The Brigham Young Cougars don’t kickoff the 2012 football season for another seven and a half months. However, it isn’t too early to take a sneak peek at the next season.
The 2012 edition of the BYU Cougars could be better than the 2011 team. Despite the losing several key players, no one position group will be replacing more than two starters. Most of the replacements have contributed in the past and showed they can handle full-time duties adequately. However, I am not ready to ramp up the hype machine.
The 2011 season taught BYU a lot of valuable lessons that players and coaches need to work on to be ready for 2012. Many questions about the next edition of Cougars won't be answered until the games begin. Hopefully with the right attitude and work ethic, the 29 seniors will lead BYU to a strong start and build on what was accomplished during the first year of independence.
This sneak peek looks at the key losses, returning contributors, new players to watch, and goals for each position group in 2012. It also includes on a scale of 1 to 10 how ready each position is, today, for the 2012 season.
In the "video" below, I provide additional commentary on each position group to compliment the information below.
Key Losses: Jake Heaps
Returning Contributors: Riley Nelson
Players to Watch: James Lark
Goals: 1) Stay healthy. 2) Lead BYU to wins over the “quality” opponents on the schedule. 3) Improve accuracy. 4) Be prepared for defenses geared to stop designed QB runs.
Ready for Kickoff: 7
Key Losses: J.J. DiLuigi, Bryan Kariya
Returning Contributors: Michael Alisa, Joshua Quezada
Players to Watch: Iona Pritchard, Adam Hine, Jamaal Williams.
Goals: 1) Find a power runner to replace Kariya. 2) Find a feature back who can gain 100 yards in a game regularly and break off a 50 yard run once or twice. 3) Overcome injuries—Pritchard, Alisa, and Quezada still have questions about injuries sustained in the last six months.
Ready for Kickoff: 5
Key Losses: McKay Jacobson
Returning Contributors: Cody Hoffman, Ross Apo, JD Falslev
Players to Watch: O’Neill Chambers, Brett Thompson, Terenn Houk, Dylan Collie
Goals: 1) Give the quarterback more than one “go-to guy.” 2) Three receivers with 50 or more receptions.
Ready for Kickoff: 9
Key Losses: None
Returning Contributors: Austin Holt, Richard Wilson, Devin Mahina, Kaneakua Friel, Marcus Mathews
Players to Watch: No new tight ends will be in the mix.
Goals: 1) Stay healthy. 2) Average 4 receptions and 50 yards receiving per game as a unit. 3) Be effective in the red zone.
Ready for Kickoff: 3
Key Losses: Matt Reynolds, Terrence Brown
Returning Contributors: Braden Hansen, Houston Reynolds, Braden Brown, Walter Kahaiali’i, Ryan Freeman.
Players to Watch: Ryker Mathews, Terry Alletto
Goals: Dominate the trenches.
Ready for Kickoff: 6
Key Losses: Hebron Fangupo, Matt Putnam, Travis Tuiloma (mission), Graham Rowley (mission)
Returning Contributors: Romney Fuga, Eathyn Manumaleuna, Jordan Richardson, Mike Muehlmann
Players to Watch: Ian Dulan, Russell Tialavea
Goals: Get more pressure on the quarterback (hurries and sacks).
Ready for Kickoff: 8
Key Losses: Jordan Pendleton, Jadon Wagner, Jameson Frazier
Returning Contributors: Uona Kavainga, Brandon Ogletree, Kyle Van Noy, Spencer Hadley,
Players to Watch: Zac Stout, Austen Jorgensen, Alani Fua, Ezekiel Ansah, Uani Unga
Goals: Seal the edge better to eliminate 80-yard touchdown runs.
Ready for Kickoff: 10
Key Losses: Travis Uale, Corby Eason
Returning Contributors: Pretson Hadley, Daniel Sorensen, Joe Sampson
Players to Watch: Jordan Johnson, Mike Hague, Craig Bills
Goals: 1) Don’t let inexperienced and freshmen quarterbacks have success, especially on 3rd down. 2) Don’t give teams first downs by default with penalties. 3) Improve coverage on the deep balls.
Ready for Kickoff: 5
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