BYU football: Tom Holmoe discusses recruiting, the rivalry, scheduling issues and the 'secret sauce' of success at Education Week

Published: Thursday, Aug. 16 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

"I would say I love Jake Heaps. He's a great kid," Holmoe said. "He is one of ours. Not was, he is one of ours. He gave up a ton, he could gone to any school in the country, and he came to BYU. It didn't work out for whatever reason. We don't have to get into that. He was probably the very highest recruit we ever had. There was a ton of pressure. There are a lot of tough jobs on this campus. (BYU) President (Cecil O.) Samuelson's is the toughest. I think the quarterback of the football team is the second. I'm not being funny about that. I believe that."

Added Holmoe, "I fully expect (Heaps) to be successful (at Kansas). And I fully expect him to be a quarterback in the NFL. You can put my name on that. I'm not afraid of that."

The way Holmoe sees it, recruiting is a crapshoot.

"If you're at Notre Dame or USC or Texas, you might have a lot of blue chips come to your school. We get those once in a while. But we get good, solid players. If they love and care about each other, and sacrifice for each other, and suck in all that this place has to offer, we'll have really, really good teams. We'll see if these kids rise up. … Our coaches try to find the very best athletes in the world. The scope is really huge. You don't have to be LDS. But our best fits are LDS kids. … The lifeblood of our teams is recruiting. We try to be really good in recruiting, and sometimes we fail."

Holmoe also explained why the football team went independent.

"One of the reasons why we (went independent) was not just for the exposure for our team, but for the exposure for our university and our church," he said. "You have to weigh that. It's not a financial thing. You play those games and you measure whether it's worth it, and sometimes you can't do it in dollars. I was in Prague, in the Czech Republic, with our women's soccer team this year. I had three people in Prague come up to me and say, 'Oh my gosh, I watched all the games on TV.' That gives me goose bumps because that's what the objective is. We're a worldwide church. These people are expatriates over there and they watch our games on TV. That means they watch BYUtv. They also watch General Conference. It's all tied in. This is not an athletics venture. This is a partnership with a purpose."

Below are some of the questions from Education Week attendees that Holmoe answered:

Q: How good will quarterback Riley Nelson be this year?

A: "I think he's going to be really good. He's got a great head on his shoulders. He's competitive. He's passionate. The team loves him and he loves the team. He does have the second-hardest job on campus. That's hard to carry on your shoulders. I think he's going to be fantastic."

Q: How hard is it to schedule teams as an independent?

A: "It's hard, but it's going well. We'll probably release our 2013 schedule in a month or two. We're close. We have one game to solidify and one game that we need to sign. Then we'll be done. In 2014, we have three games still out there. We're trying to move things around. In 2015, we have five games on the schedule. In 2016, we have about four. We have two or three games intermittently all the way out to 2021. It's going alright."

Q: Will backup quarterback Taysom Hill get enough experience this year to prepare him for the future?

A: "What young quarterbacks have to do is make their way to where you're supposed to be when you're not in the lineup. It's a very hard thing to be a backup quarterback. But the best ones make strides and they learn their craft as a backup. … You earn your chance in practice. Kids will come into my office and say, 'If they'd only play me.' I tell them, 'You've got to earn your playing time in practice.' 'But I'm not a very good practice player.' Is that true? Are there some kids that get into a game and thrive but they're not very good in practice? That happens sometimes."

Q: What are the pros and cons of being an independent?

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