Posts Tagged ‘BYU Football’

Goodbye Robert Anae, Hello ___________

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Uncategorized

After a week of speculation, BYU fans (at least the majority of us) received welcome news when offensive coordinator Robert Anae officially resigned this morning. A lot of people saw this coming after last week’s news that Coach Bronco Mendenhall advised all of his offensive staff to seek employment elsewhere or to re-apply for their positions.

As much as I loathed the presence of Robert Anae on the coaching staff, I have to give credit where credit is due. Many of us don’t remember the years before Anae because they were very forgettable. He was able to bring back a vaunted passing attacked that was missing for the first half of the decade. Many credit his success to the NFL caliber players he had on his rosters, but even when Gary Crowton had talented players he wasn’t able to piece together an offense quite like that of Anae. He was good, but never great — and, in the end, that’s why he is out.

Everyone is speculating that Anae will join up with his former boss Mike Leach. The former Texas Tech coach is the front runner to fill the head coaching vacancy at Maryland and, if he gets that position, Anae could join his offensive coaching staff.

So now that Anae is gone, there are two questions that need to be answered. Which of the offensive coaches will be back from last season’s staff? And who will be named offensive coordinator?

At this point, I expect most of the offensive staff will return. In all likelihood, Brandon Doman will take over as offensive coordinator. Mendenhall has been singing his praises all season and even said that he was the best quarterbacks coach in the country. I also think he is a great coach and, if we don’t promote him soon, someone else will.

Offensive line coach Mark Weber should be back next season. He has always done a phenomenal job coaching the big guys up front, even when he had very young and inexperienced players. The running backs coach Lance Reynolds should also be back, but he might decide it’s time for him to retire after being with the team for 25-plus years.

If anyone else is going to leave, it would be wide receivers coach Patrick Higgins. The receiving unit had some bright spots toward the end of the year, but they were uninspiring for most of the season. There is a rumor going around that Ben Cahoon, a former BYU star and record-setting wide receiver in the CFL, could be in line to take his place.

I would love for Bronco to bring in some new blood to the program, but I’m not sure where it would come from. A lot of people are throwing out the name of Ty Detmer, but that could be a stretch because he doesn’t have any real coaching experience.

In the end I don’t see a whole lot of change occurring within the offensive staff. Doman will probably get promoted and use the same basic system that was in place. If anything, we can look forward to better play-calling and a team that plays like they respect and trust their coach.

BYU guard Jimmer Fredette drives against a Vermont defender in Glens Falls, N.Y.

SPORTS: Podcast: Year-End Wrap-Up, BYU Football Bowl Preview

Written by Ben Wagner on . Posted in Sports

And so it ends. Ben Wagner is back from England — just in time for Jake Welch and Preston Johnson to fill him in on all the sports action he missed in the last PB&J Report of the year. The guys talk about BYU football’s disappointing season (including a preview of this Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl match-up with UTEP), BYU basketball’s promising start, the NBA, MLB and just about every significant sporting event of the last four months. If you were in a coma (or out of the country) for this fall’s whirlwind sports season, this week’s episode should get you pretty much caught up in time for the start of 2011. Enjoy!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 032 — The PB&J Report (2010.12.17)

Jake Heaps 2

SPORTS: Podcast: BYU-Utah Recap, BYU Basketball Update, Derek Anderson Freaks Out

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Sports

Harrowed by the memory of last Saturday’s Holy War loss, the PB&J Report crew reflect on the somewhat disappointing BYU football season that was 2010 — and look forward with hope to the impending era of “Big Game” Jake Heaps. Meanwhile, the BYU basketball team is winning ugly, but winning nonetheless. What does the future hold for Jimmer Fredette and the boys as they prepare to tackle some high-profile non-conference opponents? And why does it seem Arizona Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson is always freaking out on ESPN? You can find all this and more on this week’s PB&J Report. Enjoy!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 030 — The PB&J Report (2010.12.01)

Who Will Dish Out the Hate Speech This Year?

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Uncategorized

As we get closer and closer to game time, there is one question that should most definitely be on our minds. I know for a fact that someone is going to fill the shoes of Max Hall and dish out some hate speech after tomorrow’s game. The only thing we are left to wonder is who it will be. Let’s take a look at the possible candidates.

Bronco Mendenhall

I know most of you think there is no way that Bronco would ever spout off on the U., but you never do know. I know he will never admit it, but every defensive coordinator has a little crazy in them. Just look at other defensive-minded head coaches, namely Nebraska’s Bo Pelini and Arizona’s Mike Stoops. Bronco doesn’t seem like he is capable of a complete and utter meltdown like Pelini had last week, but you better believe that he gets fired up. ODDS: Did hell freeze over yet? No? OK then. Not happening. 1,000,000,000,000,000-1

Travis Uale

I have a good feeling about this guy because he used to play for the Utes back in 2005. Well, he didn’t actually play for them, but he did redshirt and practice with the team. I could see him going up to the podium and making a very logical case for his hate because, after all, he was there to experience the school for himself and, therefore, has the credibility to make a reasonable judgment. This would also open the door for Kyle Whittingham to say a few things about BYU, seeing that he spent his playing days here in Provo. ODDS: I bet he has some beef that he wants to get off of his chest. 8-1

O’Neill Chambers

For some reason I have a feeling that our ole pal O’Neill could come out of nowhere and surprise us by saying some hateful words about BYU. He is still here in the state of Utah finishing up his classes, so it could happen. How about this for a hypothetical? Maybe he decides to come up to SLC for the game for fun and Sammy Linebaugh from The Mountain finds him in the stands wearing a Florida Gators hoodie. She figures it would be insightful reporting if she asked him a few questions about his former team and heads into the stands. O’Neill tries a few spin moves to get away from her but, as we all know, the vaunted spin fails him. Frustrated by his attempts to get away, he gets caught up in the moment and unleashes a substantial amount of profanity, which not only gets The Mountain in all kinds of trouble but also makes for the most awkward moment in television history. ODDS: For those of you who are going to the game, you might want to set this one to record on your DVR. This might just happen. 2-1

Jake Heaps

Ever since he has been allowed to speak into a microphone at the BYU press conferences, Heaps has pretty much said all the right things. The way he talks about execution and preparation makes you wonder if Bronco has threatened to take away his dining privileges if he said anything besides those two words. There is a chance, however, that Max Hall personally contacted Heaps and told him that he needed to carry on the tradition of excellence. With this being Jake’s first Holy War, he just might go against Bronco’s wishes and unleash hellfire and damnation from the postgame podium. ODDS: This will actually happen next year after Jake’s parents get drenched with beer during this year’s game. 30-1

Matt Reynolds

I want to say there has never been an offensive lineman that has used hate speech in the Holy War. Defensive linemen have been guilty many times, but not those guys on offense. Pre-season All-American Matt Reynolds just might be the guy to buck the trend. I could see a Utah defensive player questioning his toughness after he gets hurt for the 377th time this season. He would then decide to grow a pair, live up to his All-American billing and then talk some trash after the game. Trust me when I say that the Reynolds brothers are capable of a mean streak. One of them may or may not have accidentally punched me in the face during drills at BYU football camp when I was 13. (I got over it quickly after LaVell Edwards handed me an ice pack and called me son. That was about as close as I came to playing BYU football. Those were the glory days.) ODDS: Pretty sure they don’t let people over 300 lbs speak in the postgame press conference. 300-1

Andrew Rich

I just got done reading a lovely article about how Andrew Rich’s brother is a huge Utah fan. That would make it really tough for Rich to replicate Max’s performance from last year. I can see it now. “I don’t like Utah. In fact, I hate them. I hate everything about them. I hate their program, I hate their fans, I hate their… wait. I actually don’t hate my brother, who is a big Utah fan. He’s a pretty good guy. I actually don’t mind their coaches either. I played a round of golf with Whittingham during the summer and I took his daughter out on a few dates. I guess I just hate their alumni.” ODDS: This guy is pretty much Bronco Mendenhall reincarnated. There is no way he slings any hate. Unless he actually did date Whittingham’s daughter and it ended badly. 500-1

Matt Marshall

I find it very interesting that one of the more insignificant individuals on the BYU football team happens to be the most arrogant. I actually shouldn’t say that. He came up huge on two fake punts and has done a great job holding extra points. That said, it seems like every single game I see Matt get in someone’s face to talk at little trash. Marshall is also from the SLC area so I’m sure he has plenty of beef with some folks up on the hill. If he does decide to run his mouth, let’s hope tsomeone with a little more substance, like Terrance Brown, will have his back. I’m afraid of what someone might do to the little guy. ODDS: I’m taking this bet to the bank. Well, to Vegas first, then the bank. 2-5

Jordan Pendleton

Correct me if I am wrong, but JP might be the scariest person alive. He has this look in his eye that screams, “I’M SO FREAKING CRAZY! I WILL EAT YOU!” You think I’m kidding, but I’ve seen it. I nearly wet myself. Anyhow, nobody knows if he is going to play in this week’s game, but I’m going to say he will tough it out and suit up. It seems as if BYU coaches have done their best in keeping JP away from the media, but I think after this game a reporter will shove a microphone in his face and he will go crazy and let the hate spew from his mouth. ODDS: He’ll probably eat Matt Asiata’s leg instead. 50-1

Key Unit in the Holy War: The Front Seven

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Uncategorized

You would think that, after a festive day of Thanksgiving, I would want to take a break and relax. But the fact of the matter is I can’t stop thinking about the game this Saturday. This probably has to do with the fact that I have been watching the replays of past BYU-Utah games. Anyhow, here are my latest thoughts on the ensuing Holy War.

Much has been said in the last few days about what is going to determine the outcome of Saturday’s game. If you look at my previous posts, I wrote extensively about the offenses of each team and what they need to do to get the victory.

After finishing a hearty slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast, I came to the conclusion that while it is important for BYU to establish its offensive presence, the defense will have to win this game for the Cougars. In order for that to happen, the front seven has to come up big. It’s all about the battle in the trenches.

Unlike years past, the defensive linemen and linebackers are somewhat of a no-name crew. Ever since 2005, this group has produced a hard-nosed playmaker that became the face of the defense — guys like Cameron Jensen, Brian Khiel, Jan Jorgensen, David Nixon and Colby Clawson come to mind.  This year, the front seven has yet to produce one of these kinds of players, but all of them have played with consistency.

The defensive line is probably my favorite unit because of how unique each player is and how well they have responded to injuries to their two horses, Romney Fuga and Jordan Richardson. First, there is Matt Putnam, who is stranger than a three-dollar bill. He doesn’t get a great pass rush, but he has a knack for batting down passes with his massive wingspan. Vic So’oto has put on a few pounds since moving from the tight end position but he is still pretty darn quick. And Ethan Manumaleuna has taken over the nose guard spot and does a good job plugging and chugging.

The key for these three will be taking on multiple blockers. In the 3-4 defense, the linemen aren’t supposed to be big playmakers. This explains why Albert Haynesworth threw a massive fit when Mike Shanahan brought in the new defensive scheme in Washington this summer. Haynesworth wanted to be a big time sack master, when what they needed him to be was a gap-filler. It’s a good thing no one on our defensive line has a massive ego. If the defensive line does their part in taking on blockers, then the linebackers should have a big game.

The linebackers for BYU have been a pleasant surprise in the second half of the season. I know most us have gone through intense psychotherapy to forget those games against Florida State, Nevada and Utah State, but they are a good reference for noting progress. In the middle, Shane Hunter has been serviceable and Brandon Ogletree is living up to his supposed nickname “The Hammer.” (Side note: One of the talented announcers on The Mountain said that everyone in Provo calls Ogletree “The Hammer.” As a resident of Provo for the past few years, this was news to me. If this has been the case, I apologize for my lack of nickname knowledge.)

The outside linebackers are probably the most intriguing of the group and play a very important role in this game against Utah. Jordan Pendleton was the big name of the defense before being sidelined with an injury. From what I hear, the decision on whether he will play will come sometime today or tomorrow. With Pendleton sidelined, Kyle Van Noy and Jadon Wagner have filled in. Van Noy has the capability for making big plays as he has had a few sacks and tackles in the backfield in the past few games. Both of these guys need to have a solid game in order for the Cougars to win.

The most important thing for these two is to play smart pass defense in the short to intermediate routes. On passing downs, Bronco will usually send one of the outside backers while the other drops into coverage. If the backer who goes into coverage can stay on his man or cover his zone, then the blitzer will have more time to get to Jordan Wynn. I suspect that Bronco will dial up the blitz early and often on Saturday, putting pressure on Wynn to beat them downfield.

So will the front seven be the big name playmakers in Saturday’s game? No — and they don’t need to be. If they play consistent, smart football then they will put BYU in a position to win.

Heaps vs. Wynn

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Uncategorized

On behalf of everyone here at Rhombus Magazine, we hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving. Now, let’s talk football.

In my last post, I talked about how BYU and Utah have very similar offenses. One of the things that I mentioned was that both teams have young quarterbacks that are either feast or famine. Like everything else with these two teams, the two quarterbacks weren’t even comparable a few weeks into the season. Now, with most of the season gone, the two signal-callers are on the same playing field.

The only significant difference between these two has been their individual progression. Jordan Wynn performed very well in his first five games, despite missing action against UNLV and New Mexico with a thumb injury. However, in the last few games, he has been a model for inconsistency. Jake Heaps, on the other hand, started out the season looking like a wide-eyed 18 -year-old, throwing for only one touchdown and six interceptions. Since then, Heaps has hit gangbusters, tossing nine TD passes and one INT.

How do they stack up in each phase of the game? Who will have the better game on Saturday? Let’s take a look.

Mechanics

You are going to be hard pressed to find a quarterback that has better throwing motion and footwork than Jake Heaps. His fine tuned mechanics propelled him to be one of the highest-rated quarterbacks coming out of high school. He was groomed in spread systems and came to BYU without many, if any, flaws. Jordan Wynn isn’t horrible with his mechanics, but lately he has started to sling the ball around and throw off of his back foot. He looked a lot better in the game against San Diego State, but who knows if he can have a repeat performance. ADVANTAGE: Heaps

Accuracy

Both of these quarterbacks have proven this year that they are able to make all of the throws to all parts of the field, but neither has been consistent in doing so. Heaps didn’t really find his touch until as of late. In his last three games, he has a completion percentage of 63 percent and has started to establish a connection with wide receivers Cody Hoffman and Luke Ashworth. Wynn has a better overall completion percentage, in large part due to his improvement in throwing further downfield. BYU fans will remember last year when Wynn had multiple opportunities to hit a wide-open receiver downfield but failed to connect. Expect him to have a few more completions over 40 yards this time around. ADVANTAGE: Tie

Decision-making

If anyone remembers the Utah State game from earlier this year, you will remember Jake Heaps throwing two interceptions and four other passes that also should have been picked. A lot has changed since that game, but even in the last few contests there have been multiple passes that should have been intercepted. For most of the year Jordan Wynn has done what he needed to do to get the win. He doesn’t try to force the ball or throw into high-risk areas. The only time I see him getting into trouble is when the defense gets in his face. Then again, what quarterback isn’t flustered by a good pass rush? ADVANTAGE: Wynn

Experience

There is no question that Jordan Wynn has more experience in that he has started and played in more games than Jake Heaps, but, of the two, who has played tougher opponents and performed better under pressure? Heaps has had all of his success this season against the riffraff of the Mountain West. He did beat San Diego State as the starter but he didn’t have to do much as the running game took care of business. Wynn looked like an All-American last year in the bowl game against Cal and was lights-out against Pitt and SDSU. You might not know which Jordan Wynn will show up but he has shown that if he is on, he can beat good opponents. ADVANTAGE: Wynn

Swagger

There is no question that Jake Heaps has ridiculous amounts of confidence. I remember watching him get thrown around like a little rag doll against Florida State, but never at any time did he look like he was shaken. He may look like he is still 12 years old, but he is playing with the swagger of a veteran. Jordan Wynn is the exact opposite. That game against SDSU might have helped him, but I’m not sure he is fully recovered from the booing he had to endure in their last home game. You can just tell by his body language that he is unsure of himself. ADVANTAGE: Heaps

Who will have the better game?

It’s really hard to say at this point who is going to have a better game. Jake Heaps has been on the rise but is still very young and makes rookie mistakes. Jordan Wynn can get the job done but his confidence has been shaky (not a reference to Utah punt returner Shaky Smithson) the past few games.

When it comes right down to it, I look at the defense of each team. BYU has been playing stellar defense since Bronco Mendenhall took over. However, the Cougars haven’t been tested since SDSU. Also, BYU’s defense is infamous for letting no-name Utah quarterbacks have huge games. (See Brett Ratliff.)

Utah is playing at home and Kyle Whittingham always has his defense prepared. Sure, they gave up big numbers to the Aztecs last week, but they still have the talent to shut down BYU.

PREDICTION: Wynn will have the better game.

Keeping It Balanced

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Uncategorized

I’m going to describe the offense of a certain football team and you try and figure which team I am talking about. This team is a run first offense that relies on multiple running backs to grind it out on the ground. They have a young quarterback who has been either feast or famine most of the year and wide receivers that aren’t amazing play makers but have their moments. The offensive line is the real star unit of this team as they clear holes for the run game and provide near-perfect protection for their quarterback.

Starting to sound familiar? Of course this sounds like the offense of BYU but it is also a very accurate reading of Utah’s offensive situation. Utah has put up a lot more points that BYU, but both teams operate in an eerily similar fashion.

If you know anything about football, you know the best kind of offense is a balanced offense. As people yuck it up this week about the big game, there is no doubt this topic will be thrown around in conversations. Allow me to put a little twist on things as we talk about offensive balance.

There is no doubt that BYU’s offense has been the dictionary definition of balanced in their offensive attack in the last few games. Let’s take a look at the splits in total yardage.

BYU v. UNLV- 300 yards passing, 216 rushing

BYU v. CSU- 242 passing, 284 rushing

BYU v. New Mexico- 236 passing, 258 rushing

There is no doubt that if the Cougars want to win on Saturday, they will need to run the ball and run it well. Aside from simply running the ball, they need to get good mileage from each running back. J.J. DiLuigi has been fairly consistent, especially in the early going when he averaged over 100 yards of total offense per game. The key to the offense will be the performance of Bryan Kariya and Joshua Quezada.

In the first five games of the season, Quezada and Kariya were anything but effective as they ran for 130 yards total. That’s not a misprint. After Robert Anae realized that throwing the ball 50+ times a game was going to get him fired, these two got a few more carries. And not only did they get more carries, but they made the most of them.

In the next game against San Diego State, Quezada and Kariya doubled their total yardage on the year as they ran for 50 and 85 yards, respectively. Since the meltdown that was the TCU game, the tandem has averaged over 120 yards on the ground per game.  If they can combine for over 100 yards and DiLuigi can get his 60+ yards against the Utes on Saturday, things will be looking up for the Cougars.

The ground game will face a difficult task as they go against the 10th best rushing defense in the country. If BYU can find a way to crack Utah’s front seven then they will be able to open things up in the passing game. Usually Utah has a strong passing defense but that was disproved as SDSU torched their secondary for 528 yards. This is great news for Jake Heaps and the passing attack. Heaps can have a big game as long as the running backs are doing their part.

When it comes right down to it, if BYU can stay balanced, they can win.

Cam Newton

SPORTS: Podcast: BYU-CSU Preview, College Football Update, Jazz Resurrection

Written by Preston Johnson on . Posted in Sports

Is the new, competent-looking BYU football team for real — or was it just a one-time aberration against a sub-standard opponent? How will the Mountain West shake out — and does BYU actually have the potential to go to a respectable bowl game? Will Auburn stumble in the face of the latest allegations against star quarterback Cam Newton — and will that open up a slot in the national title game for TCU? And what the heck is going on with the Utah Jazz? The answers to all these questions and more are in this week’s edition of The PB&J Report. Enjoy!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 028 — The PB&J Report (2010.11.12)

SPORTS: Podcast: BYU-UNLV Preview, Mid-week Update

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Sports, Uncategorized

BYU takes a week off to regroup and prepare for this Saturday’s showdown with UNLV. In this week’s podcast, Jake Welch and Preston Johnson break down what the season looks like with just four games remaining in a disappointing year. Enjoy!

You can stream the podcast by simply clicking on the link below, or you can download it to your computer by right-clicking the link and selecting “Save Link As” from the menu.

Listen to: Rhombus Podcast 027 — The PB&J Report (2010.11.04)