ATI 2.11.1

Football

The temperature on Saturday night was in the 20’s Idaho Vandals had about as much as a snowball’s chance to win.  Regarding the fans who attended the game, do we label them as dumb fans or true blue fans?

Carl – I don’t we want to label Matt as a ‘Dumb’ BYU fan.  I’d lean towards more dedicated than dumb.  The simple fact is that season ticket holders paid good money for six games.  To not go and see one game is like wasting 17% of the money you already spent. And I hate wasting money!  Also, it really doesn’t matter the conditions or the opponent to determine if you should attend the football game.  Part of being a dedicated fan with season tickets is that you attend every game come sleet, snow, ice, wind or tornado.

Don – Considering I was one of those fans who went, I’ll go with the label of a true blue fan. To take it a step further, I not only went, but I stuck to my rule of never leaving a game early and stayed to the bitter(ly cold) end.  Not sure I’d label fans that went to the game as anything other than what they are; BYU football fans. I truly do not give two turds if it was only against Idaho. Of course I love and would always prefer a big name coming in, and I get bored in the second half of any game that was already a win the day it was scheduled. But I go back to a comment I made last week…I refuse to be someone who contributes to adding to the perceived problems of the program and adding nothing to any positive solution. BYU had Idaho on the schedule on Friday. They couldn’t change that. It was what it was and labeling fans that attended as dumb or otherwise over supporting the Cougs in a game they couldn’t change is, well…if I were to put a label on it…dumb.

Matt – As a fan who was in attendance, I submit we were all True Blue.  Sure, there wasn’t a lot to get excited about except for Cody Raymond getting his first touchdown catch or his impressive first down run or even better, the snow fort built by the fans in the upper corner of the southeast of the Stadium, but it was all about support of the team and showing them that despite the opponent, I’ll still go to the game and cheer.  And just for the record, during his postgame interview, Russell Tialavea mentioned how he appreciated the fans who stayed to the end (maybe 7500) and especially those who were still cheering loudly.  FWIW – that third to last series when BYU got the fumble recovery, my brother and three buddies and I were the rabid screaming fans who started making ruckus in the north west part of the stadium right before they got that turnover – yeah, we’re claiming it.  (Of course, we also may have distracted Cody Raymond on his punting fumble too, but at least we were having fun.)

Mike – ESPN listed 61,000 attending Saturday nights Klondike Bowl.  I think that number was slightly inflated.  I look at fans who sit in the snow to watch an ESPN televised practice the same way I look at people who dress up as their favorite Star Wars/Twilight character and sleep on the street to be the first to see their favorite movie.  On some strange level I guess you have to respect their passion but overall it’s a dumb idea. Ultimately for me dumb vs true blue depends on the opponent.  20 degree Notre Dame game…true fan.  20 degree last place WAC team…dumb fan.

Statistically, San Jose St ranks 36th in total offense and 21st in total defense making Saturday’s game no gimmie.  With 3/4 of the season to prepare for this game what outcome shows BYU Nation that the program is headed in the right direction?

Carl – I referenced to this in our preseason previews that San Jose State could present the last challenge for BYU.  Statistically, they are living up to the hype, although they are largely untested.  Their best win is San Diego State, with a close loss to Stanford week 1.  Even by my standpoint from preseason they’re better than I expected, and I don’t like that we’re going on their turf.  They still have much to play for, including a share of the WAC.  BYU better not have packed it in, especially offensively.  Last week against Idaho should have helped players stay healthy and work out offensive bugs.

Don – A convincing win on the road against a good team with 24 + points from the offense and playing a clean game.  Reality though, is that most BYU fans are firmly in one camp or the other regarding this season being a bust or accepting it for what it is, and nothing about this game will move the needle of opinion in any significant way. SJSU is a very solid opponent and a Coug win on the road in my mind would be something meaningful.

Matt – This is the tough one and as it falls on me to break down this game this week, I guess now is as good a time to start.  I’m hearing that SJSU may have as many as four legitimate pro prospects on the roster this year and that scouts will be on hand to evaluate.  They are also among the tops in offensive efficiency this season and are not too shabby defensively.  This is not the same team that came to Provo last year and while I think BYU should win (likely easily) they also cannot sleep on this team.

As far as evidence towards progression, I have to say I want to see Riley Nelson continue to show comfort and poise in the pocket. He really dialed down the escapist mentality on Saturday and just stayed in or close to the pocket on many plays when in the past he would have just run. I like a Riley that chooses to keep the play alive for a good pass on plays when a pass is called.  Also, please throw another few deeps balls to Ross Apo.  That was a sweet way to start the game.

Mike – Vegas has BYU as a 3 point favorite on the road. Spartan David Fales is considered the best QB BYU will face this season.  With BYU’s defense being “Rancherito-ed” it could be an interesting week for Bronco.  Offensively I’m looking for the Brandon Doman camp to put it together one time vs. a quality defense.  We know what Cody Hoffman and Jamaal Williams can do against poor defenses.  Let’s see similar numbers against a good defense.  And how about a road game without a “Riley Moment”…y’all know what I’m talking about.  The gut-wrenching pick-6, the Hoffman Notre Dame throw…3/4 of the way thru Riley’s senior year shouldn’t we see what Bronco and Doman have been selling us all along?

I’m ready for next season now. Between what you currently know, and your crystal ball, give the readers what you expect from BYU in 2013.

Carl – So many different variables, but my best take is that BYU learns what it’s like to live in the Big 12, Pac 12 or Big 10 year in and year out.  I’m not convinced the offense gets better unless Doman does.  I’m not convinced that Bronco will treat any game as a big one, even though one could argue that we have 8 such games.  I’m not convinced that the defense will be better than this seasons.  I’m generally feeling not convinced that 2013 will end up like BYU fans would hope for this; the most difficult schedule in BYU history.  I put 7 wins as a benchmark for success next season.

Don – Impossible for me to say yet. There are too many variables and caveats for 2013 that are undecided. Will Cody Hoffman and Kyle Van Noy stay for senior seasons as they have alluded to?  Will Taysom Hill be 100%? Did he get enough experience prior to injury to be ready for a starting role going into Virginia? Will there be significant changes on the coaching staff? Who stays and who goes in player personnel will huge. With an improved O Line, the running game with Jamaal Wiliams and the senior/junior WR combo of Hoffman/Ross Apo, the offense could and should be improved. Defensively the D Line is a major concern, but the LBs and backfield should again be solid. Kicking game is a huge worry, especially replacing a punter and shoring up a crap FG unit.  I’ll reserve judgment on 2013 until we know who will be suiting up for the blue and white.

Matt – Man, oh man, my crystal ball is cloudy. Of course, that’s just because all I see right now are cloudy futures for several key pieces in 2013.

Bronco Mendenhall – He needs to stop ignoring, while simultaneously, handicapping the offense. He needs to focus just a bit less of defense and focus a bit more on team. He needs to stop undermining and not supporting (read: he needs to be supportive) of his staff.

Brandon Doman – He needs to be allowed to be free in his coaching. He needs to stop forcing plays upon a team that lacks the personality to execute a weak side option. He needs to rely upon Max Hall to be more of the quarterback coach so he can be the offensive coordinator.  And finally, he needs to put together a solid play book, open it up, and finally return BYU’s offense to the offenses of year’s past.

Taysom Hill – Once upon a time he was the clear cut favorite to be the starter in 2013. We all clamored for giving him the reps to be prepared for BYU’s toughest schedule ever. Then Doman and Mendenhall screwed up and Hill broke a leg that will prohibit him from taking snaps in spring. Now senior-to-be Jason Munns and junior-to-be Ammon Olson will be gunning for his job and with not much additional posturing from other takers, Hill will be under pressure to earn his job once fall camp rolls around and given this staff’s recent history, I fully expect QBGate 4.0 when BYU flies to Charlottesville on August 31.

Mark Weber – This might be the only thing I can see in my crystal ball; “Mark Weber has been relieved of his duties.”  The play of the offensive line has been atrocious throughout most of the season. Seniors shouldn’t get multiple false stats, especially on their home field against teams like Idaho.  There has been too much failure by these lines over the past few seasons the Weber has to go. And while you’re at it, take Jay Omer and his stupid “leaner and faster” lineman mentality with you. This is BYU. Our lineman our big, they are fat, they aren’t fast, but man can they block.

Schedule – This is truly going to be a test of what BYU is and what their fans truly are. Opening at Virginia followed by a very tough four-game home stand (Texas, (likely an FCS school, Boise State, and Utah) could possibly put BYU in the driver’s seat for national prominence of have BYU fans furiously telling each other via myriad social media sites (like this one) what is wrong with BYU and why this coach should be fired or that player should be benched.  It could test their willingness to show up in Provo for other games or travel to college football Meccas such as Camp Randall or Notre Dame Stadium.

Mike – The 2013 schedule could be the pinnacle of BYU’s independent plan. Assuming Doman doesn’t injure Taysom Hill in the spring game, all of BYU’s offensive weapons return.  BYU needs to find an offensive line identity if they want to compete during the 2013 schedule.  As every NFL coach will tell you it starts with the Oline.  Linebackers will need to be replaced and word around the campfire is Bronco is spending his winter break in Ghana to find another Ziggy.  From a fan’s perspective, Tom Holmoe is giving us what he promised regarding a good independent schedule.  This schedule should sell season tickets and has the potential to put BYU on the map.  As Bronco suggests way too often “it comes down to execution.” Fans need Bronco to execute, otherwise it could be back-to-back-to-back mediocre years.  I see three easy games on the 2013 schedule; Houston, Hawaii and Middle Tennessee State.  That is three fewer than the six to which BYU has become accustomed. The rest of the season is beefy and should be great to watch.  If the offense figures it out I see 8-4 which would be very respectable.  If they don’t it could mirror Utah’s 2012 season.

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