Comments about ‘Off on the right foot: BYU Cougars looking for strong start to 2014 football season’

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Published: Monday, July 21 2014 3:10 p.m. MDT

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“The tough part of our schedule is the first half of the season,” Mathews said. “We need to start fast. We don’t have time to start slow.”

Well said and very true, before the season begins every team has hope!

Go Cougars!

Naval Vet
Philadelphia, PA

The weather did not impact the game in Charlottesville last year, because it rained on BOTH teams; not just cougars. Furthermore, wet weather games tend to favor "running" teams. For the Virginia game, Hill completed 32.5% of his passes, completed only 34.6% vs. Texas. But there wasn't any rain the following week at Home vs. Utah. And how did Hill do?

He completed 37.5% of his passes.

It wasn't the weather.

Salmon, ID

I'm not convinced that the coaching staff does a good job of preparing the team to play early in the season. All you have to do is look some of the early games in recent seasons.
2011 was probably the worst - an ugly win against a bad Ole Miss, a bad loss at Texas, and who can forget the 54-10 beat down against Utah.
2012 - an ugly loss to Utah where BYU refused to kick a tying field goal. A ridiculous 6-7 loss at BSU.
2013 - BYU manages to pull defeat from the jaws of victory at Virginia and, of course, another loss to Utah.
This is why it drives me nuts when Mendenhall refuses to use all of the bowl game practices in December. Those practices could better prepare the team for these early games.

Window Rock, AZ

A week before, go to bed two hours earlier to make for the jet lag and become acclimated for hot and humid weather. And Pleeeeze have some passion and please no excuses that we hear every year.

Mildred in Fillmore
Salt Lake City, UT

Our schedule is so tough, we must go fast, go hard.

Bountiful, UT

Here's where the game was lost:

“That first game, with a new offense, we were kind of timid,” remembered running back Jamaal Williams. “We didn’t want to do anything extreme.”

Case in point, iirc I think it was in the 3rd quarter and BYU drove to the UVA 32 yd line in a close game and on 4th down elected to punt instead of either going for it or kicking a 49 yd FG in a game where points where few and far between.

The punt sailed into the end zone giving UVA the ball on the 20 (resulting in a 12 yd net gain) and on the very first play that series UVA completed a pass for 14 yds (something like that) and basically negated that punt altogether.

Not sure what the odds would've been for Sorenson to make that 49 yder but he hit 21-26 and was 3-4 from that range last year so chances are pretty good he makes it.

The problem lies in how coaches approach the season and big games. They're too conservative and play not to lose. It costs the team.

Bountiful, UT

@navel lint
"Furthermore, wet weather games tend to favor "running" teams."

If the team is a power, between the tackles, straight ahead running team they will be less affected by the rain but I don't think torrential downpours favor either running or passing teams.

If you've ever played football in the rain on a muddy field and tried to cut or change direction there's nothing favorable about that, you end up on your backside. This limits an option offense team and makes them easier to defend.

Sandy, UT

It would be interesting to see the caliber of the early season opponents versus the latter ones. I think it's less a preparation issue and more the teams are just tougher. Generally the early season games are non-conference (or Power 5 conference) games, whereas the latter games are mop-up against the likes of Idaho. Unfortunately the reality is the team just isn't as competitive against the bigger conference teams and the record has mostly been padded with wins against weak competition during the latter part of the season.

Draper, UT

It would be awesome if Coach Anae's focus was "score lots of points" instead of "go fast, go hard." That's great, but it doesn't mean anything if the O doesn't score.

never break .500
Los Angeles, CA

Naval Vet stumbled onto something true in his futile efforts…The Utes and Virginia both beat BYU and they both were about equals in the world of college football while BYU vastly improved as the season wore on. Virginia and the Utes both savored that upset vs the Cougs and point to it proudly as one of their few meaningful wins. They both have a LOT in common. We all agree.

Wayne Rout
El Paso, TX

To do this coaches must be prepared and have the team well prepared. This has not happened in many years.

Sandy, UT

Navel Vet..
You also have to consider that BYU comes a arid, dry state and anyone who has gone from Utah to the South (or Virginia) during the late summer/early fall will tell you that the humidity is unbearable.

While Virginia players are use to it, BYU players were cramping up a lot that game.

Springville, utah

@ Confused:

If "unbearable humidity" helps Virginia, how come they only won TWO game last year??

Saint George, UT

This helps Virginia against BYU because BYU is not used to that level of humidity. Virginia didn't have a humidity advantage in their other games because all of their other opponents are also from humid climates (FL, PA, VA, NC and MD). Just like the altitude in Provo is an advantage for BYU when they play teams from lower elevations but is not an advantage against high elevation teams like Utah.

Springville, utah

@ dutgut

Golly, if its not one thing its another. I sure hope that they do not schedule anymore games where it is hot or that there is any chance of rain.

Mission Viejo, CA

Blah blah blah again.

The UVA game was in a monsoon; the offensive scheme was dumbed down, and a bad call (the pass) and execution (through the fingers) cost the Cougars an ugly win. Instead they had an ugly loss. I didn't see the Utah game, but it was also winnable and was an ugly loss.

The losses at Wisconsin and Notre Dame were "good" losses where BYU could not beat two very good teams. I don't think many teams beat Wisconsin at home last year. And while ND was not great last year, they're also pretty good at home.

So, like Utah, BYU had a couple of ugly losses and a couple of "good" losses. But sadly, Utah had a few more good losses.

So pot, quit calling the kettle black.

As for BYU fans ... We just have to win. Winning solves the problems. Schedule doesn't matter if we run the table. Utah, BSU, Hawaii, and TCU all proved that statement true.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

@never break .500

BYU did not "vastly improve as the season wore on." BYU stayed the same - their schedule just got a lot easier as the season wore on.

I expect this time next year you'll be back here saying the same thing: BYU struggled early in the year (when they played decent teams) but "vastly improved" later in the year (when they played cupcakes). You're wrong about it now, you'll be wrong about it then.

Heber City, UT

@Naval Vet

"The weather did not impact the game in Charlottesville last year, because it rained on BOTH teams; not just cougars."

I agree. The weather did not make BYU lose. Virginia also ran a lot though, so the rain was neither an advantage nor a disadvantage in my opinion.

But I will tell you what was a disadvantage in the Virginia game.

-Cody Hoffman was suspended
-We were in our first game with a new offense

Let's look at BYU's recent history of their first game in a new offense:

-2005 vs. Boston College: 3 points
-2011 @ Ole Miss: 14 , but 7 from KVN, so the offense only had 7.
-2013 @ Virginia: 16

Let's look at BYU's second year in those offenses:

-2006 @ Arizona: 16 (13 improvement)
-2012 vs. Washington State: 30 (technically 16 improvement, but basically 23)

I know this is a fairly small sample size and BYU may have played easier defenses in their 2nd year of an offense, so this is not an exact science.

But history would suggest somewhere between a 13-23 point improvement, meaning BYU would score 29-39 points.

Let's meet in the middle and say 34.

Sandy, UT


If you had paid attention to what Naval Vet said "the weather did not affect BYU", then you know why I mentioned the humidity.

Your right, they should just win, but sometimes there are things that can contribute to the loss....

Bring on the Pickle juice.

Heber City, UT


"If "unbearable humidity" helps Virginia, how come they only won TWO game last year??"

Because the humidity is only unbearable to teams who aren't used to it, like BYU. I flew out to the Virginia game and the humidity was absolutely awful to deal with (I had never been out east before). I couldn't even imagine running around in those conditions.

The rest of Virginia's schedule was against teams from out east who are used to that humidity, with the exception of Oregon, who is out west. But they are also in a fairly humid place.

So that explains why Virginia didn't beat other teams from the humidity. It's not any kind of advantage in any of their other games. BYU and (to a lesser extent) Oregon were Virginia's only opponents who aren't used to humid climates.

But as I said in a previous comment, I think Hoffman's suspension and our new offense had much more to do with our struggles in Virginia.

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