Friday Mailbag: Spring Practice Questions, James Lark, and More Big Bodies

Welcome to the Friday Mailbag where once a week I answer your questions and respond to your comments about Brigham Young Cougars football. As a quick reminder, there are three ways to submit a question:

1. Email:
2. Twitter: @BlueCougarFball and use #BCFmailbag
3. Leave a comment at the end of a BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL article.

On to the mailbag.

I know it has been only a couple of days, but what are your initial thoughts about the BYU spring practice and what the team is doing?

I like what I am seeing so far. I have learned to not put too much weight on what happens during the spring. There is still so much time between now and the start of the season that a lot of things change. Suffice it to say I think BYU got off on the right foot. The players seem to have the right attitude, and I like how the coaches are throwing in some new wrinkles to keep the players on their toes.


This spring doesn’t have the same buzz for me as in years past. I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing, but my interest to follow it as closely as before is not there.

I don’t think you are alone. The last few years BYU football had incredible potential, and that fueled a lot of the excitement. During 2011, BYU started to fulfill that potential. There just aren’t as many unknowns as in years past. The incoming freshman don’t have as many opportunities to compete for playing time, and the room for improvement from a 10 win season is a lot less than following a seven win season.

While the state of BYU football is good, there won’t be very many major developments this spring. I don’t think your lack of interest is a big concern. If you feel the same way in August, then there is a problem. There are plenty of reasons to be excited for the 2012 season.


Rugby players seem like a natural fit for football. I am interested to see how the Rugby guys will fit in on the team. How do you see them doing?

Running back Paul Lasike, and nose tackle Ray Forrester have an uphill battle. Lasike is a sophomore and Forrester is a junior. As rugby players, they have the required toughness, but how good is their football acumen? Given the depth that BYU has at both running back and nose tackle, they aren’t going to get the one-on-one attention they will need to make an impact.

They may make the team and have a role on special teams, which will be great for them from a personal standpoint. From a team standpoint, I don’t envision them becoming key contributors.


I think if Bronco [Mendenhall], has in fact, scraped the drop back QB roll from BYU's rich tradition past, then why would you want a pocket passer as the backup? Believe me I don't like for a minute the new direction of the offense, but you will end up with the same problem we had with Heaps and Nelson. Don't we learn from past mistakes?????

First off, James Lark is capable of running the ball. As a junior in high school, he rushed for 650 yards and seven touchdowns. He should fit in just fine with the offense adaptations.

I may be mistaken, but I don’t think the change in philosophy means that BYU has “scraped the drop back QB.” My understanding is that Coach Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Brandon Doman realize that a quarterback with mobility is an asset to the team. As such, they want to take advantage of it. This doesn’t mean BYU is going to forsake the past.

A mobile quarterback doesn’t mean he is a poor passer. Andrew Luck is very mobile, but he is heralded as the best pro prospect in the last decade. Andy Dalton was a running threat for TCU. Look what he did last year in the NFL as a rookie.

The offense will be adaptable each year around the mobility of the quarterback. There may be times that the quarterback is extremely mobile, and the offense could resemble the 2001 offense with Brandon Doman. Other years, the quarterback may have less mobility, so BYU reverts to a style of play more like 1977 and 1979 with Marc Wilson.

I think BYU is going to try and land the best quarterbacks they can. They will give preference to mobility, but when a Tanner Mangum comes along, they aren’t going to pass on him.


That was some interesting information about the “big bodies” on the BYU team last year. If anyone thinks you were insensitive to talk about those players and their weight, just ignore them. They don’t know what they are talking about. This is football and everybody knows HUGE guys are needed. It is good to be over 300 pounds. You didn’t say who was the biggest BYU player ever. I also wanted to know who was the first 300 pounder on the roster.

Victor Unga from the 2008 team is the biggest player ever. He somehow found a way to get 366 pounds on his 5’11” frame.

It wasn’t until 1982 that BYU had a player tip the scales at 300. Doug Rawlinson came to BYU from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 6’5” offensive tackle ushered in the era of 300 pounders when he weighed in at 330 pounds.

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  1. I loved what Chris Peterson at Boise State said. "All their current QB's are mobile, and by that they can use their feet to keep the play alive. We are not a QB running school. We pass the football here at BSU".


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