BYU football report card: Lack of red zone execution or effective line play loom large in loss to Notre Dame

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  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Nov. 25, 2013 7:12 a.m.

    The Cougs had good wins against Boise St, Houston, Georgia Tech and Texas, and bad losses against Virginia and Utah. Wisconsin was the better team and a win would have been tough, especially without Hadley to stop their impressive running game.

    But Notre Dame was a 50/50 game. I thought they outplayed us in the 1st quarter, but we played a little better than them the rest of the game even with a sub par performance by the O line. I agree the play calling lacked any creativity (other than the flea flicker) and a few of the play calls were awful, especially in the red zone and on the final drive.

  • borox23 Payson, UT
    Nov. 25, 2013 6:50 a.m.

    I think the level of criticism displayed here reflects the fans obvious lack of football knowledge. What really matters here is that we are undefeated in the pre-game fireside stat and what happens on Saturday is not nearly as important. That was the message to fans at the pre-game Wisconsin fireside anyways. Really I think that winning football games especially against big teams on a national stage is not in the top 5 on the coaches' priority list and that is just fine I guess if the main objective is to build men and promote faith. I think that means for fans that want to see a team really committed to winning we might have to be fanatics somewhere else and casual interested observers here. I have always loved BYU but am definitely frustrated down here.

  • smith1 Provo, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 9:39 p.m.

    One key stat, ranked 116 in the red zone. For that stat alone, Anae should be fired. We have perhaps the best defender in BYU history on this team. a solid defense overall, the top receiver in BYU history, some tall TE's (that rarely get thrown to) and a QB that has some serious potential...posting some stats in the ranks of the elites in NCAA. His decision making will get better. With this level of talent, BYU should be winning games against Wisconsin and ND. This team should be top 25, but they're not and I blame coaching. Anae is far too predictable and is horrendous in the red zone. He was the line coach at Arizona, so how he has the understanding of how to run a complete up tempo office is beyond me. Bad hire, especially the 2nd time around. Bronco is a good coach, but I think he's a better DC. Don't think he gets the team up for big games. KW does a much better job of this...but misses in many other areas. Fans can't settle for mediocrity.

  • CBAX Provo, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    O-Line is offended that they aren't good. So they play worse. GG

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Nov. 24, 2013 12:02 p.m.

    I am so glad that I wan't the only one to see the problems with the play calling. Jamaal Williams cannot run through a mass of humanity, but Lasike seems to be able to do it. Williams couldn't run, but Lasike what does BYU do? It keeps going to Williams. In a goal to go situation, put the big bruising rugby player in and get the score!!! This isn't too hard to figure out! What BYU was doing was so predictable, so aggravating, so obvious the reason for failure. BYU's O-line was getting beat, sometimes giving a pathetic push and turning around in time to see Hill getting slammed to the ground, On one play, all three O linemen on the right fell down in place...all in a row......nice and pretty. Something was going on and the O-line and the QB must have had a fight, so the O-line was teaching Hill some humility. Unacceptable play, unacceptable effort.

  • stephen29 American Fork, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    I think Hill could be a pretty good QB. He needs to learn to go through all his reads before pulling the ball in and running. He may develop it, I hope so. The greats could get through their reads. Gifford, Jim, Steve, Ty, Robbie, Marc.

  • cdchttrtn meridian, idaho
    Nov. 24, 2013 9:39 a.m.

    BYU is going to be always in trouble as long as they have Anae as their offensive coordinator and play caller. Every team that was on TV Saturday has a more smoother and polished offense that BYU. Their has to be a offensive coach out there someplace that can get the job done at BYU. Anae never will.

  • midwestYfan Rapids City, IL
    Nov. 24, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    This had to be the most aggravating game I have EVER watched. Fact - one 200 lb. guy will never move a 2000 pound mass of humanity; there just isn't that much leverage in the world of physics to make that happen. Could ya just bounce outside once or twice?? Calling a delayed quarterback draw while needing 7 yards for a first down and the defense has 8 guys in the box. How about reading what the defense has for you and calling an audible? The offense play calling is predictable, the O-line needs to make their assignments and Mendenhall needs to have a little more emotional involvement than a passive observer. I've seen high school coaches and players execute a whole lot better than this D-1 team!

  • Hank Jr Draper, UT
    Nov. 24, 2013 8:28 a.m.

    Hats off to the Notre Dame Offensive line. They made the difference in the game.

  • Jake2010 bountiful, ut
    Nov. 24, 2013 4:36 a.m.

    On that whole 'Nevada' NFL glimpse, one of them was in the Super Bowl in January... What we have seen this season is a resurgence of teams holding a lot of glory back in the hey day of the 80's... Perhaps a similar resurgence of the Cougars is forthcoming... The schedules will continue to get better and perhaps at some day not too far future 'we' will experience our own 1984esque resurgence... One can hope... But, the veil of mediocrity is looming large in the state of Utah and really in the West as a collective whole from the coast to the Colorado etc borders... I don't see that changing any time soon. Pretty much the real talent in football lies Texas on east from South to North, but mostly South... GO SEC!

  • wallyball SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 10:49 p.m.

    Calling Anae's play-calling creative is a huge stretch. I would say it's without rhyme or reason, and yet is somehow predictable. I have read the comment that the team looked surprisingly ill-prepared so often, that I wonder why anyone considers it a surprise anymore.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 10:18 p.m.

    Interesting that coaching got a "B" after watching the play selection during the last possession and when they decided to go for it on 4th and 2, only to turn it over. How can you have 1st and goal from the 6 and come away with ZERO points? There is too much predictability in the offense. A run on 1st down for maybe 2 yards, trying a pass play that is 2 yards short of the line-to-gain on third down (whatever the distance), trying to run it up the middle all night long when that play isn't working even in a mediocre fashion, etc. And having some type of field goal or extra point blocked seems to appear every game, too.

    BYU got beat in the line. ND's QB had all night to throw and Hill didn't. The trenches are incredibly important if you want to win. Just observe the line surge at the snap of the ball and the results of the play won't surprise anyone.

    I thought about watching this game in person; glad I didn't due to bad weather and poor red-zone play.

  • Back Overland Park, KS
    Nov. 23, 2013 10:05 p.m.

    Out come the boo-birds after a loss -- bad coaching they say. I beg to differ. I believe BYU gets the most out of it's players, despite a limited talent pool. For example, Notre Dame currently has 30 players in the NFL, BYU has 7. Wisconsin has 26 players in the NFL; Boise State 18; Utah 20; and even upcoming Nevada has 13 in the NFL. It nice when we have a good player we root for, but they are by far fewer than most major schools. Our expectations are waaaaaaaaaaaay too high! So, in summary, we want to play with the big boys, we want to beat the big boys, but in reality take a big breath and enjoy the ride when they are competing with the big boys (because of our coaching)! It sure was a lot more fun being on the big stage, then beating up on Idaho State (and even they have 3 players in the NFL)!

  • treecaps22 Charlotte, North Carolina
    Nov. 23, 2013 8:34 p.m.

    I haven't commented on a comment board in years, but this game drove me crazy. Here's my beef:

    1) Our DB's have to be coached to turn around and look for the ball. It's fundamentals! Is it coaching or the talent isn't capable? For years our DB's have struggled w/ this basic component of the game!
    2) The offense is too stale. The BYU Brand is crossing routes to the slot receiver and "out routes" to the tight ends. We're really missing these elements from our offense.
    3) Coaches don't adapt well enough. When the Jamal Williams run off the Left Tackle hasn't worked the previous 12 times, why go back to it again?

    I thought the grades on this article were incredibly generous.

    Having said all of this, I'm a Bronco loyalist, as I think he's the right man for the job. i just wish there was more adjustments made by coaches.

  • Tenn12 Orem, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 8:18 p.m.

    Wow a B for coaching after Gurney's first sentence says they seemed ill-prepared? Seems contradictory to me even if some decent adjustments were made. Those so called adjustments really were not that effective. Let's not sugar coat this. Notre Dame is not a very good team this year. They were unranked and the oddsmakers had BYU as a slight favorite on the road! This is a bad loss. Robert Anae was creative at times, but not most of the time. His play calling really was… well.. bad and confusing throughout the game.

  • U-tar Woodland Hills, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 8:16 p.m.

    Every year we are told how great the Utes and the Cougars are going to be, it's always a lot of hype. What both teams need are some better players, and certainly some better coaches. Both programs are boring products, it is amazing they have the support they do. By now most everyone knows that BYU will run a draw play on third down.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 23, 2013 7:33 p.m.

    Huge Coug fan, but it has been a frustrating experience this year... Feel badly that KVN and Hoffman decided to hang around for a mediocre year... Hope it doesn't hurt them in the draft...

    IMHO these ratings are too generous... The Offense was horrible in the Red Zone, and I really didn't think Hill did a very good job at checking off his priorities on Receivers...Both Doman and Riley did a better job playing against them last year than Anae and Hill did this year... It was like Hill was running for his life all afternoon We either need faster Receivers, better patterns, more time to throw, better patience in the pocket or a combination...

    The Pass Defense also was weak Not sure why we were playing Michael Davis so much...

    And I'm glad our Kicker is a senior.

    In the red zone the play selection was terrible and the QB execution was almost as bad... Lasike had a good game but that's about where it ended.

    The Defense was again pretty solid up front, although I would have liked to have seen them being able to put more pressure on the QB...

  • Pipes Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 7:31 p.m.

    The biggest issue facing BYU is the poor coaching. Mendenhall and Anae both refuse to game plan for a particular opponent. BYU was once again out coached by the opposing team. If I executed my job at the same level that Robert Anae performs his, I would have been terminated long ago.

  • ex patria cougar Australia, 00
    Nov. 23, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    I don't pretend to be a sports psychologist, but when I saw the article earlier in the week that BYU was treating this like a "business trip," I predicted they would lose. I have been following BYU and coverage of BYU football for a while now, and I don't recall BYU ever coming away with a win against a big opponent when they go in stressing that they have to "take care of business" or just "execute." To win against a big opponent like Notre Dame on the road, you need to go in with a bit of a chip on your shoulder, and then play like you own the place. Treating an big opponent with simply a business-like approach just isn't enough.

    I was at the game in Ft Worth, Texas, in 2006 when BYU beat #15 TCU which was on a 13 game win streak at the time. There was no talk beforehand about all BYU needing to do was execute or it being some type of routine business trip. BYU played that game with an edge -- like they had something to prove -- and they did. Awesome game.

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 23, 2013 7:12 p.m.

    There are several things that the Cougs are particularly consistent at during important away games against quality opponents:

    -An offensive lineman will be flagged for illegal motion in a third down or red zone (or both) situation.

    -A highly regarded defensive player will miss at least one tackle for loss when the runner simply runs out of his grasp

    -A defensive back will drop a pass that, had it been caught, would have averted a score.

    -The QB will throw several incomplete passes to receivers who are well covered instead of an open receiver.

    -The offense will move up and down the field but when it gets inside the red zone, it loses it's competence.

    -The defense forgets how to, or simply cannot, tackle effectively.

    -At least one long kick off or punt return will be called back due to a penalty. (Hine must be the most frustrated return man in the country.)

    -The team will have more penalties and penalty yards than their opponent.

    -The team looks ill prepared at the start of the game.

    -The team lately looks like they won't win the game from the opening kick off and really have become boring to watch.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Nov. 23, 2013 7:02 p.m.

    I wouldn't give that much credit to Coach Anae, but I respect your opinion. The fact that they could not execute inside the 20 looms much larger to me. And whenever the leading rusher is the QB, that looms even larger still. The fact is that the game would have been much different had BYU come prepared. The great offensive days in BYU's past had a great focus and precise execution of passes to the tight ends, coupled with quick crossing patterns and occasional deep balls. And where are the dump passes to running backs across the middle and in the seams? These plays open up the draw plays, options, and screens. I must have been watching a different game. I didn't anything impressive on offense, except the rare great running plays and too far between good passes. There just wasn't enough variety in the offense to compete with the big boys. BYU and Notre Dame should have been very evenly matched, but today, ND dominated everywhere, including the score. That's my opinion.