From the FanPosts...
I'll admit, it was a looooonnng drive home from the game last night. However, there is hope. I hear too many fans jumping ship. Some thoughts....
- Few of us realistically expected us to beat OK and Florida State before the season started. I really thought we would grab one of those games. We have two obviously tough games left on the schedule, but a realistic shot of running the table, and if we can do that, then our #19 ranking allows us to slowly climb (who knows where that might take us).
- At halftime, my brother turned and said, "Well, can we get back in this?" I told him I didn't think we would because I didn't see any easy fixes. It wasn't like we were blowing coverages in the secondary like Tulsa a couple of years ago or something fixable. I said, "It just looks like Florida State is playing the perfect game, and we are unlucky enough to be on the field with them." It actually reminded me of what happened to UCLA last year in Provo. They weren't 59-0 bad. They had awesome coaches, great athletes, and although they were a weak team in a transition year, they weren't 59-0 bad. But they got caught on the field during BYU's playing a perfect game.
- The team that beat Oklahoma in Arlington is still there. It's not like Max is down with injury or something else devastating. Harvey is getting stronger and stronger (he looked really good yesterday). Statistically, the game was an offensive draw in many areas, except for obvious turnovers and 3rd down conversion. As the game went on, I sensed that our defense was absolutely confused. They looked like they needed someone to pull them aside and say, "Okay, change this." It seemed like Bronco was saying after the game that FSU exposed weaknesses he hadn't prepared the team for. The thing I like about Bronco and Jaime is that they seem to be improving as coaches and I believe we have the athletes this year to make the necessary adjustments. I don't see another team duplicating FSU's game plan to such perfection until a possible bowl match-up. I believe Bronco and Jaime will make the necessary changes and add some wrinkles to help the defense get better. We had the athletes to hang with OK. I don't think FSU exposed some flaw that can't be fixed.
- Each year under Bronco, I see the stable of athletes getting quicker, deeper, and more skilled. It's a slower development at BYU than at other schools like Utah or TCU or Boise State. We all know why that is: missions, the honor code, and BYU being the unique religious private school it is. But I see a steady deepening of the talent at BYU. I sat 16 rows up from the group of recruits standing in the south endzone during the game yesterday and I thought a lot about this. Thus far, Bronco's deepening pool has allowed us to vie for the conference title each year, win 10 games, and have a realistic shot at a bowl game. It has also allowed us to prove we can always compete with mid-level BCS conference teams and occasionally knock of one of the big boys (OK). I like this trend. I like where the program is going. I think Bronco is doing an excellent job of growing our football team into a national power consistently ranked in the Top 25. It's going to take a little time to crack the BCS, but I see it happening soon. All across the nation the past two weeks, sports analysts were talking about the Cougs and recognizing the skill of the team. They see it. Is it fully there yet? Not quite, but it's close. I see Bronco sticking around for awhile, and I think we'll keep moving in the right direction. BYU fans see Boise and Utah having quick success building BCS-style teams, but BYU is not capable of building that fast. We have to be more patient.
- Our BYU coaches (Anae, Jaime, Bronco) are learning as we go. They're figuring out how to deal with mission loss, a lack of depth at many positions, and crazy changes from year to year with where the strength of the team lies (one year it's linebacker, the next it's safety, the next it's d-line). Are they the best coaches in the country? No. But I think they're perfect for BYU, and I see them figuring out how weird and quirky BYU is as a football team, and I see them getting better each year with anticipating strengths and depth, and planning accordingly. I like the growth of the coaches. I like how they're adapting the system each year, but keeping some things constant. I think this is something Crowton never figured out, and it's one reason why he failed at BYU (but had success before and after). He never could figure out the weird nature of the program with all of it's religious restrictions that limit recruiting and the constant coming and going of missionaries. I like how Bronco is leading the development of the program in dealing with this.
So, those are some hopeful thoughts. I do have some concerns. I wish our current coaches were better at halftime adjustments, but I see them getting better at this in some games. I wish Max Hall wasn't such a head case in big games, but at least he's continued the winning tradition Beck set down and had some big wins himself with OK being the obvious signature win. Max is in his final year, though, and there's a stable of great QBs lined up behind him and coming back from missions. I wish we had more depth, but I see this getting better over the next few years as the recruiting classes get better and deeper. I wish Craig Thompson would move to a deserted island somewhere and leave the MWC in someone's hands who has a brain.
There is hope Cougar nation! The program is a national power now, and one game doesn't dash all hope! I'm excited about this year and our future! Proud to be a season ticket holder! Go Cougs!