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Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Mailbag: Future BYU-Utah Games, Billy Green’s Quote, and More Rushing Yardage Stats

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

On to the mailbag.

I appreciate your positive approach to reporting the news this week about the BYU-Utah rivalry. This is two more games that we all thought we would not get just a few weeks ago.

I try to be a glass half-full kind of guy. With all the banter about the rivalry ending over the last two years, I was fully prepared to play the 2013 season without Utah on the schedule. For me, this announcement was good news. BYU and Utah would play two more times in the immediate to near future. It isn’t perfect having to skip 2014 and 2015, but the future of the rivalry looks better now than a week ago.

*****

1. A bad comparison ... with a lame article! Billy Green isn't a play me or I'll leave QB!

2. Jake Heaps' problem was his personality and work ethic, not his home state. 2 different kids. I'm not worried. Actually, this post borders on irresponsible to me, but I will take it as entertainment and not go that far.

Let me make this very clear: The piece entitled “Will BYU QB Commit Billy Green be Jake Heaps 2.0?” was in no way, neither overt nor veiled, an attempt to attack the character of Billy Green or Jake Heaps. Having never spoken to either one, that would be absolutely crazy for me to do. I thought statements like “I am not saying it was a bad decision for BYU to offer Green. Conversely, I am also not saying it was a bad decision for Green to commit to BYU” and “With all due respect to Green and Heaps” made that clear. I guess I was wrong.

Character assassination was not my M.O. in this case and it never has been or will be.

I understand that being “Jake Heaps 2.0” carries a negative connotation, but it is for these two reasons: Heaps didn’t deliver on the field, and the BYU coaches mismanaged the situation. It is way to early to talk about how Green, or Taysom Hill and Tanner Mangum for that matter, might perform in Cougar blue. However, given what we know from Brandon Gurney’s article and the BYU quarterback situation, some observations can be made about how the BYU coaches appear to be managing the situation. That was my intent.

Maybe the headline should have been “Are BYU Coaches repeating the same mistakes made three years ago?” which is how I presented it on Twitter. Headlines serve two purposes: introduce the contents of the article, and grab the attention of the readers to make them want to read the rest. Since I have never criticized Heaps’ character, I didn’t think the article would be received as an attack on Green or Heaps if I used the headline that I did. Readers of the site would know I haven’t labeled Heaps as a bad person. Therefore, I wouldn’t be implying Green had character issues.

*****

Whoa. Your points are valid but the premise is false. They didn’t say he would start 3 or 4 years. They stressed the fact he will be in the program for 4-5 years consecutively, to develop, since he is non-LDS. With no mission he is a valuable asset at the QB position if he develops.

I considered those ideas, but even they have flaws, in my opinion.

1. I never knew BYU considered serving a mission a bad thing for quarterbacks. Riley Nelson is going on his fourth consecutive year in the program. Max Hall and John Beck were both in the program four consecutive years. Looking forward, Taysom Hill has the potential to be in the program five consecutive years. I know Brandon Doman was the first return missionary to have any appreciable success at quarterback for BYU, but BYU appears to have overcome that hurdle the last decade.

2. Yes, “play” and “start” have different meanings, but for a quarterback to “play” and to “start” are, essentially, one in the same. The same player plays all of the meaningful snaps at quarterback. In high school, I was on the football team. I lettered three times. I struggle with the question, “What position did you play?” My typical response is, “I was one of the quarterbacks.” For all the work and sweat I put into it, and as much as I would like to say I did, I don’t really consider that I played quarterback in high school, because I never took a meaningful snap in a varsity football game. Yes, I was a member of the team and contributed to the success we had, but I didn’t really play. Maybe this is all semantics, but …

3. Many high school quarterbacks are looking for a situation where they can start as soon as possible. That is the trend, especially for the kids who have invested the time to get specialized training at a place like the Barton camp. Again, please understand, I am not saying this attitude and perspective reflects poorly on these kids. Confidence is one of the most important attributes of a successful quarterback. You want a guy who thinks he can come in and be a legitimate contender for the starting spot if none of the other guys have a substantial amount of game experience.

Anyways, this is still just more inconclusive speculation bringing up ideas that people who love football can discuss, as was the original article. I see no harm in that.

*****

1. If that were the only goal, then I would agree that it's not statistically relevant. However, at least 5 of those games, TOs played a major factor in off-setting those Rushing Yards.

2. What is BYU's record when it rushes for over 100 yards in a game v. their record when they don't rush for 100 yards in a game? This would be a more telling statistics.

The more I think about it and discuss with others, the more questions arise. Many games BYU has won have been blowouts: 42-7, 54-3, etc. For the final quarter, all BYU does is run the ball. The final box score says BYU had 122 yards rushing, but how many rushing yards did BYU really need to put the game away? How many came after BYU abandoned the pass? After the starters were pulled and the only reason the game kept going was because the rule book doesn’t include a mercy rule?

What about the flip side? What is BYU’s record when holding opponents to less than 100 yards rushing?

In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 34-4 in games that the opponent has rushed for less than 100 yards. That is a winning percentage of 89.4% Three of those four losses were games where BYU did not rush for 100 yards (Utah 2010, Arizona 2006, Notre Dame 2005). A full detailed list can be found here.

Maybe the best thing to do is merge the two and talk about rushing for 100 yards and holding opponents to less than 100 yards rushing. The only time that has failed to produce a win in the last seven seasons is the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl versus Arizona (116 yards rushing, 91 yards allowed).

Blending offensive and defensive stats to predict success would make sense. This is a team game.

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

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