February 8, 2012

This week we only have three questions as we congratulate Mark on the birth of his 4th daughter and 6th child.

1 – Assuming BYU does not get a bye in the WCC first round, how many games does BYU need in the WCC tourney to win in order to feel good about an at-large berth?

Matt – I think the answer hinges on a few things.  1 – Saint Mary’s must win the regular season and the tournament. 2 – BYU must win out the regular season.  Short of BYU sneaking into the #2 seed with the automatic semi-final bid, they have to make the conference finale and have a good showing or win against SMC to get an at-large.

Carl – If BYU wins out, i.e. another win at Gonzaga, they’ll probably need to win 2 to feel good about an at-large.  Without another Gonzaga win, they’ll need to win the tourney, in Las Vegas, playing 3 games in 3 nights, having to beat most likely Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.  The Flash Mob will say their nicest prayers in that scenario.

David – For BYU to not get a bye in the first round they would need to be a 5 seed or lower. That means that they would have to lose at least 3, if not 4 games out of the last five.  If that’s the case, they would have to sweep the tournament to have a chance of being considered. I’m predicting a 3 seed, which would give them a bye for the first round. One win here would get them considered; two wins would lock them in.

2 – With BYU’s 2012 recruiting class complete, my question is a two-parter.  1 – Which 2012 high school freshman will make an impact this season at BYU and why? 2 – Which return missionary will make an impact this season at BYU and why?

Matt – 1 – There won’t be a lot of room for a true freshman this year to make an impact.  I feel it could be either Butch Pau’u or Jamaal Williams.  More likely it will be Pau’u from the inside linebacker position as several seniors leave the team.  If Josh Quezada doesn’t get it going though, Williams could see time in the three deep rotation. 2 – Russell Tialavea, no question.  DL is thin and he is a 3 year starter prior to the mission.

Carl – It’s always difficult to put your finger on a question like this…but since I’m living right, my Urim and Thummin has told me Butch Pau’u should be the name to remember for an immediate impact.  Yes, I know the linebacking core is solid, but Butch is relentless and has a knack for being around the football.  I feel he’ll make waves in practice and push right in to playing time in 2012.

As for the returning missionaries- I’d like to say Jacob Hannemann, mainly because he served part of his Arkansas- Little Rock Mission in my branch of Paragould, Arkansas.  But I’m going with Craig Bills.  He knows the defensive system and there’s an immediate need for him to step in to the DB role.  I don’t see him having any trouble resuming where he left off in 2009.

David – I’m hoping to see what Butch Pau’u can do this season. Even though he will be serving a mission, he is going to get one year of playing done before he goes. He’s a hard worker and I’m confident that we’ll see him on the field this season. The returned missionary I’ll be watching for is Bronson Kaufusi. He’s huge, and while not the fastest Defensive End, he is pretty speedy for his size.

3 – How do you think the Cougars did on signing day? Any areas where they might be too thin still?  How about too crowded?

Matt – Last year’s recruiting class was mostly about filling holes in the non-sexy positions.  This year they signed three quarterbacks, some big name defensive guys, and get back some known commodities from the mission field.  I feel they did really well filling needs in the more noticeable positions this time around.  They did get 5 guys in the defensive backfield between high school and RM and if they pan out, then I feel the team is fine.

Carl – If ever there was a program that knew what their needs were, it’s BYU.  Looking up and down the roster with new recruits and returning missionaries, there aren’t gaping holes anywhere I look.  Some thinner spots would be offensive line, wide receivers and tight ends.  And BYU fans are always concerned about the DB situation.  But other than that, BYU did a good job in this year’s cycle of new players.

David – Although relatively small, the recruiting pool this year is pretty well rounded. One area that was missed was special teams, but I don’t think there is much to worry about in the short term. Riley Stephensen is going to be a senior this year so we will need a new kicker to replace him at some point. As far as too crowded, the Cougars have a long list already on the roster in Linebacker and Defensive Back, and more than half of the recruits are for defensive positions. I won’t complain about the depth there, but I would have preferred to see another Tight End or Running Back or two instead.

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