Behind the Mic: BYU offense struggling to replace all-time greats

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  • BYU in Tucson Tucson, AZ
    Sept. 29, 2010 4:02 p.m.

    The BYU all time greats would of had a tough time with this schedule. I wish I could watch BYU games in person to better judge how good the team is or what thier potential is. Are the fans behind this team? Fans can make a big difference. When Arizona played Iowa the fans were going nuts there was electricity in the air the team was jacked up and we knew a win was coming. Last week against Cal the stadium was quiet it felt and looked like a high school game, and the play was lackluster. Fans need to get behind the team. If Bronco won't show emotion then let him be who he is. Doesn't mean the fans cant go crazy. When we went to the Vegas Bowl, me a cougar and my wife a wildcat. The BYU fans didn't make any noise. Rise up and shout.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Sept. 29, 2010 3:06 p.m.

    The cougars should have changed schedules with the utes. New players breaking-in with cupcakes would be in high gear going into October, but that's the breaks. I will be laughing when the utes lose to TCU. Not at the team, but the liberals who post their low self esteem remarks.

    The utes will never win a pac-12 championship.

  • hedgehog Ann Arbor, MI
    Sept. 29, 2010 10:04 a.m.

    "Everybody has already anointed him as the next All-American QB, but why? What has he done ON THE FIELD to warrant that."

    It’s pretty simple. Heaps chose to play at BYU — thus he is automatically anointed a Heisman candidate. Having parents who pushed the heaps “brand” since the day he was born and having a PR announcement at Iggys also helped.

    The Only time Heaps will not be considered an “All American” is when he decides to transfer to UCLA. Then and only then he will be considered overrated.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Sept. 28, 2010 8:51 p.m.

    So we are 4 games into the season and we have yet to determine who will do what in some key positions. It makes me wonder what the spring and fall practices were for??? I understand that Unga was a surprise, but we don't have a QB, receivers, tight end, running backs, etc. etc. I think the grand experiment with "walk on's" may prove to be the downfall of this program.

  • Mickey Houston, TX
    Sept. 28, 2010 8:05 p.m.

    Re: Ute4ever, Howard S.
    Wow, some actual discussion worthy comments comments from Ute fans...Thank you! Ute4ever I was thinking the exact same thing myself as I read this article, where are all Broncos recruits? I am one who thinks Crowton got dealt a bad hand while he was here (remember, most of his players were Edwards recruits, which includes most of those with off-field problems) and Bronco was viewed as the Savior of the program. He's done well, but is this what it's going to be like with his recruits?!
    Howard S. - completely agree. Everybody has already anointed him as the next All-American QB, but why? What has he done ON THE FIELD to warrant that.

  • miracle max Vernal, utah
    Sept. 28, 2010 5:26 p.m.

    Anae needs to return to the booth. He only makes things worse down on the sidelines. It seems that he became the OC based on his affiliation with the high octain imaginative Texas Tech offense. I think he has been the reipient of some talented players, but he doesn't seem to get the most out of them. His indecision with who should be the QB will cost BYU all season long.

  • Gracious George West Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 28, 2010 4:52 p.m.

    It appears that the writer of this column needs to take an introspective look at his intent in the composition of the piece.

    While he is obviously writing with a pro-BYU bias, he is correct in his criticism of the scapegoat. More criticism would be ideal, even pleasing...but he has taken the first step to admitting the obvious facts about the lousy talent on BYU's football squad.

    BYU fans would do well to look inside themselves and perform a thorough evaluation of a lousy football team's preeminence in their mortal existence.

    Thorough repentance would work marvelous miracles and hallowed healing. In particular it would be pleasing to the writer of this post if such fans would switch allegiances over to a particular school to the north.

    We will welcome and embrace all of them with open arms--as the sinners they had been, perfected in the redness of our unity.

    We welcome them all. Otherwise, they may find themselves in heaps of trouble.

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 4:17 p.m.

    Chris B: You appear to be out of touch with reality. Your post is nothing but "wishful thinking". Let's wait until the season is further along and see where BYU and the Utes stand.

  • Desert Coug Las Vegas, NV
    Sept. 28, 2010 3:49 p.m.

    I spent some time looking up records from previous seasons and remembering the feelings that went along with the success (Or lack of it).

    2003 was a very bad year (4-8).
    2004 was bad (6-5).
    2005 was a mediocre year (6-6).
    Then 2007, 2008, 2009 were ten wins plus.

    1973 was a bad year.
    '76 thru'85 were good & great years. Things cycle....

    I am confident the Cougars will figure it out and develop like they have before. (I am also confident that Utah will weaken as they have before)

    Go Cougs!!!!!

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Sept. 28, 2010 3:45 p.m.

    Article quote: "In 2007, the Cougars fortuitously transitioned from John Beck (at the time, second in BYU career passing yardage), to Max Hall, the player who would replace Beck as the career No. 2 QB. At the same time, BYU replaced all-time leading rusher Curtis Brown with Harvey Unga, who would supplant Brown atop the school list of career ground-gainers. The 2007 and 2008 teams were led in receiving by Austin Collie, who would end up as BYU's No. 1 all-time pass-catcher. Collie played alongside Dennis Pitta, who would conclude his BYU tenure as the top tight end in Cougar football annals."


    When you put it like that it's no wonder we're struggling a lot.

    Nothing else to do but just keep our nose to the grindstone and work through it.


  • Big Hapa Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 3:19 p.m.

    Wrubell, nice attempt at not looking out at this years Cougar team through rose colored glasses. You are correct and right on the money with the zero passion angle, I watch the Bronco Moment on the weekend where you ask him to share with the viewers what book he is currently reading, and I swear , I am watching the Mr. Rodgers show.

    I have been watching and listening to Cougar Football since 1979 and I can not recall any year this bad, and now from your article I sadly know that I am right.

    Heaps, when you look honestly at this kid, I have to agree with NEHU from Kaysville Ut., that I think he does not have much more in the tank. He reminds me of that kid who was a standout in little league but when he got to High School ball everyone had caught up to him.

    Not to say he isn't talented and will be good one day, but thats it, good is as good, as he will get.

    The players seem to not believe the hype any more.

    "POLY" CN

  • TheSpiker Alpine, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 2:46 p.m.

    Chris B

    "I am going to love watching byu go 4-8 almost as much as I'll love watching my Utes go to a 3rd bcs game!"

    And that pretty much says it all. I'm trying to remember now ... what did Max Hall say about "U fans"? Oh yeah, now I remember.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Sept. 28, 2010 2:07 p.m.

    Greg Wrubell reminds me of Paul James. PJ always had a ton of statistics at his command. My guess is that Greg knows how well BYU does when playing a Friday game after losing the previous Saturday to a team on the west coast after losing to a team on the east coast.


  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 1:28 p.m.

    I am going to love watching byu go 4-8 almost as much as I'll love watching my Utes go to a 3rd bcs game!

  • ute4ever West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 1:10 p.m.

    Is this about being a "down" year or is this finally Broco's recruits showing what they really are.

    Dennis Pita, Max Hall, Andrew George, and Austin Collie were all Crowtons Bronco can thank Crowton for setting the table with some of the Cougar greats when he arrived.

    Is Bronco a bad recruiter and now that all of Crowton's recruits have finally exited the stadium, this weakness if finally showing through?

    The difference between reloading and rebuilding is the difference between Utah and BYU. Utah loses 6 players to the NFL draft and they reload with freshman safeties that knock people around, among others. BYU loses a few key players and stuggles for 2 years to get back to where they were. The problem has got to be in the coaches and how they train the backups. BYU has some talent, but somewhere along the way the training is lacking until they are a starter.

  • Tommy2Shoes Lehi, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 12:54 p.m.

    BYU is fun to watch even when they lose. Team is getting better and is going to win many more games before I die.

  • mangotlay24 Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 11:57 a.m.

    i've said it in another article but byu doesn't get the athletes other programs do they get kids with good character (albeit sometimes questionably) that know how to play the game. all of these big name guys that byu lost last season were all in high school during the crowton years (unga may have been part of bronco's first class, i can't remember). the next few years will show the byu fanbase how good of a recruiter bronco is. from what i've observed over the last few years that bronco and whittingham have been at their respective schools i've noticed that while bronco is good at getting his players to execute their gameplan and do it well, whittingham is better at developing his players. it looks real apparent this year because the U is showing some real depth on both sides of the ball and byu is struggling to find any kind of rhythm on either side. yeah, bronco's caught in a tough situation, but if he's the coach everyone thinks he is then he'll be just fine. here's hope to the Y from a U fan.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 11:23 a.m.

    If you actually have a "life", a down year for your favorite college football team is absorbable. It is not as much fun, but certainly life goes on. The Cougs should improve and be better next year.

    The cheap shot on Fuga still bothers me. The Nevada announcers thought it was "horrible and unneccessary". Here's hoping Boise State delivers some Karma in November.

  • TheSpiker Alpine, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 10:39 a.m.

    TJ2407 & BP

    What's with this JJ/Harvey/Rodgers obsession? Do either of you actually have a clue what you are talking about?

    Here are some facts to put against your opinions:

    Rushing Yards 2010 (Unga 2009)
    Jacquizz Rodgers 4.2 ave 84 per game
    James Rodgers 5.1 ave 12 per game
    JJ 6.3 ave 83 per game
    Unga 4.7 ave 87 per game

    Receiving Yards 2010 (Unga 2009)
    jacquizz Rodgers 3.9 ave 9 per game
    James Rodgers 12.6 ave 37 per game
    JJ 11.1 ave 50 per game
    Unga 7.4 ave 23 per game

    Total Yards 2010 (Unga 2009)
    Rodgers Bros Combined 142 ave per game
    JJ 133 ave per game
    Unga 110 ave per game

    Harvey Unga was a great back. JJ doesn't have Harvey's power. I like Harvey, but JJ has outgained and outperformed him (on a struggling team).

    Rodgers brothers? Really? I will see your Rodgers brothers and raise you 1 JJ (helpful hint: poker reference). JJ alone is the equivalent of 2 Rodgers brothers combined.

    Try this ... appreciate what we have. Count your blessings, name them JJ.

  • Cougar Claws Lindon, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 10:37 a.m.

    Actually JJ is looking pretty good right now, so I don't think a comparison to the Rodgers brothers is unfair. He already has 332 yards rushing on only 53 carries. That's a 6.3 yards per carry average. That's not too bad. And these have all been against tough teams. Keep in mind to that he's also already the leading receiver on the team with 200 yards and he returns kickoffs. That is a lot of work for 1 player.

    If he can keep up the pace I don't think JJ being the next 1,000 yard rusher in a season at BYU is out of the realm of possibility. If he can manage to get 500 yards on the ground before the TCU game I think he'll get there.

    If other guys would pull their weight on the offense JJ would be even better than he already is.

  • Bugoff Houston, TX
    Sept. 28, 2010 9:55 a.m.

    Keep in mind the that Rogers Bros have a several years of experience actually starting and playing extensively. This is JJs first real year. Further, JJ is making running yards when no other part of the offense is working.

    There are those that say that Heaps is not making progress. He passed for 114 yds with a 48% completion rate and a QB rating of 90 against FSU. OK had 394 passing yds against FSU.

    Heaps had 229 yds against NV with a 53% completion rate and a QB rating of 96 against NV. The 229 yds is more than Kaepernick's 196 yds. Kaepernick had a QB rating of 135.

    If Heaps can connect on a few long passes and get a couple of decent short targets his QB rating will come up substantially.

    The biggest problem is making the right plays on the right downs.

    The inability to make 3rd and 4th downs and score is not all Heaps. It is receivers, lack of running game (short yardage Unga/Tonga) and play calling as much as Heaps.

    Anae is quite limited in what he can get executed.

    The TEs were high rated recruits. They will improve.

  • Kyle loves BYU/Jazz Provo, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 9:45 a.m.

    Play Vic So'oto both ways. He came as a TE but switched after getting injured and not playing behind Pitta and George. If he is healthy enough play him both ways!! He is one of the best athletes on the team.

    Bugoff thinks Kariya should play TE but he can't catch the ball as a running back so what makes you think he can do it as a TE??? Kariya shouldn't even be playing over Quezada. He hasn't looked at all like the running back from last years Oklahoma game. Juice is ready for more carries.

  • BP Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 9:32 a.m.

    I agree with TJ. JJ is great for the cougars, but he's nothing like the Rodgers brothers. This is what I feared when Unga had to leave school; his loss is immeasurable in terms of leadership and production, and it would have been great to see where we would be if we had him.

    Heaps will learn. The receivers will feed off of his enthusiasm, and a good passing game will free up some running lanes. Sustained drives will keep the defense off of the field (which was really the biggest problem against Air Force and FSU). It won't be a pretty year, but I think we'll probably finish 6-6 and go to the New Mexico Bowl. Anything better would be cherry for me.

  • Crispy Lips Fruit Heights, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 9:26 a.m.

    The solution for all of this anemic offense is to try to poach Jordan Wynn from the Utes! Maybe Utah would be willing to trade Jordan Wynn for Heaps and byu's 4 best guys.

  • Curtis Beverly Hills, CA
    Sept. 28, 2010 9:23 a.m.

    BYU doesn't rebuild, they reload.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 9:08 a.m.

    Utah lost 6 players to the NFL, the same number as Texas and both coordinators are only in their second year but the Utah program keeps on trucking. I believe Bronco is a good coach and he will find a way out of this situation but I have to wonder why he left himself in this situation when he knew these guys were leaving.

  • flatlander Omaha, NE
    Sept. 28, 2010 7:23 a.m.

    Thank you for not naming the five tight ends. If they were known they would have to pull their hoodies over their heads as they walk around campus. Seems they get all the blame. I guess you are assuming that every pass throuwn to them was catchable and that the Oline held up and gave up no sacks or hurries in all those games.

  • Pipes Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 6:15 a.m.

    It might help if BYU had a real offensive coordinator. Robert Anae isn't getting the job done! 2 throwaway downs and then 3rd and long. That is his MO

  • TJ2407 Springville, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 4:42 a.m.

    To Bugoff

    How can you compare JJ to the Rodgers brothers. They are so much better than JJ.

    I understand that everyone says that this is a down year for BYU and I agree that it is but my question is what happened to the recruiting? Guys leave every year to graduation and the NFL and it just seems that BYU has not recruited anyone ready to play and they have not prepared the ones they have to be ready to play. Who is responsible for the down year? Bad recruiting? Bad preparation by the coaches? Bad evaluation of players? What is going on? What does everyone think? I just have a really hard time with the fact that BYU lost so many players and barely anyone is prepared enough to step up and take their place. But I will say that the D played better than I thought. My prediction was NEV 42, BYU 27. I gave the offense too much credit but the D did do better than I thought so that is good

  • SportzFan Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 1:32 a.m.

    " five freshmen tight ends are talented, but will be a work in progress for the foreseeable future."

    FIVE tight ends in the same class? Even with the uncertainties of missions, this seems ludicrous.

  • Bugoff Houston, TX
    Sept. 28, 2010 12:36 a.m.

    Cody Hoffman is going to be a great receiver. JJ may do really well. He is smaller but faster than Unga. He reminds me of the Rodger Bros of ORState.

    By the end of the year Heaps will be very good. It is surprising but so far he has thrown 1 INT and fumbled once in spite of numerous sacks and hurries. He has protected the ball. So far he has been to conservative.

    It may take another 3 or 4 games but the D will gel, play with chemistry and improve a lot.

    This team did not lay down and die at FSU or against NV. The might be out of sync but experience will fix some of that.

    Heaps will get to know his receivers better and how they run with getting bumped. His timing and receiver selection will improve.

    Anae gets blamed for a lack of creativity but the QB and receivers decide what actually gets run on the field by adjusting in real time after Anae has called a play.

    If just one of the TEs would step up that would balance the offense a lot. Try Kariya at TE for 3 plays.

  • nehu Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 28, 2010 12:23 a.m.

    I see it as lethargy. When I hear Bronco speak I like the guy but I also wonder how in the world he motivates his players? I see no fire, no passion. Its oft commented that many players are married and maybe have lost the grit and determination to get nasty and after watching the Y this season I have to agree, whether their married or not. Is there anything about this Y team that is scary? The execution? No. The O-line? No. The QB? Well not yet. Receivers? No. Add all those no's to the fact that BYU has never been known to be down right nasty and you have a recipe for a program that can shine but only against, well Utah State. The level of athlete BYU brings in is sub par. Typically their execution is way above par but this year it is far from that above par level. Bronco needs to fire things up a bit, have some passion Bronco!!!

    This all brings me back to a comment Austin once made about living right on and off the field, wait, what?

  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    Sept. 27, 2010 11:55 p.m.

    No player has ever come to BYU with the advantage of the private coaching that Jake Heaps has had.

    I understand the desperate need of Greg and his Cougar followers to believe that Jake will develop into a Cougar great.

    But the reality is that in spite of extensive private coaching, Heaps has looked as lost as any other freshman qb getting his first meaningful playing time.

    Will Heaps further develop his skills under the tutelage of Cougar coaching? Or has he already peaked under the tutelage of private coaching?

    Time will tell.

    But the possibility that he has already reached his highest potential is no less likely than the possibility that he possesses the further potential to carry the Cougars to greater fame and glory.

    Such are the risks when a coaching staff chooses to depend on a freshman qb.

  • Desert Coug Las Vegas, NV
    Sept. 27, 2010 11:26 p.m.

    Wow Greg, a thoughtful and open opinion. I agree with you. Thank you for your candid and honest points.

    Being in Las Vegas, and not being able to cope with getting to a Tube with the Mountain so I could watch the game, I listened to the AM radio station locally which carried the Wolf Pack version of the broadcast.

    I was impressed that I wasn't too irritated by their homer announcing. They made fair and reasonable comments about the Cougars. They were embarrassed by the cheap shot on Fuga. So I am pleased to read your fair evaluation here also. It is refreshing. Thanks for being a fan, but a reality driven fan.