ATI 2013.09 – Spring Practices and WCC Play

Ask the Ineligibles

Robert AnaeBYU began spring practices on Monday. There is so much new with an entirely new offensive staff, Bronco Mendenhall granting the title of defensive coordinator to Nick Howell, and a new quarterback.  With so many story lines going on right from day 1, what is your biggest expectation when spring practices conclude on April 5?

Carl: Aside from no major injuries, I’m looking to see the cohesiveness of the coaching staff. Do they look like individual coaches performing their responsibilities or do they look like a single unit working together?  Any cancers that start at the coaching level will hinder the 2013 season. I also know that will be hard to quantify or see.  You might actually have a better shot finding money in your couch than learning the true chemistry of the coaching staff.  I’ll be looking for clues in interviews.

Matt: 1 – I want there to be no injuries to any key contributors. 2 – I would like there to be a chance for newcomers and previous season “scrubs” to show they are worthy of two- and three-deep rotations in the fall when the season starts. 3 – I want the coaching staffs to gel and become single-minded with a strict understanding of their roles in the system, whatever they may be.

Mike: An accurate QB depth chart would be my expectation.  I’m reading the entire practice dynamic revolves around finding a QB. From pads to no pads, I’m hopeful Bronco/Anae can at least let us know who will be in the running to start come fall.

Hill IIAfter two full seasons of indecision and the results that followed, why is BYU not selecting a bona fide starting quarterback?

Carl: Every day BYU doesn’t select a number one quarterback is a day missed at giving full reps to the guy.  It’s baffling to have this self-fulfilling cycle continue.  Indecision yields crappy offense.  How simple is that?  So simple Cool and the Gang want to go through it again!  If Taysom Hill is the guy, he’s the guy.  Let the others work on down the line and let their work as back-ups prove their worth like most systems do.

Matt: I don’t think that it really is a big deal.  2010 – The staff named “co-starters.”  Umm, that didn’t work.  2011 – Jake Heaps was the starter for most of spring and certainly exiting spring.  Again, fail.  2012 – Riley Nelson is the undisputed, unquestioned starter for all of it and look where that got the team.

My point is this is a new system.  This is a new coaching staff.  Besides Taysom Hill, who has any real experience?  I get that many Cougar fans want to hear that Hill is the guy now; heck, I do.  But what does it hurt to let the participants all have an equal shot with the coaches?  It doesn’t.  They’ll each show their wares, the coaches will get to see not only who is the best choice to start, but also be the primary back up.  And then when the mini-camp is all said and done, the players will break into their own groups and the guy that ends up throwing to Cody Hoffman throughout the summer is likely going to be the guy anyway so they’ll develop any chemistry that we all think needs to happen now anyway.

So why the big rush to get a quarterback named for a handful of “practices?”

Mike: I would suggest the past seasons of indecision coupled with a drastic change in scheme would lead BYU to be very specific in terms of whom they name as the starter.  Taysom seems to the fan favorite but is he going to be able to throw 30+ times a game if needed vs. BYU’s toughest schedule?  I’m assuming Anae’s offense will resemble his previous offenses throwing at least 60% of the time.  Love hearing the “Clean Slate” approach where everyone on the offensive side has a shot to start.

WCC 2013 TournamentThe Cougar basketball team gets a relatively easy draw for the 5th game of the West Coast Conference Tournament in the form of the winner of the San Diego/Pepperdine game.  Will BYU win and if so, do they have a shot at all of redemption against the Gaels the next night?

Carl: Yes and yes.  Although San Diego and Pepperdine are far from cupcakes for BYU this season, winning the first will bode well for BYU facing St. Mary’s.  Yes, they will have a shot at knocking off St. Mary’s; I’ll put my odds at 60/40 yes.  To get the trifecta and beat Gonzaga to punch a ticket 85/15 against.  I want to pull for our Cougars, but nothing on the resume screams a hot streak is coming.  Still, I was wrong to pick against BYU in the bowl game.  I was wrong to pick against Arkansas State in their bowl game.  Both of those poor choices landed me on the paying side of a 5 Guys Burgers lunch instead of the receiving side.  What’s a guy to do!?

Matt: San Diego caught BYU ill-prepared and unfocused.  They aren’t good enough to get a BYU team that is better focused and ready.  They’ll know not to look ahead to Saturday night because if they are, the Toreros will get their spot and BYU will go home with their heads hanging low.  BYU will win.

As for the Gaels, my heart really wants to pick them.  It almost has my head convinced.  I really want to believe in the idea that all things being equal, it is very hard to beat a team three times in one season. But this is BYU and they are 1-8 against the Gaels and Zags since coming to the WCC.  BYU is not only facing a very good team on Saturday, they are also facing a mental block with Matthew Dellavedova’s name on it, and I’m not talking about his mouthpiece.  The Gaels just have experienced winners on their team and BYU doesn’t.  Better luck next season BYU.

Mike:  I read a Greg Wrubell tweet that suggested BYU has a 4% chance of winning the WCC Tourny.  Honestly, that sounds high.  Regardless of what happens vs. San Diego/Pepperdine its unlikely BYU will go any further.  Strangely this struggling BYU team has two first team ALL-WCC players with a good supporting cast.  How they are a distant 3rd in this conference is mind boggling, but they are.  St Mary’s on a neutral court will be a tall order.  I’d love to see a magical run thru the WCC postseason and into the NCAA Tournament but won’t be holding my breath.

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