Friday Mailbag: Grade Inflation, Joe DuPaix, and International Games

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.

Wow I wish you were my teacher at BYU. You are way too generous with the grades. The offensive line was injured and the backups played poorly and from what I read the offense was unable to hardly produce anything. You pointed out that the running backs are not able to catch the ball and you still gave them a B-.

I admit I did give the offense some leeway considering all the injuries. The injuries and their resulting ineffectiveness dominated the headlines, which overshadowed the good that the offense accomplished. The offense was able to score several touchdowns on the defense during the spring. The regularity of the scoring could have been better, but the offense wasn’t completely inept.

Joshua Quezada was able to regain some confidence. James Lark earned the confidence of his teammates that he can do the job if needed. Lesser known wide receivers stepped up and earned some respect.

I didn’t say the running back “are not able to catch the ball.” I just pointed out that they don’t appear to be integrated into the passing attack. The back out of the backfield was a hallmark of the BYU passing attack for many years. Why that element would be abandoned, even with great receiving talents on the outside, perplexes me.

I don’t interpret a B- grade as being something good. When BYU steps on the field, I expect to see an A or A- offense. Anything less is unacceptable. Maybe that led to a little grade inflation, as well.


[Joe] DuPaix has been successful at Navy with the backs, which is equivalent to the type of backs BYU gets. In addition he is a great recruiter, so he has earned his stripes IMO.

I am not going to jump to any conclusions about DuPaix, or any coach. You can’t deny the success he had at Navy, but that hasn’t materialized into much at BYU, yet. What I saw in year one was J.J. Di Luigi’s production drop nearly 400 yards. Bryan Kariya’s production fell over 200 yards. No running back had over 100 yards rushing in a game in 2011.

The running game struggles and drop in production last year were the result of many factors. I am not putting all the blame on DuPaix, but I am not exonerating him, either.


That was a good exercise in math for Riley Nelson’s career passing yards, but that is all that it was. I just don’t see how he is going to pass for over 3000 yards, even if he stays healthy. He might get 3000 yards of total offense, but not passing.

I can agree that the 3,105 yards needed to reach the number 12 spot isn’t guaranteed, but I like the odds. Consistency will be the key. Averaging 238.8 yards per game doesn’t sound difficult, however, BYU hasn’t had a 400 yard passing game since the first game of the 2008 season. It has been nearly five years since the last 500 yard passing game. In fact, Max Hall had four games with less than 238 yards passing his senior year. Additionally, BYU has had just two 300-yard passing games the last two years.

The point is it isn’t likely that Nelson can make up for a bad passing day by racking up 400-500 yards two or three times. He will need to be in the 250-275 yards range each week in order to have enough cushion for any drop in yards during the Utah, Boise State, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech games.


Was BYU the first college football team to play outside the United States? Back in 1977 football wasn’t as big as it is today. It just seems that the money to leave the country to play a game was not available before that time.

Good question. It would be nice to add one more item to the list of ways that BYU has been a pioneer in college football. After doing some research, here is the best information I could find.

Michigan played a game in Toronto, Canada in 1880. Auburn and Villanova played the first college football game outside the United States in Cuba during the 1937 season—forty years before BYU went to Japan. However, playing outside US boundaries didn’t catch on until 1977. Japan had Grambling State and Temple play a regular season game in Japan that was called the Mirage Bowl.

The Mirage Bowl was played again in 1978 and BYU played a game in Japan that same year, but the game was not considered to be the annual Mirage Bowl.

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