Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Mailbag: New Uniforms, O’Neill Chambers making a difference, Joshua Quezada’s transfer, BYU’s best running back, and A rivalry with Wisconsin?

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.

Please tell me they are getting new uniforms. I think fashion is huge in college football. I mean who really would wear a Boise State hat outside of Boise? If BYU isn’t revamping their uniforms will they take ideas from the fans?

The last thing I heard about new uniforms was Athletic Director Tom Holmoe confirming that BYU and Nike are working on something. This was in response to a photo from a team meeting of black uniforms with blue trim finding its way onto the Internet. Holmoe said BYU would publicize any new uniforms when they were completed, and that no timetable was in place. My take on the situation is that it is a question of when, not if.

If new uniforms is that important to you, then, I guess, it is always worth a try to reach out to BYU with your ideas/preferences. BYU has showed it is willing to listen to the fans on other issues (student section seating). As noted, BYU has a contract with Nike, and the Swoosh would have to agree. I don’t know how willing they are to accept a fan suggestion.

*****

O’Neill Chambers should make a huge difference. I hope that [Bronco] Mendenhall has truly reconciled with Chambers. I really admire the quality of African-American athletes showing up at BYU. Let’s face it, BYU, with its high academic standards and its honor code is in a field of its own compared to other colleges that will offer anything to its star athletes. … O’Neill has gone through the Mendenhall school of repentance, I hope he is allowed to become the defensive secondary player we have lacked for years! If he has the timing anywhere near Brian Logan, this year may be the best defense ever for the Cougs. I really hope that “building character” goes hand in hand with developing the talent of these players. [LaVell] Edwards obviously found ways to get these non-conforming athletes to shine and even shielded them.

Chambers has traveled a long road, and it would be very nice to see him rewarded. I know he lost his scholarship in 2011 while he redshirted and worked things out. Maybe with Joshua Quezada transferring, Chambers can have that scholarship.

I was very impressed with Chambers in the spring, especially with his reps being limited by a hamstring pull the first day of practices. I am having a hard time figuring out where he will fit into the defensive backfield. Preston Hadley and Daniel Sorensen are returning starters. Joe Sampson saw a lot of playing time last year, and will probably assume Travis Uale’s role. Jordan Johnson appears to have the inside track on the other cornerback position. Maybe if Chambers continues to impress in fall camp, he can be the nickel back.

*****

Thank you for a fair and supportive blog on the Quezada transfer. It was very well done: appreciative and respectful.

So many fans on Cougarboard could learn how to deliver a classy good-bye from you.

Well, thank you for the kind words. More than one person told me they found a lot of negative reaction on Cougarboard to Quezada’s decision to transfer. Conversely, I also heard from more than one person that a lot of posters were positive and supportive towards “Juice.”

News like this can be very upsetting, especially this close to the season. For some, they get so emotionally invested in seeing certain players succeed, they can feel like a family member let them down. Those feelings can be expressed in ways that come off sounding harsher than intended. I don’t think anyone has strong negative feelings towards him.

The bottom line is he left the comforts of his California, teenage life to come to a completely different place. How many of us could do the same?

*****

And [J.J. Di Luigi] did all of this never being the best running back BYU had at the time. That’s where my frustration and most fans frustrations of him came in. Other players should have gotten his touches.

TCU might disagree with you. Against the best defense BYU faced in 2011, Di Luigi had 69 yards on 11 carries. No other BYU running back was even close. His 6.3 yards per carry average was 2.5 yards better than anyone else on the team.

I am not going to take a definitive position on whether Di Luigi was the best running back on the Cougars roster from 2010-11. That is impossible to say. However, I think he did do enough to earn the respect of BYU fans.

Timing is key in football. The success or failure of many players has been determined more by being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. Take John Beck’s NFL career as an example of being in the wrong places at the wrong times.

Based on the numbers from 2010, I don’t think it is unreasonable to say Di Luigi would have had 1,200 yards rushing that season if Joshua Quezada had redshirted that year, hurt his ankle exactly one year earlier, hadn’t come to BYU at all, or just came a year later. Only four BYU players have ever rushed for 1,200 yards in a season. Di Luigi would have been in select company, and no one would even consider criticizing him.

In 2011, Di Luigi may have been the biggest victim of the coaches’ overconfidence in Jake Heaps and subsequent neglect of the run game. With Quezada nursing his sore ankle in fall camp, Di Luigi would have gotten a lot more reps and could have started the season better, which would have never allowed Alisa to get the carries he got.

*****

A rivalry with Wisconsin? Call me crazy, but I don’t see anything to justify that Wisconsin wants to be rivals with BYU. I guess since it was included in the BYU press release that Tom Holmoe approves conveying this notion to the public. He has been involved in all the talks and would have had that removed from the press release if it was inaccurate.

First, let me repeat the cardinal rule of rivalries: they cannot be forced.

I wish I knew all the reasons why this game is being framed as the possible birth of a rivalry. Is it an emotional overreaction to Holmoe scheduling a team he beat as a player over 30 years ago? Is it manipulation of the fact that Wisconsin’s coach played for Iowa in 1991 when BYU tied the top 10 ranked Hawkeyes in the Holiday Bowl? Maybe this comes from sensationalizing the recruiting battle between BYU and Wisconsin for the son of former BYU linebacker Rocky Biegel, who also played in that 1991 Holiday Bowl.

These could all be sub-plots in a rivalry, but none are strong enough to create a rivalry. It would mostly depend on the two fan bases investing enough emotion into the series. With such little history between the two schools and being a very large distance apart, it seems very unlikely that a real rivalry would ever develop.

Then again, who is Wisconsin’s rival? Michigan and Ohio State are off the table. Michigan State has its own rivalry with Michigan as well. Minnesota and Northwestern are the closest Big Ten teams, but neither one of them are competitive enough to make it appealing. Maybe the fans are looking for a team to call their rival. Over the last ten years, Wisconsin hasn’t played one opponent, consistently, at the end of the year.

I think calling it a rivalry, or even a rivalry in the making, is premature at this point. On the other hand, why not give it everything it needs to develop? BYU fans are already accustom to hating the color red.

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

3 comments:

  1. No way Wisconsin fans want a rivalry with BYU. There's no reason for it. The only way it would work is if we go to their house, beat the crap out of them, and all the BYU fans attending the game make an arse of themselves while there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If BYU fans want a rivalry with UW they need to show up in droves at Camp Randall, cheer like crazies, and hope for a win.

    ReplyDelete
  3. and tear down their goal posts after we win the game in their house.

    ReplyDelete