- Why isn’t the team having more success this season?
- Who besides them is playing the best and who needs to step up their game?
Carl: How about a sophomore slump? A lot of teams, and individuals, have a hard time going through their second season. The teams have had a chance to fully evaluate the players and play toward their weaknesses. Truthfully, Gonzaga was young last year and developed talent better than BYU’s. And Saint Mary’s remains very much equal to BYU. The Cougars just didn’t get the lucky end of their first meeting. However, I keep coming back to the fact that the three-point shooting affects essentially everything BYU does offensively and sometimes defensively. When BYU is hitting 3’s consistently, the defenders come out to contest more, thus creating more room on the interior. More room on the interior means less double teams and more room for Davies to go 1 on 1. Additionally, missed 3-point shots have a tendency to produce longer rebounds, thus creating more fast break chances for the opposition, meaning less time for BYU to get set up defensively.
I feel Josh Sharp has been playing better lately, but I speak for a lot of Cougar Nation when I ask where has Craig Cusick been? He seems like a natural born leader on the floor. I want to see him interjected more in the offense. Score with the rock; don’t just be the general. Nobody else is taking control, so I think this is a position he can still turn around and excel.
Matt: I think the issue here is lack of heart/desire/talent (call it what you want) from the bench. Dave Rose has always had enough skill from his starting five as well as the ability to go two or three deep on the bench for a regular rotation, but not this year. The Big 3 aren’t able to carry this team alone and the inconsistency from the 2 (typically Brock Zylstra) and the 4 (typically Josh Sharp) as well as the players rotating in (Craig Cusick and Nate Austin) just aren’t providing enough help to the team. When your Big 3 average nearly 63% of your nightly scoring output and they get held to almost half that total, someone else has to step up and there hasn’t been the volunteer to take the mantle. I honestly don’t think anyone is playing well enough to mention as an answer to the first question. The second answer (who needs to step up) is equal parts Zylstra (he’s a senior for heaven’s sake) and Austin.
Mike: If we believe Jimmer was an elite college player with a good supporting cast his senior year it is safe to assume this team has three very good college players with a similarly good supporting cast. Most college coaches would tell you planning for a team with three very good players is more difficult then trying to stop one player. This year’s results are wildly off the mark. BYU is getting blown out in the big games to date. So either the Big 3 isn’t very good or BYU is missing Dave Rice more then we thought. I think it’s both.
Carl: No, I simply think his team was/is not playing to the talent of the big game opponents. Furthermore, it’s not as if BYU perennially beats big name teams out of conferece during the regular season. BYU has long built its resume through finding one signature win out of conference and splitting with the best teams in conference. It’s just not coming together this season.
Matt: The easy answer is to say yes, but I don’t feel that this is on Rose. I feel that he can’t trust his bench to be consistent, he can’t trust his guys on the floor if Haws or Davies isn’t out there (and particularly if both are sitting at the same time) and where the heck is Brock Zylstra? No, I don’t think this is “Broncoitis” as much as it is a lack of talent and leadership on the floor.
Mike: Rose definitely has a little “Broncoitis” so far this year. Big games are still ahead but it’s difficult to see Rose making the kind of adjustments that can turn this season around. College teams want to peak in February. We’ll see.
BYU’s next six games could all be considered “easy win” games. Which game in the next six is BYU most likely to lose? Why?
Carl: Utah State. Even though they’re getting thrashed without their stars, the next game beyond USU is the revenge game @ SMC. BYU has shown to not have a ton of composure. I assume they’ll be looking beyond Utah State and could stumble through the game.
Matt: None. Games on the road against Pepperdine and San Diego and home tilts with Santa Clara, San Francisco, Portland, and Utah State are all should win games that they will win. San Diego will be the only tough road game and Santa Clara and Utah State the only tough home games. But we destroyed SC in their arena and Utah State has lost two of its starting five recently. Both games shouldn’t be tough (incidentally, I’ll be at both of them so find me and come say hi.) The team knows they can afford no more mistakes and they’ll play well enough to win all these games.
Mike: At Saint Mary’s is far from easy. Hopefully we’ll see Rose and the Big 3 work out a few things before then.
On Monday night, BYU announced its 2013 football schedule. What is your overall feeling about it and looking ahead, which game or games would you want to travel to most?
Carl: Love it. Love the two bye weeks. Love the softer games sandwiched in between tougher games unlike 2012. Love that the schedule is National Championship caliber. Love that the only short week team to prepare for is Middle Tennessee State. Love that the Cougar Nation season ticket holders get to watch Texas, Utah, Boise St and GaTech. Love that Tom Holmoe did everything in his power to get the schedule more balanced as opposed to 2012. Did I mention Riley Nelson was gone?
Matt: I like the schedule with the bye built in between Texas and Utah as well as Wisconsin and Notre Dame. I feel like BYU opponents always get bye weeks before the Cougars play them so it’s nice to know that for once, independent scheduling has allowed us to build in a bye week in between the Texas and Utah home games as well as a break after Boise State at home prior to the Wisconsin trip to face Gary Anderson. And the Idaho State game is as close to a bye as you can get in order to rest between Wisconsin and Notre Dame. As far as road tripping goes, I’d love to see Camp Randall or Notre Dame Stadium, but I’m most likely to head to Logan this year. As a season ticket holder, it’s really hard to feel anything but giddy about this home schedule in 2013 so I can really feel satisfied if I don’t get to road trip with them Cougs this year.
Mike: I’ve seen BYU in South Bend and Reno. Both resulted in losses by the way. Ideally I’d like to walk thru the South Bend with a victory. Magical place either way. Reno not so much.