Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
PROVO — While attending West Coast Conference basketball media day festivities Monday in Los Angeles, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe had football on his mind.
Of course, football is never far from his mind.
Holmoe enjoyed chatting with the league's basketball coaches and other administrators at the event, but he is dealing with recent setbacks involving the 2013 football schedule.
"It's not even done," Holmoe told the Deseret News at the WCC meetings. "I've been working on games today."
Two contests that the Cougars were planning on for next season, including one that was already contracted, have fallen through recently, he said.
"I see teams that schedule games for 2020 and 2021. I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, would that be nice?' I've got to get the 2013 schedule done."
Such is the life of an athletic director of an independent football program — particularly at BYU.
"There are some things that have changed in the schedule," he said. "When you're an independent, things change."
Change seems to be the operative word.
The Cougar football team, which is idle this week, has posted a lackluster 5-4 record this season — including three losses by a combined total of seven points. BYU has three games against Western Athletic Conference opponents remaining and needs one more victory to become bowl-eligible. The Cougars are slated to play in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego — with former Mountain West Conference rival San Diego State a likely opponent.
Naturally, Holmoe was relieved after BYU pounded Georgia Tech, 41-17, last weekend in Atlanta, but he acknowledged that it's been difficult to watch this season unfold.
"It takes its toll on everyone," Holmoe said. "It's frustrating, no more so than for the coaches and players. And the fans are a big part of what we're doing. They're frustrated that we lost games that we were in, and could have won, in ways that we normally don't lose games."
Next year's schedule has been billed as the toughest in school history. And, as a result of the Cougars' performance in 2012, Holmoe said he expects some shakeups in the football program before 2013.
"This is a team that, I think the expectations were high. Sometimes our media (BYU media relations) and the local media, in an effort to pub the season, some players and some units on our team were made to look better than they really were," Holmoe said. "The expectations were really, really high with a pretty competitive schedule. And we certainly didn't live up to that.
"I want to be a really great team. I'm a football guy, but I don't think there was a time when I thought, 'We're going to win the national championship this year.' You could see some of our troubles early. We've addressed some of them, but some of them aren't going to change this year. It's been an eye-opening experience for some of our players and coaches to be able to see and say, 'Oh, OK, that's what we need to do.' I think there will be some changes that take place between this year and next year that will help our team in many ways, in different aspects, from technical details to things that will be noticeable. It will be good."
Those changes could impact the coaching staff, and Holmoe said that's something he and coach Bronco Mendenhall will address when the season ends. Clearly, there have been problems on the offensive side of the ball this year. Holmoe added that there have been some chemistry issues on the staff, adding that being successful isn't just about talent. "There are intangibles in football," he said.
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