BYU football: Cougars inspired by the play of cornerbacks Robertson Daniel and Michael Davis at Notre Dame

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  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    @ Ken (Chris B)
    I never argued BYU was a top program.
    They are probably repected more nationally than Utah.
    But that has to do with history and exposure.
    I am not defending BYU fans that struggle with reality but the U fans have the same struggle.
    Both programs are pretty irrelevant.
    But Utah is no powerhouse program you lost to Wazzu for crying out loud.

  • anti BCS Anaheim, CA
    Nov. 26, 2013 6:32 p.m.

    Evidence of a big time program:

    National Championship
    BYU - Yes
    Utah - No

    Heisman Trophy Winner
    BYU - Yes
    Utah - No

    Perennial Top 25 Finishes
    BYU (18 in the last 36 seasons) - Yes
    Utah (7 in the last 52 seasons - No

    I know, Utah fans think that playing in a BCS game is significant; sorry to burst your crimson bubbles, but more than 50 teams have played in a BCS games, but only about a dozen of them have won a national championship since 1984.

    btw, BYU has won as many BCS championships as the entire "conference of champions" combined!

  • PAC man Anaheim, CA
    Nov. 26, 2013 5:53 p.m.

    More spin from our little friend on the hill.

    The bottom line is this:

    The Crystal Football National Championship Trophy and the Heisman Trophy represent the epitome of major college football team and individual success.

    Both trophies are displayed proudly in BYU Legacy Hall of Fame.

    The Utes have never even come close to winning either one.

    The best the Utes have ever done is 4th in the Coaches final poll and 4th in the Heisman Trophy voting.

    Utah's best isn't even a distant 2nd to BYU's best.

    Which is better, having a trophy to collect dust, or having an empty shelf to collect dust?

  • Ken Sandy, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    @BeSmart - Your inability(or choice not to) to respond to Chris speaks volumes about the strength of your argument! The silence(on actually addressing his point) is deafening! Chris's strong argument is that byu is not a big time program.

    And your best response is basically this "Ya, well, neither is Utah"

    That the best you got? Nicely done Chris B.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 4:06 p.m.

    "Still sad you have to go back 17 years for your last great season isn't it?"

    Switch the year to 1998 and the sport to basketball and the school to Utah.

    Does the argument still apply?

    I will answer that myself - No.

    Because BYU in football has had multiple conference championships and top 25 finishes (including 2 years ago) Utah in Basketball - Well not so much.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 4:02 p.m.


    How often do you think a team has to have a great season in order to continue to be a national big time program?

    I don't argue byu has a history, but that's all byu has. If you have to go back nearly 20 years for the last top 5 finish, that shows a program is not big time like their fans think.

    What if byu's stretch of zero top 5 finishes goes to 20 years? 25? 30?

    In byu fans minds they will always be a big time program because they WERE a big time program. I think in order to BE a big time program a big time season is needed at least every decade.

    Utah admittedly used to not be a big time program. Now we are. See the last decade. Now, if we go the next 20 years with zero top 5 finishes, I'll say Utah isn't a big time program at the time of that discussion.

    Currently, when byu fans have to look back 17 years, that doesn't speak highly of what but IS.

  • IRIE eyes Wahiawa, HI
    Nov. 26, 2013 2:28 p.m.

    The title of this article is deceiving. I'm not sure if the writer was watching the same game as me. The corners were getting toasted all game long. There was nothing inspiring about their performance on Saturday. If anything, it was a brutal realization that our secondary is still the weakest link to the defense and opposing offenses will continue to exploit it. These "inspiring" corners gave up critical third down plays that allowed Notre Dame's offense to sustain longer drives (missed assignments, pass interference penalties) and score points. Regardless, Go Cougs!

  • Dan the Fan PROVO, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 2:22 p.m.

    Chris B, what is a great season?
    Florida St last competed for a national title 15 years ago in 1999
    UCLA went 10-2 in 2005 and not again until 1998. 98-87 since 1999
    Penn St hasn't been great in two decades and with all those games wiped clean from the record books I think that it is hard to say they've been great.
    Notre Dame, last year was a fluke(everyone agrees they weren't great) last was great in 1993
    Nebraska won a title in 1997 and haven't been great since

    BYU may not have the major wins of recent years, but are much more a national program than the U has ever dreamed of being. To say a team is great they must win consistently,and be ranked consistently. National champiions can make someone an all-time great (see alabama). But, just because they went to a BCS game doesn't mean they had a "great season" You should know all about that as you played a worthless Pitt team that finished 8-4. Far from great!

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 2:18 p.m.

    Coog Fan,

    "BYU has never had what are referred to as "lock-down" corners. We have rarely been able to recruit that caliber of athlete"

    Interesting, I've made the same comment before and byu fans get after me, even going so far as to call me racist.

    Why don't you think byu can recuit that caliber of athletes. Byu can recruit great QB's, linebackers, right? What's the difference? I'd love for you to explain why byu hasn't been able to recruit that caliber of athlete?


  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Nov. 26, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    @ Chris B.
    Is a team (Utah) considered a National Power Program when they have had 3 outright conference titles in 50 years?
    Texas? Nope
    Florida? Nope
    Alabama? Nope
    Notre Dame? Independent
    Florida State? Nope
    USC? Nope
    UCLA? Nope

    Oregon? Nope
    Penn State? Nope
    Wisconsin? Nope
    Nebraska? Nope
    Oklahoma? Nope
    Auburn? Nope
    BYU? Nope (even though they are independent)
    It has been 60 years since the Utes year in and year out that Utah was tops in their conference.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 1:40 p.m.


    And yes 1996 was a great season and I agree byu would have qualified for a BCS bowl.

    Still sad you have to go back 17 years for your last great season isn't it?

    What other national power program has to go back 17 years for their last great season?

    Texas? Nope
    Florida? Nope
    Alabama? Nope
    Notre Dame? Nope
    Florida State? Nope
    USC? Nope
    UCLA? Nope
    Oregon? Nope
    Penn State? Nope
    Wisconsin? Nope
    Nebraska? Nope
    Oklahoma? Nope
    Auburn? Nope
    Utah? Nope

    Need we continue?

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 12:58 p.m.

    BYU's 1996 season was a big part of the BCS creation, LaVell was invited to testify in front of Congress about the mess. But let's not forget that getting the Cotton Bowl was still a huge deal for BYU. And to come away with a dramatic win in front of a majority KState crowd (I was there, the place was all purple except for about 10k Cougar fans) was a huge deal for BYU.

    I hope Utah can put together competitive and winning teams in the future. I hope BYU can put together teams to justify continued scheduling like this year.

  • Big J Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    Not really sure what game the author was watching. For the most part all ND receivers were wide open all game long.

  • CougarColby Fort Benning, GA
    Nov. 26, 2013 11:51 a.m.

    @Christopher B So Whitingham has proven he can beat "great teams" but you're, once again, cellar dwellars. If he can beat "great teams" why can't he beat poor teams to give you a 6 win season? Maybe you can schedule Weber State, or BYU for that matter, twice in a season. UCLA, Oregon and ASU are at least good teams if not great.

    @ EastCoastCoug About KVN, on the first series of the ND game, I think on the Tommy Rhees TD throw, KVN went after Rhees and missed him. He landed weird on his shoulder and walked right off the field holding it limp. He sat down and the trainers attended to him for about 5 minutes. He obviously came back and played the rest of the game, but I wonder if that injury had any effect on his game. I didn't hear anything about it post-game but it made me nervous to see him walk right off the field and straight to the trainers at the bench. His stock isn't going anywhere. He has proved who he is these past four years. You know what you get with him and the League is tracking that.

  • Coog Fan in Spokane Spokane, WA
    Nov. 26, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    Cornerback is the most difficult position to play defensively. The combination of athleticism and skill development requires special athletes, and BYU has never had what are referred to as "lock-down" corners. We have rarely been able to recruit that caliber of athlete.

    We really could have used Jordan Johnson all season; I knew when he went down with an injury right before the season started we were in trouble. He was probably as solid a CB last year as BYU has ever had. Having weak corners puts more pressure on the OLB's in pass coverage and limits the flexibility to run stunts. we also could have really used Hadley this game in run defense. Having both those guys in our 4 losses could very well have changed the outcome.

    The biggest disappointment this game was BYU's tackling - haven't seen our defense tackle that poorly for years.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 11:27 a.m.

    @Christopher B

    Fair Point. BYU's last great football season was 1996 when they beat Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl and finished 14-1 with a #5 ranking.

    It is interesting to note that if the same rules that now exist for BCS bowl qualification existed in 1996 BYU would have played in a BCS bowl game.

    It is also true that since that time Utah has had two great seasons that included convincing BCS Bowl Victories. It might surprise you to know that I was cheering for them in both games.

    That is the nice thing about being a BYU fan. You don't have to hate Utah.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Nov. 26, 2013 11:25 a.m.

    @ Chris B.
    So the only barometer of prominence are victories over top 5 teams?
    I have to disagree with that comment.
    Nationally prominent programs are built over decades and they are built by conference and National Titles (i.e. Alabama, Notre Dame, Texas,USC).
    I by no means think BYU is a nationally "prominent" team, but I would argue that they are as well recognized as the Utes.
    Wyoming is not far from Utah, but I can use my workplace as an example, almost weekly people talk about the BYU game (mainly because BYU is considered a rival), but I heard one person talk about the U this year after Stanford (most Wyomingites I work with recall the days Wyoming consitently beat the U).
    ESPN provides exposure that even if it is just flipping through the channels people get.
    The sad truth is both BYU and Utah are mediocre at best and have been since 2009 when BYU finished 12th.
    Did you know that until 2004 Utah had not won an outright conference title in 50 years?
    My guess is Utah is looked at with the regard of Colorado and Washington State.
    BYU is unique in independence so who knows.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 11:07 a.m.


    I agree, the 1990 Miami win was a huge win. Its just sad you have to look back over 20 years to find those. What other national power has to reference 20 years ago to substantiate their prominence?

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    "we have never beaten a great opponent (Miami et al went on to have mediocre seasons)"

    The 1990 Miami team you are referring to finished the season with a 10-2 record and ranked #3 in the all of the polls.

    If that is a mediocre season sign BYU up for one next year!

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Nov. 26, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    @ east coast coug
    Lets be honest what is the one defensive stat that really matters?
    Points scored right.
    Just like BYUs offense they put up a ton of yards but very little points against top competition so they are poor.
    BYU runs a cover 6 defense. that means that 5 players are available to rush some times more drop in coverage.
    The key to zone coverage schemes in football is pressure. The Tampa 2 defense is very similar and is based on a pass rush.
    Try covering while keeping your eyes on the qb and cover a good receiver for 4+ seconds it doesn't happen at any level of the sport in a zone base scheme, Man schemes it rarely happens.
    Truth is the lack of a pass rush is what has made the defensive backs look bad, because of the scheme.
    People complain about them looking in the backfield that is their assignment because Mendenhall's scheme is based on stopping the run, getting teams into long down situations and getting a rush on the passer to hurry a throw.
    Go play some football and try to cover a good receiver for 4+ seconds.
    It does not happen.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 10:31 a.m.


    In 2008 Utah did not play in the Cotton bowl. Neither did Alabama.

    And in that same year Utah beat an END of season top 10 TCU team.

    This year Stanford may also end in the top 10(I said may, not will for sure)

    That's 3 wins against end of season(the only rankings that matter) top 10 teams for Whittingham

    Guess how many Bronco has?


    Your coach talks about national titles and he's NEVER beaten an end of season top 10 team. Utah has been terribly inconsistent under Whittingham, but at least he's proven he's capable of beating great teams.

  • Alterego Harrisville, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    cornerback play was not good. Front seven could not get to the ND quarterback and he had plenty of time to wait for his receivers to get open and they did. How many PI calls went against the cougar secondary? I know Daniels had at least a couple.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Nov. 26, 2013 9:59 a.m.

    @ BeSmart

    Let's be honest...Utah beat the pants off our secondary in a head to head - the last 4 years. There's no way we can claim to be better by some obtuse ranking when we don't otherwise play the same competition.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    Are you kidding me? The Irish smoked those two, exploiting their lack of speed. They passed the ball with perfect ease. Impressed? Hardly.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Nov. 26, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    Let's also be honest about Van Noy. He's had a stellar career but really was a non factor vs. ND. His stock went waaaaaay down last Saturday.

    I just think our coaches need to decide why they play these games and if it is to win, they need to step it up. I don't see much realistic acknowledgment about how much worse we played than ND. The coaches seem to think we were in it up to the last.

    I've been watching BYU since the early '70's. This is the same old a game once in a blue moon vs. a Texas but lose to many more that should have been won (e.g. Virginia and Utah) and then just fall apart vs. quality competition. Other than K-State in the Cotton Bowl ages ago, we have never beaten a great opponent (Miami et al went on to have mediocre seasons).

    btw Utah has also only beaten one quality opponent in its history: Alabama in the 2008 Cotton Bowl. The rest all were shown to be mediocre at best. Both programs' fans get big heads.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Nov. 26, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    The DB's were the worst of a bad secondary. Bronco should be ashamed of the lack of preparation he and his staff made on both sides of the ball. And Anae now. We can't live through another year of his play calling and excuses. We need to get a groundswell of support for change.

    As for Chris B...did you really watch the BYU game?? Why? If I don't like a team (i.e. Utah), I would never waste a valuable Saturday PM watching them play.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Nov. 26, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    These guys were not even supposed to play this year.
    So it is better to give up 23 point to an 8-3 team or 49 to a 5-5 team. LOL
    C'mon Chris you are mocking a decent defense when the Utes secondary has been atrocious
    Utah 78th in scoring defense BYU 27th. LOL
    Why do you mock a better defense than your own?
    BYU's problem in every game is that they are almost dead last in Red Zone efficiency, fix that and they have a lot better record.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 9:12 a.m.

    BYU lost the game based on the play of both lines. True, the DBs gave up big plays. But if the D-Line had gotten consistent pressure on the QB those long plays wouldn't have happened. The ND O-Line even kept BYU's LBs out in a very consistent manner. And if the O-Line had shown up it would have opened up the running game, which would have opened up the passing game. The lines lost the game for BYU, not the DBs.

  • Dibs Alpine, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    Why is BYU always lacking depth at the cornerback position? We don't lack depth at Linebacker.

  • Robroy Murray, utah
    Nov. 26, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    CB, go LOL your own cellar dweller, they need it.
    In terms of the game I also agree with Mr. Cougar Colby. Hats off tp the players gutting it out through illness and playing unfamiliar positions but the scheme needs to be re-worked. The guys look silly running into the chests of receivers instead of watching the ball. We have good talent, just need a new focus.

  • flatlander Omaha, NE
    Nov. 26, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    This just seems like a feel good story, player plays sick and young player gets in by chance. With the loss and the defense giving up 235 yards rushing and passing (470 total) in that weather, there were lots of mistakes on defense. I think they were outplayed and that with last year's close game BYU thought it would be an easier game.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Nov. 26, 2013 8:25 a.m.

    The reason they look in the back field is the scheme BYU runs.
    It is a cover 6 base zone.
    The corners first read is to see if it run and they go support it.
    This is even heavier on the field corner (wide side) When BYU falls back in the zone you keep your eyes forward to see the play.
    The field corner has been burned but that needs to be blamed on the safety and the corner.
    When they run man coverage they stay with the receiver.
    The Pittsburgh Steelers run a very similar scheme.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    You mean like the first series giving up a 65 yard td reception? Or the multiple times the byu secondary got exposed after that?


  • Provo4Life PROVO, UT
    Nov. 26, 2013 7:23 a.m.

    Couldn't agree more with CougarColby. What game was Brandon watching! The dbs are often beaten, rarely turn around in their trail technique and face guard or PI regularly. Anyone who has watched BYU play this year and almost any year for that matter knows that their corners are always a weak spot.
    Watching that game this past Saturday I thought to myself, finally a team that realizes our corners can't cover and is going to exploit that weakness. Granted, due to the crazy amount of injuries, they have been decent fill-ins, but truth of the matter is they aren't D-1 level corners.

  • CougarColby Fort Benning, GA
    Nov. 26, 2013 6:50 a.m.

    Brandon, I have no idea how you got the heading to this story. Sitting in ND Stadium last Saturday, we couldn't have been watching the same game. It was the play of Daniels and Davis that lost the game defensively. Yes the offense needed more TDs in Blue Zone appearances, got it. But on the defensive side, whenever they needed a 1st down they through it. 3rd and 8, 3rd and 14, etc. etc. etc. all night long. It was ridiculous to watch in that frigid part of the country.

    On another note, Howell needs to spend more time developing these corners. I don't know what it is about BYU corners, but they NEVER play the ball. Davis, has two INT in that game if he turns around and plays the ball instead of the man. For the life of me, I can't understand why the players are coached to play the man and not turn back. Look at the teams INT numbers since Bronco took over as D coordinator in the Crowton days. I hope something can get fixed in this area, because we have great talent and potential in the secondary!