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Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Mailbag: Three Team Captains, BYU and the AP Top 25, Tight End Turbulence, and that “Absurd” Heisman Trophy Question

A quick programming note. With the start of the 2012 football season next week, the Friday Mailbag will move to Wednesday. The first Wednesday edition will be September 5.

The mailbag will still 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.

What is up with Bronco [Mendenhall]? Why is he always doing something unconventional with the captains? Just two in 2010. Three in 2012. I understand everyone has a different way to do things, but this just rubs me the wrong way. He has gone too far outside the box with his toying around with something that has so little influence on winning one or two more games each year.

Should we be surprised, at this point? Mendenhall is going to be Mendenhall and do things his own way. The three captains represent one special teams player (David Foote), one offensive player (Riley Nelson), and one defensive player (Brandon Ogletree). While four is the traditional amount, it is hard to add a fourth if captains are seen to represent each phase of the game, as opposed to the entire team.

Looking through the lens of coaching to build young men, then it is perplexing that a coach wouldn’t use the maximum number possible. Four captains would allow one more player the opportunity to lead and represent. By having just two or three, it can seem like Mendenhall is using the team captain label as an award, as opposed to an opportunity.

I don’t really mind how many captains Mendenhall chooses as long as the team doesn’t lack in leadership to be their best. In 2010, the team really appeared to lack leadership. It really made you wonder how the team attitude might have improved if guys like Vic So’oto and McKay Jacobson were also team captains and the empowerment that brings.

Let’s hope 2012 doesn’t give the same feeling.

*****

If BYU loses to Utah, BSU, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech, the ranking makes sense. When BYU beats these teams, we will see BYU propel in the rankings. BYU's 2011 schedule had a lot to do with the 10-3 record. Note that Texas' and Florida's rankings are based on recent recruiting. The rankings analysis in this story is very superficial.

Perhaps the superficial analysis is sign of how superficial the preseason rankings are? It is hard at this juncture to say BYU should be ahead of Team A because 1) BYU beat Team A, 2) BYU has a better record, or 3) BYU wins their games resoundingly, but Team A plays sloppy and is lucky to win each week.

Poll voters have to resort to recruiting rankings, a coach’s reputation, returning starters, and what the team’s record was last year.

I agree about the ranking making sense if BYU loses to its four opponents ranked ahead of it, which is why I wrote it three weeks ago when the USA Today Poll came out. I didn’t want to repeat myself, so I left it out the second time around.

*****

What has happened to BYU’s tight end tradition? It used to be one of the most consistent positions on the team. [Marcus] Mathews works hard all off season to add weight and now he has to lose it all, even though he won’t play. [Terenn] Houk had shown some flashes at wide receiver. Now he has to learn a new position. This tight end turbulence is troubling.

I feel the frustration. This latest move is mysterious and exacerbates the disappointments the last two years.

Just like BYU is still feeling some reverberations from not having an heir apparent ready at quarterback following 2009, the troubles at tight end result from not having anyone ready for the time Dennis Pitta and Andrew George left. BYU didn’t lack of bodies, but experience. Five tight ends is fine, but not five freshmen.

Three years later why are we still unfulfilled with the TE situation? One, injuries. Progress was being made last year, but injuries that Austin Holt and Richard Wilson are still recovering from derailed their growth. Two, the wide receivers are better. BYU doesn’t need to depend on the tight end as much as years past.

I don’t expect either player to contribute much this year at their new positions. Mathews is now overweight and slow for his position, not to mention at the bottom of a competitive depth chart. Houk is undersized. How fast can he add weight and learn his new assignments?

Just one more time we have to trust the coaches.

*****

I honestly think this is an absolutely absurd question. However, you made a great case that [Kyle] Van Noy really is a playmaker like no other, and he has a different feel for the game. One BYU fans haven't seen in a long time on his side of the ball. Not even with the amazing linebackers that have come through this school. So I do appreciate you bringing to light what he accomplished last season. When he turns into beast mode, it seems like nobody can stop him.

Yes, it is absurd, and I am glad you saw the true intent.

As the BYU defense continues to improve, I am understanding better the value of great defensive players. They can be just as fun to watch as an explosive offensive player. Specific to KVN, you never know what he is going to do to change the game, but you can be sure he will do something.

It doesn’t have to be Heisman attention, but I really want him to get the attention he deserves. He is a special player/talent.

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

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