Friday Mailbag: Max Hall the Coach, Where Ezekiel Ansah should play, O’Neill Chambers Gone for Good, and BYU’s “drop” in the rankings

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.

Great to see Max [Hall] back at BYU. I think he can have a huge impact coaching Riley [Nelson] this year. Very smart move by BYU. Hope he can stay a long time.

This is an excellent move by BYU. Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman needs some help. Coaching quarterbacks is too demanding to also be tasked with coordinating the offense. Nelson has already shared how just one day with Hall during spring practices was invaluable.

Hall isn’t the biggest guy and doesn’t have the strongest arm, so he was forced to focus on doing everything right to succeed. He should be ready to now teach what he has learned to someone else.

Long term, I don’t know if Hall is the best answer. BYU is moving to a different offense than what Hall ran at BYU. The Cougars are also recruiting quarterbacks with a different skill set than Hall. It might be better to find someone who was a dual-threat quarterback in college to coach the quarterbacks.


Forget [Ezekiel] Ansah on [Notre Dame TE Tyler] Eifert. Have Ziggy rush the QB and have Kyle Van Noy or [Alani] Fua pick up the ND TE. They are almost as tall and significantly better coverage guys. Ziggy’s not bad, but pass rushing is a better use of his abilities.

I completely agree. I never have understood the idea of Ansah at linebacker, but the BYU roster lists him as a linebacker, so I have to include him in the linebacker preview.

At 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds and with his track speed, there is only one place for him: on the defensive line. He should be as close as possible to the opponent’s backfield so he can get into there and start causing havoc the moment the ball is snapped. Not to mention, BYU is loaded with depth at outside linebacker, but void of almost any kind of pass rush from the defensive line.

Additionally, a little over two years ago, Ziggy knew nothing about football. Playing on the line would be better because it is a little less complicated than playing linebacker. Trying to learn one position is hard enough. Learning two compounds the problem that he is just a novice.


I am bothered to see O’Neill Chambers not invited to camp. So much work and effort to make it back all for nothing. It would be nice to see more of these kids who come to BYU, but don’t exactly fit the mold, have success here. Drew Phillips, Joshua Quezada, and now Chambers all gone in a one year span.

This was very disappointing news. I am reaching out to my sources to try and get more details about the situation.

Some people have wondered why many BYU fans are so concerned about whether Chambers plays again for BYU. Besides special teams, he really didn’t contribute very much. In my opinion, this attitude from BYU fans is a sign that they are concerned about more than football. Yes, they want the players to do well on the field, but they also want to see players have good, happy lives. When a scholarship athlete is kicked off the team and not allowed to come back, it usually is a sign that something is wrong.

I, too, wish this story had a different ending.


I think preseason rankings are a joke. An even bigger joke is the fact that they can play a major role in determining who goes where at the end of the season, since after the first few weeks, your ranking is largely in the hands of those who happen to be ahead of you thanks to preseason assumptions. I think it is pretty unheard of for a team to finish ranked, retain all key players, and all of the sudden drop 11 spots in the rankings going into the next season. If ND was ranked 25, and had the same amount of returning players, I can guarantee you they would not have dropped.

I like the rankings, even in the preseason, but I agree they are imperfect. The real problem, in my mind, is that the voters are unwilling to reevaluate their rankings and make major overhauls after the season starts.

The fact that BYU “dropped” 11 spots while retaining all key players from a year ago is just another manifestation of the perpetual fight for respect that BYU faces. It is not like BYU wasn’t far from beating Texas last year, yet the Longhorns check in at number 15. Texas returns fewer starters than BYU, and they still have questions at quarterback. If BYU continues to schedule teams nationally, and starts winnings these games, then we could see some dramatic changes in BYU’s preseason poll position.

Notre Dame is another great example. The Fighing Irish didn’t finish 2011 ranked, but find themselves number 24. Like Texas, the most important position on the team is not settled. I guess voters decided to give them credit for having most of their starters return.

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  1. "I guess voters decided to give them credit for having most of their starters return."

    I guess voters decided to give them credit for the fact that their names are "Notre Dame" and "Texas." Name recognition and program reputation are way bigger factors in preseason rankings than previous year's performance. And we have a ways to go before the BYU brand is recognized as anything but a very strong mid-major.

    1. Agreed.

      That is exactly the point I was trying to convey by contrasting BYU with those two schools.

      Even Boise State doesn't have that respect yet. Other schools that haven't had near the same success recently (Michigan State) lost their QB and other players, but they don't sink as far as the Broncos did.

  2. The reason Ziggy is a linebacker is because in BYU's scheme the defensive end is a run stopper, not a pass rusher. A fact that ruined any hope of Jan Jorgensen getting a shot at the NFL. Ziggy would be much better off in a 4-3 defense. BYU doesn't often get players with size and speed like Ziggy's, so the 3-4 makes sense most of the time.


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