Commentary: Eathyn Manumaleuna and the BYU defensive line dominant up front

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  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    July 27, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    Nice deflection, Howard S. Your post, once again, has not addressed any of the claims that I have made. This thread is about the BYU defense, which has been stellar... no amount of deflection or spin will change that fact.

  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    July 26, 2013 10:31 a.m.


    Ok... Here is the deal...

    I know Cougar fans love to justify their relevance based on comparative stats...

    But comparing BYU stats with Texas, or Oregon, or Alabama is irrelevant...

    Think about it... Do you think BYU would compare as well if they played an SEC schedule on a regular basis... or a Big12 schedule... or a regular PAC12 schedule?

    An objective person would have to say no... BYU would not compare as well if they played a full BCS schedule...

    What matters is wins... and it is well documented that BYU has a losing record against the BCS teams it plays.

    And that is because to they lack sufficient first team talent and depth of talent (defensive and offensive).... characteristic of mid-major teams.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    July 26, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    RE: Howard S.

    No, you misread. We were having a discussion about BYU's DEFENSE. What are your thoughts about any of the claims I actually made in my posts?

  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    July 26, 2013 7:31 a.m.



    Giving up a 15-2 turnover margin against good teams is indicative of a lack of quality talent and depth on offense...

    Which is also characteristic of mid-major teams...

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    July 25, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    Howard S., are we actually having a civil debate? Nice.

    While I agree that BYU has struggled against decent to great teams, I can't agree that it is because of their lack of depth on defense. In 2012 BYU lost to Utah 24-21, #24 Boise St 7-6, #10 Oregon St. 42-24 (it was closer than final score indicates), #5 Notre Dame 17-14, and San Jose St. 20-14. In those five games the cougar defense held opponents to an average of 342 yards per game (219 passing 123 rushing). That would have dropped their defensive ranking from #3 to #16 in the country for opponents total yards, #41 for passing yards, and #17 for rushing yards. The real story was the 15-2 turnover edge, but that is the offense's fault.

    Now an argument can be made that San Jose and Utah aren't "big boys" but take them out of the equation and the statistics are still similar. Take Oregon State out and BYU was hands down the best defense in the country. There is no way that BYU's struggles against good teams can be attributed to their lack of depth on defense. Thoughts?

  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    July 25, 2013 8:39 a.m.


    Of course BYU has had a good defense in recent years... but they've been playing mostly other mid-major teams that also lack quality depth.

    Against the big boys who have quality depth... BYU has a losing record... that is simply the fact.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    July 24, 2013 11:15 p.m.

    Also, because you failed to show any actual research let me provide what I found (as an actual fan I like to do research on my team)...

    Holt (backup LE) was a 4-star prospect with offers to Florida, Oregon, and several other top programs. True he was recruited as a tight end but word is that he has transitioned seamlessly to DE.

    Marques Johnson (backup NT) was not as highly recruited as Holt but did have offers to two BCS schools.

    Taele (backup RE) is just a walk-on, but he beat out Peoples, who is an under-the-radar prospect that the Utes wanted (and almost got).

    Not a lot of experience among the backups but the talent is there. Like I mentioned in my earlier post, we’ve done o.k. with backups stepping up in recent years (i.e. Ansah).

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    July 24, 2013 11:13 p.m.

    Howard S.

    You're right that the cougars are thin at DL, and you're right that mid-major programs often have a lack of depth. But you (of course keeping to the law of the troll) stop short. What you don't acknowledge is that many BCS programs also have depth issues at certain positions. Also, BYU has had exceptional defenses in recent years despite their lack of depth. Feel free to attempt to refute either of those two points.

  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    July 24, 2013 7:47 p.m.

    @Riverton Cougar

    RC, you haven't read my posts very carefully...

    I never made comparison between BYU and Utah d-lines...

    I simply pointed out that with only 2 established d-linemen BYU is thin at that position...

    That is simply factual...

    I also noted that a characteristic of mid-major teams is that they often have pretty good talent on the 1st team... but they lack quality depth of talent... that appears to be the case with BYU's d-line.

    No comparison with Utah only observations about BYU...

    You and your fellow Cougar commenters almost instinctively respond to any less than glowing observation about BYU by questioning the credibility of the messenger and/or drawing comparisons with the Utes.

    How about telling me how the Cougars aren't thin at the d-line position... and how it's not a characteristic of mid-major teams to have limited depth of talent?

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    July 24, 2013 2:29 p.m.

    True that we lost some great players (three of which are on NFL rosters), but I don’t believe the third best defense in the country in 2012 got there by “being thin” as Howard S. suggests, and on paper 2013 is better than 2012. The defensive unit has at least four players that were ranked top 20 in their positions out of HS (Holt #5, Kaufusi #19, Bills #15, KVN #11) and there are more 4-star recruits on the two deep than 2-star. We have a youngish line but the talent is certainly there. Remember that one of our thinner positions last season was defensive end, and fans (and critics) were quite concerned when our starter went down in the fourth game of the season. Fortunately the back-up was able to step up. I don't think our back-ups will become top 5 nfl picks this season, but they should be o.k.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    July 24, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    "I observe that the Cougars are thin at the D-line position with no depth and that this is characteristic of mid- major teams...

    The Cougar commenters immediately begin to challenge the Utes... and my credibility..."

    You reap what you sow, Howard. You refer to BYU as a "mid-major" and refer to Utah as a "power school", making a comparison. Then you say that BYU has a thin D-line. Well, guess what? BYU's D was ranked in the top 3 in the nation last year, well above your beloved Utes. We all know that BYU's D wasn't ranked so high because of the secondary, so logically it follows that the D-line isn't as thin as you suggest.

    Besides, IF it is true that thin D-lines are a characteristic of mid-major teams, and if BYU is a mid-major team with a thin D-line, then since Utah's D was worse than BYU's D this last year, logically Utah must have a thinner D-line than BYU (otherwise it would be better), and therefore fits the characteristic of a mid-major team more than BYU does.

  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    July 24, 2013 6:52 a.m.

    @Cougar Nation

    I observe that the Cougars are thin at the D-line position with no depth and that this is characteristic of mid- major teams...

    The Cougar commenters immediately begin to challenge the Utes... and my credibility...

    That response must be because they can't really dispute the veracity of my initial observation.

  • Surf is Up Miami, FL
    July 23, 2013 6:27 p.m.

    With all due respect Howard S. (and seriously there is no respect due to you) for you to be referring to BYU as a mid major in the arrogant way that and your buddies frequently do is rather comical.

    Why do you guys (ute fans with an axe to grind) like to shame yourselves so much by bleating about BYU being a mid major when the full irony is that the utes are a mid major adopted into a BCS conference; but has shown little-to-nothing that it belongs?

    Yes, you will say "but we beat BYU the last three years". That may be true. But as soon as the BYU game is over the wheels come flying off the utemobile. And BYU tends to recover.

    And it isn't all SOS.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    July 23, 2013 3:32 p.m.

    "Talking about the Utes again?

    Why do Cougars always want to talk about the Utes when the article doesn't even mention the Utes once?"

    Says the Ute fan on the comment board of an article that doesn't even mention the Utes once.

  • MacNasty Rexburg, ID
    July 23, 2013 9:36 a.m.

    Howie said,

    "Talking about the Utes again?

    Why do Cougars always want to talk about the Utes when the article doesn't even mention the Utes once?"

    Because Howie, coming from an extremely weak position, which you need to be reminded of constantly, gives zero credibility to your comments.

    Tell you what, why don't you leave the BYU articles alone with your negative/critical comments and I won't have to point out that you are a Ute troll.

    Try this, comment positively on BYU football and I will congratulate you, but until then....

  • STuFOO Korea, AE
    July 23, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    Howard S.

    "Why do Cougars always want to talk about the Utes when the article doesn't even mention the Utes once?"

    What?! Isn't this your entire M.O.?

  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    July 22, 2013 10:35 p.m.


    Talking about the Utes again?

    Why do Cougars always want to talk about the Utes when the article doesn't even mention the Utes once?

  • MacNasty Rexburg, ID
    July 22, 2013 9:50 p.m.

    Howie said

    "I didn't realize BYU was so thin at the DL position...

    but that's the nature of mid-major teams...

    they may have pretty decent 1st string players... but no depth"

    Howie, your knowledge of with mid-major football is infinitely more than ours since your PAC-thetic Utes, except for 2 seasons, have been the quintessential mid-major.

    37 years in the WAC and only 2 championships. Face it Howie, Utah was chosen by the PAC 12 as a place holder and nothing more. LOL

  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    July 22, 2013 9:09 p.m.

    I didn't realize BYU was so thin at the DL position...

    but that's the nature of mid-major teams...

    they may have pretty decent 1st string players... but no depth.

  • Osgrath Provo, UT
    July 22, 2013 8:34 p.m.

    Striker - unfortunately, I'm afraid you are correct about special teams. If Sorensen can get back to the level he played at as a freshman, I will be happy - and hope we can get a good punter. I'm less worried about kick returns, however.

  • Striker Omaha, NE
    July 22, 2013 6:09 p.m.

    This defense will still be just as good. I don't think they'll be #3, but will probably remain in the top 15. Jordan Johnson, Eathyn, and Van Noy are just some of the studs on the defense. They have solid leadership led by a defensive minded coach. The offense will be spectacular with their coach who has put 20 WRs in the NFL, Anae and his top 25 offense, and other staff.

    Personally, the only weakness I see on this team is special teams.

  • SoCalTrueBlue2 San Diego, CA
    July 22, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    The headline is overly optimistic. With questions over who will man the third spot, a more appropriate headline would have been, "Defensive Line Anchored by Manumaleuna and Kafusi Has Potential to Be Strong."

  • Osgrath Provo, UT
    July 22, 2013 1:30 p.m.

    Well, we obviously don't know for sure how the season will play out - given that it is still July. However, I feel the pessimists are whistling in the dark a little. The talent is there as much as last year - it's just different. Keep in mind that Ziggy didn't start until a few games had passed and that he never was able to play a full game - he had to come out frequently to catch his breath. Even without the J.C. transfers, the two-deep looks as good as ever.

    Besides, all this defense demands of the line is to fill the gaps so that the linebackers can make plays. I really don't see a huge drop-off in the linebackers for this year.

  • dhsalum Saint George, UT
    July 22, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    They've been using the 2-5-4 for a while now (or at least a 2-4-5 nickel). I dont know what coverages they use out of it, but they'll have KVN and another olb (sometimes Ziggy last year) line up basically as 4-3 DEs. This is also a great way to get Alani Fua on the field more

    Trent Trammell was the best jc transfer but he blew out his knee in spring practice. Sam Lee is another that might take his spot at corner. I dont remember any others--Most of the jc guys were o-lineman. But while we're on the subject, BYU has a shot at Nick Kurtz, a 4-star jc WR for next year..

  • mdance86 Sandy, UT
    July 22, 2013 11:44 a.m.

    BYU still won't beat Boise State.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 22, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    "Queue up the 12 angry, obsessed with BYU ute "fans" in 3, 2, 1..."


  • RepresentBlue West Jordan, UT
    July 22, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    I agree with other fans who think this article is too optimistic. I think that the D-line is going to be thin this year even if everyone stays healthy, which is very unlikely. I think where this will be most apparent is in defending the run. Look for the D-line to get worn down in the 2nd half against teams with dominant O-lines. Losing Ogletree and Kaveinga who were both very good at stuffing the run will also hurt. Hope I am wrong though.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    July 22, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    It's hard to lose the 5th overall pick in the NFL draft and say that the position will be improved but it would appear BYU will be just fine, if not extremely good still, on the defensive line. With Manumaleuna and Kaufusi at 2 of the spots that is pretty good and some of the other guys are really good prospects. I thought Peck and Kanuch were both excellent in HS when I saw them play. I bet dline turns out to be a strength on defense.

  • byufanman west valley city, utah
    July 22, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    Can anyone update me on our JC transfers on the d-side of the ball?

  • Cougar_Independence OMAHA, NE
    July 21, 2013 11:30 p.m.

    Ethyn coming back will be huge for the BYU D line. Along with Bronson Kafusi and Jaronhym People coming in, this 3013 D line is going to be great!

    Remember when J. People's got a scholarship offer from Utah, after already committing to BYU? Although he wavered for a day, he ended up turning down Utah for BYU.

    Go Cougs!

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    July 21, 2013 11:26 p.m.

    Claws - I don't see the lack of depth with Eathyn, Kaufusi, Peck, Johnson, Kanuch and Holt. Even though it could be a slight drop in talent with a couple of these guys, they will provide all the relief necessary for Eathyn and Kaufusi. I have no worries at all in the D front seven.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    July 21, 2013 10:47 p.m.

    The D-line showed some vulnerability against Oregon State and Notre Dame last year. I am hoping that Bronco has a fix for that. Realistically, I think our defense will be OK this year, but not as good as last year. I think the D-backfield will be a huge question mark.

    I think the offense will be considerably better than last year mostly due to a big upgrade at QB.

  • kaysvillecougar KAYSVILLE, UT
    July 21, 2013 10:30 p.m.

    I agree with Felis and Cougarclaws. Way to optimistic and I'm a big cougar fan. No way will the D - line be as good as last year. The coaches are obviously concerned enough to entertain a 2 - 5 - 4 defense. Part of the reason for that is because we're so deep at linebacker. Hope I'm wrong, but the dreams of a #3 defense are optimistic. My guess is top 10 - 20. That would be fantastic considering the schedule and presuming an improved offense.

  • AntiSNOT Taylorsville, UT
    July 21, 2013 9:42 p.m.

    Great article! Queue up the 12 angry, obsessed with BYU ute "fans" in 3, 2, 1...

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    July 21, 2013 9:37 p.m.

    It's also important to remember that BYU likes to morph into a 2-5-4 quite often in the base 3-4, which will give our DL some needed rest. This defense is, and it seems will always be, anchored by great LB play, and this year is no exception.

  • Cougar Claws Lindon, UT
    July 21, 2013 9:32 p.m.

    The defensive line will be okay, but I worry about BYU wearing down against the run late in games because of the lack of depth. That could prove costly if a team is trying to ice away a close game late. The talent is there, though so hopefully the bench guys are ready by the time the season starts.

  • FelisConcolor North Salt Lake, UT
    July 21, 2013 8:28 p.m.

    Nice article, but it's way too optimistic.

    BYU's defensive line will be better than most think, but it's not going to be as good as last year's. One big loss no one seems to talk about is Russell Tialavea, who while not spectacular was steady as a rock. He will be missed this season.