself going in and asking for special provisions, when you are asked to go in and do a job, you want to make sure it is done right and be the best it can be.”

I wasn't surprised by that response. Detmer has never been the kind of player who played with a sense of entitlement, and besides, Bronco Mendenhall frowns on entitlement in his players. Why would he allow it in his assistants?

One of the reasons Detmer's name kept coming up as a possible coaching hire is because he was great at attacking opposing defenses. New offensive coordinator Brandon Doman explained that he and the other offensive coaches would be tweeking the Cougars offense to do just that—better attack the opposition.

When asked about what changes he would make, Detmer explained, “You have to do a good job catering to the players in the program, designing your offense around those guys. It is easy as fans to say 'you should have done this,' or 'you should have done that,' but fans are not around the players to know maybe they can't do that or the personnel is not right to do certain things. You have to cater to what you have, to work with and do the best you can with those guys, and to put them in a position to be successful. If you are not a coach and with those kids every day it is easy to sit there on the sideline and say you shouldn't do this shouldn't do that, but you really have no leg to stand on until you are around those kids everyday. I saw that first hand last year with [St. Andrews]. There were certain things I wanted to do, but couldn't because of the players we had. The fans need to realize the coaches are smart people they have been successful. Robert Anae was successful everywhere he had been, and even at BYU he was successful the first few years. One year there are changes, a new quarterback and inexperienced guys. Fans sit there and ask 'why are we doing this, why aren't we doing what we used to do?' [The coaches] know the team better than anybody, and they are trying to do the best they can with the players that they have.”

Jake Heaps

So what does Ty Detmer think about Jake Heaps?

“I think He is going to be great. Last year he really came on as the year went along and felt more and more comfortable. I think with Brandon as the quarterback coach and offensive coordinator it will be really good for him. He has all the tools. I think he is probably becoming the leader of that team, the offensive group. Going to look for bigger and better things the next years.”

Ty Detmer was the first BYU quarterback to play significantly as a freshman, but he did it with the benefit of a redshirt year. Could Detmer have started as a true freshman like Heaps did?

“Doubt it,” he said with a chuckle. “The redshirt year was good for me. … It is a big step going from high school to college.”

Detmer had 1,252 yards passing as a freshman and threw 13 touchdowns. These helped him finish with 15,031 yards passing and 121 touchdowns for his career. These are still BYU records, and they stood as NCAA records for many years, as well. Heaps passed for more yards and touchdowns than Detmer did as a freshman. Assuming Heaps plays his full four years of eligibility, he would need to average 4,239 yards passing and 36 touchdown passes each of his last three years to break Detmer's school records. Can Heaps do it?

“Playing for ¾ year, he is going to have as good a shot as anybody. He is going to be a great player, they have some talent around him. I think we will see bigger and better things from him. … He is capable of it. … With a guy like that, put it in his hands and anything can happen. He will have every opportunity to do those things. From what we've seen so far, I think he has all the tools. If he can stay healthy.”

While Heaps has done more than Ty did as a freshman, he hasn't secured a spot as one of the great BYU quarterbacks. Detmer clearly is one of those greats, and he has some advice for Jake on how to join him.

“There are a lot of quarterbacks who aren't considered in that group that did some good things. You have to endear yourself to the fans, they got to appreciate what you are doing and how you are playing, and be passionate for the game and put everything into it. I think the fans rally around that. They appreciate a guy like that.

“Look at Jimmer [Fredette] and what he is doing now with the basketball team. He is doing everything he can to get a win. With the QB there that is what people appreciate—guys who go out there and lay it on the line and do everything they can to get a win.

“It always helps to have a big game in there. … Kind of got to think that's your team somewhere in there. Kind of open people's eyes. There will be plenty of opportunity for Jake to beat some good teams, starting next year. More than anything, it is showing people passion for the game and giving everything you have, and doing everything you have to win it. And playing hard.”

Austin Road Trip Recommendations

With BYU set to play the Texas Longhorns in Austin on September 10, 2011, Ty has some recommendations for those making the trip.

“If you come to Texas you got to have barbeque.” He specifically mentioned The Salt Lick and County Line. They each have two locations in or around Austin. The Salt Lick Driftwood location is CASH ONLY payments and bring your own beverages (B.Y.O.B). You can visit the website for more information: http://www.saltlickbbq.com/. The web address for The County Line Legendary BBQ is http://www.countyline.com/.

After the BBQ, he said you have to get some of the Mexican food. No specific recommendations for the Mexican food, but he did point out that Austin is well known for having lots of good restaurants.

For those arriving for the game early, Ty said his St. Andrew's team would be playing Friday night either at home or at another private school just a mile down the road. I think it would be great if a large group of BYU fans showed up to support Ty and his team. BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL will provide all the details as the date approaches.

Reader Submitted Questions

First, let me thank everyone who submitted questions. As you can tell, some of you had questions that I was already planning to ask. From all those that were submitted, here are the two that I chose.

Q: What was your personal checklist or system for reading defenses before each snap?

TY: “Start with the safety. Where are the safeties? If they are tighter to the line, it normally meant blitz. If one was back it was a single safety, if two were back, they can roll into a single safety, they can play two deep, they can play zone weak. It always started with the safety, where ever they aligned. Tried to get a pre-snap read of what the coverage would be and then the corners. Are they playing up, press coverage, are they off, can we get a quick pass in? Check your linebackers from there. Are they close to the line—potential blitz look? Are they off some in a normal alignment? Start with the safeties and work your way in from there.”

Q: You are offered a position as an offensive coach under Brandon Doman. (You can name the position.) Do you accept?

TY: “Really don't know at this point. It would depend on the situation, what position I would be. I would strongly consider it. If there was a place I was going to come up to coach college football, BYU would definitely be my first choice. Would definitely consider it and look at it and see if it was the right fit.”

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

Other recent posts on BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL:
Friday Highlights: Brigham Young Cougars Greatest Hits
Thursday Trivia: Tackles by the 1996 Linebackers
Flashback: Living Large at Linebacker
Poll Results: Which new coach will have the biggest first year impact?
Brigham Young Cougars Spring Mid-Terms

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Highlights: Brigham Young Cougars Greatest Hits

This week I am going to change up the highlights a little bit. With the focus the last two days on linebackers, the highlights will be of what linebackers do best—hit people.

BYU Greatest Football Hits

This set of highlights even includes some Shay Muirbrook.

Enjoy!

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com