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Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Mailbag—BYU Media Day Edition: No Schedule Annoucements, Talking the Right Talk, and Tempering Expectations

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.

This week the mailbag questions are all about what happened at BYU Media Day on June 27, 2012.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

BYU Football: Did you know? (Having A 1,000 Yard Rusher)

The Brigham Young Cougars are much better known for prolific quarterbacks, but, over the last 20 years, BYU running backs have regularly broken the 1,000 yard barrier.

Mendenhall says credibility is key to BYU competing in four-team playoff


On Tuesday, June 26, 2012, a committee comprised of university presidents and conference commissioners approved plans for a four-team playoff in college football. On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, the four-team playoff was a topic of discussion at the BYU Football Media Day.  

The four-team playoff will begin in 2014 with a selection committee deciding which four teams will participate. The committee will take into consideration a team’s win/loss record, its strength of schedule, head-to-head results and whether or not the team was a conference champion.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Flashback: The 20-Year Drought Ends

The Brigham Young Cougars football team has had some pretty impressive streaks: 25 wins, 10 conference championships, and 361 games without being shutout. One streak that is not impressive is the number of years BYU went without a 1,000 yard rusher. Twenty years ago, BYU’s drought of 1,000 yard rushers came to an end.

Poll Results: Which BYU tight end will have the best season?

Brigham Young Cougars junior tight end Austin Holt received the most votes (47%), followed by fellow junior Richard Wilson (32%). Coming off a neck injury that caused him to miss all of 2011, Devin Mahina received 13% of the vote. Kaneakua Friel received the remaining 8%.

Before disclosing who I think will have the best season, let me make it clear that I think BYU is in a good position to have its next great tight end tandem with Austin Holt and Richard Wilson.

Of those two, I think Wilson will have the better season.

Monday, June 25, 2012

BYU's New "Missionary Advantage"

In May, it was Phil Ford making headlines as a recent convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was now interested in playing college football for the Brigham Young Cougars because of his new faith. This month it is Calvin Johnson, Jr. making those same headlines.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Mailbag: Recruiting Review, Chip Brown’s Comments, Top 10 BYU Freshmen Omissions, and the 1984 UPI Poll Results

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.

Top 10 BYU Freshmen: #1-Harvey Unga

Editor’s Note: A list of honorable mention freshmen is included below in the comments section. Some readers have emailed about players omitted from the list. They will be addressed in the Friday Mailbag later today.

The unwritten rule for Timpview High School football players is that they stay in Provo, Utah, and play football for the Brigham Young Cougars. Therefore, it was not a question of if, but when, Harvey Unga would play for BYU. The answer to that question was "longer than expected," but Unga’s redshirt freshman year in 2007 was well worth the wait.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

BYU Football: Did you know? (Top Individual Marks)

The Brigham Young Cougars Athletic Department has worked hard to put together an almanac for the football program. Part of that almanac is a section entitled “BYU Football Top Individual Marks.” This part of the almanac tracks the Top 10 marks for individual BYU players in several different statistical categories.

It has been a great resource for the Top 10 BYU Freshman list. While looking at these lists of top individual marks in a single season, I have noticed BYU has “rewrote the record book” since the year 2000.

Top 10 BYU Freshmen: #2-Ronney Jenkins

Even before Ronney Jenkins put Hueneme High School on the map by rushing for 619 yards in a single game, the Brigham Young Cougars’ coaches had identified Jenkins as a player they wanted to have. Their early recruiting efforts paid off. Once he finished school in 1996, Jenkins left Port Hueneme, California and used his 4.3 40-yard dash speed to get to Provo, Utah as fast as he could.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Top 10 BYU Freshmen: #3-Randy Brock


The Brigham Young Cougars were not the biggest name school recruiting Randy Brock out of Madison High School. UCLA, Arizona, and Alabama all wanted the 6-foot-6, 260 pound defensive prospect. In the late 1980s, virtually nobody in Rexburg, Idaho would pick anywhere, but BYU, to play.

Poll Results: Should BYU be ranked in the pre-season AP or USA Today Top 25?


In a few weeks when the pre-season Top 25 rankings debut, the Brigham Young Cougars should be one of those top teams according to 57 percent of voters in last week’s poll. Another 37 percent of voters felt the opposite and voted that BYU should not be ranked in the major pre-season polls. The remaining six percent of voters were undecided.

If I had a ballot for either the AP or USA Today Top 25, BYU would be on it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top 10 BYU Freshmen: #4-Austin Collie


There was nothing new about the headline “Collie signs with the Brigham Young Cougars” in 2004 when Oak Ridge High School wide receiver Austin Collie signed his letter of intent. On the surface, the prospect from El Dorado Hills, California was simply continuing the family tradition started by his father Scott in 1978 and kept alive by his brother Zac in 2000. Just a few months later, it was obvious this newest Collie was a chip off the old block, and then some. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Top 10 BYU Freshmen: #5-Mike Morgan

Despite growing up in Salt Lake City and starring at Brighton High School, Mike Morgan never imagined he would play for the Brigham Young Cougars. Being thrust into the lineup as a freshman in 1979 was, in a word, “SCARY!”

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Mailbag: Mark Atuaia Hire, BYU vs. Utah on ESPN2, Brayden Kearsley’s Antics, and Redshirt Freshmen

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.

Top 10 BYU Freshmen: #6-David Nixon

They say football is a religion in Texas. After graduating from A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, Texas, David Nixon apostatized. Rather than stay in Texas to play collegiate football, he chose to play for the Brigham Young Cougars at the school sponsored by his “other” religion.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Top 10 BYU Freshmen: #7-Luke Staley

When running back Luke Staley graduated from Tualatin High School, he left Tualatin, Oregon and followed in his brother Dustin’s footsteps by joining the Brigham Young Cougars football team. Once he was on the team, the younger Staley was determined to blaze his own trail. He didn’t waste any time, either.

BYU Football: Did you know? (Win-Loss Record With and Without Luke Staley)

Typically, a the quarterback is the player that is associated with a team's win-loss record. From 1999-2001, a running back seems to have had a great impact on the Brigham Young Cougars' win-loss record.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Top 10 BYU Freshmen: #8-Jamal Willis

On a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, the Brigham Young Cougars coaches were feeling lucky. They rolled the dice and offered a scholarship to a running back from Bonanza High School. After his true freshman in 1991, the BYU coaches knew they had hit the jackpot with Jamal Willis.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top 10 BYU Freshmen: #9-Greg Pitts

Greg Pitts took his time to join the Brigham Young Cougars football team following an outstanding prep career at Timpview High School in Provo, UT. He graduated high school in 1987, but missionary service in New Jersey prevented him from joining the team until 1990. Pitts redshirted that season. No wonder Pitts was superb when he finally got his chance to play in 1991.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Top 10 BYU Freshmen: #10-Cody Hoffman

The annual BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL Top 10 list is here. The 2012 college football season marks the 40th anniversary of the NCAA lifting its ban on freshman playing varsity football. Therefore, this year BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL will count down the top 10 Brigham Young Cougars freshmen football players since 1972.

Each day, Monday through Friday, over the next two weeks, one freshman will be revealed until we reach number 1 on June 22.

A precise formula wasn’t used to arrive at the Top 10. Several criteria were evaluated in the judgment process. A lot of emphasis was placed on a player’s statistics, except for special teams stats. Freshmen, traditionally, play a lot on special teams. When they become upperclassmen and have an expanded role on offense or defense they are moved off of special teams. Therefore, a freshman could not make the top 10 solely on exceptional special teams play. The rule of thumb that I used was 2 kickoff/punt return yards = 1 rushing/receiving yard. Other factors considered included injuries, post-season honors, and whether the player was a redshirt freshman or true freshman.

On to number 10.

Poll Results: Will Cody Hoffman have 1,000 yards receiving this season?

Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Cody Hoffman will have 1,000 yards receiving in 2012 according to 79% of voters. The remaining votes were split 15% “No” and 6% “Undecided.”

I am going to side with the majority and vote “Yes.”

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Mailbag: A Rivalry with Notre Dame, Phil Ford’s Mission Decision, and Pete Van Valkenburg: What if …?

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.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

BYU Football: Did you know? (Six 100 Yard Rushing Games)

Brigham Young Cougars running back Pete Van Valkenburg may be the only BYU running back to ever lead the nation in rushing yards in a season, but he is not the only one to post six 100 yard rushing games in a single season.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Who Replaces Utah as BYU’s New Archrival?

It is sounding more and more likely that the Brigham Young Cougars and the Utah Utes will not continue their rivalry on the football field after the 2012 season. While the Cougars and Utes will continue to be rivals off the field, BYU and Utah can’t be considered archrivals if they don’t play each other every year. Who will become BYU’s new archrival?

Flashback: The Nation’s Unexpected Leading Rusher

Every football season has its share of unexpected events. Riley Nelson taking over the starting quarterback duties, and Michael Alisa becoming the number one running back are two such events for the Brigham Young Cougars from the 2011 season. One unexpected event 40 years ago was so great that no one at BYU has ever replicated it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Poll Results: How many games will BYU win in 2012?

In a very close race, 11 wins (30%) edged out 10 wins (29%) for the number of games the Brigham Young Cougars football team will win in 2012. A perfect 13-0 tied with 9 wins (14%) for third place, followed by 12 wins (6%), 8 wins (4%), and 7 and 6 or less wins each receiving 1.5% of the vote.

I get the feeling BYU will win 11 games.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Mailbag: Joe DuPaix in Atlanta, High School Coaching Changes, and BYU Recruit in the Bayou

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.