At 4-4, a cloud of disappointment is hanging over the Brigham Young Cougars 2012 season. No one in the BYU fan base will tell you this is one of the better Cougar football teams. This didn’t stop upcoming opponent Georgia Tech’s head coach from showering praise on BYU.
From his opening statements to the second to last question, Paul Johnson found something very positive to say about BYU every time the Cougars came up.
In his opening statements, Johnson said BYU would be a “huge challenge.” He called BYU a “really, really good football team.” Johnson thinks the Cougars are “a big physical team.” He made sure to include that BYU was “well-coached and playing very well.”
When asked about playing a non-conference game at the end of October, Johnson couldn’t stop from throwing two more compliments BYU’s way.
Johnson said, “I haven’t thought that much about it; they’re just the next team on the schedule and they’re very good so you just get ready to play them. You’d rather play non-conference upfront, but certainly they have a good football team so it will be a challenge.”
When it comes to the BYU defense, Johnson really let loose. How can you blame him? The BYU defense is “top 10 in just about every defensive category.”
That was no hyperbole. Even after the lackluster showings against Notre Dame and
, BYU ranks nationally as follows: Oregon State
- Scoring Defense: 8th,
- Rushing Defense: 8th,
- Passing Defense: 17th,
- Total Defense: 4th,
- Sacks: 7th,
- Tackles-for-loss: 6th,
- Opponents First Downs: 7th,
- Opponents Third Down Conversions: 7th,
- Opponents Red Zone Conversions: 3rd.
What may have been hyperbole was his assessment of Ezekiel Ansah.
“They’ve got the defensive end, Ezekiel Ansah, he is a heck of an athlete and is probably a first round draft pick,” Johnson said.
The bottom line is the BYU defense has caught Johnson’s eye.
Johnson gushed, “I think they’re big and physical upfront, and so they can stop the run with just the front seven, they don’t have to use the secondary. Then they give you a lot of looks and they get you in third and long, a lot of blitzes, a lot of zone fires, a lot of things that way. They’re good tacklers. … They’ve got guys that can rush the passer, they can get pressure with three or four, and then they’re able to drop into coverage and teams haven’t been able to run at all so they get them in a lot of long yardage situations.”
Johnson also had very complimentary things to say about quarterback Riley Nelson (click here).
The Cougars haven’t just caught Johnson’s eye on the field, they've done it off the field also.
“They’ll pass the look test,” Johnson noted. “I played them many times when I was at the
and you won’t play many teams that look
better getting off the bus than BYU.” University of Hawaii
after the 1994 season, but 18 years
later, he is still impressed with how BYU looked getting off the bus. Hawaii
Now that’s one good (looking) team.