Two truths and a lie of the 2012 season

Just how bad was it? - Jonathan Daniel

We all have memories of last season, which of your memories are real or imagined?

After reading Josh's article about the best QB in Utah, I started trying to remember just how Taysom Hill played in his limited appearances last season. It's been a long time since then and my memory of what actually happened last season is a bit fuzzy. To help me remember I pulled up some old games (thanks to BYUtv Sports you can do that) and watched some bits and pieces of a couple of games. What I observed was very entertaining (anything with Kyle and Ziggy is entertaining) and also quite eye opening.

So I'd like to propose a little game for everyone, head over to BYUtv Sports, and watch some games (or parts of games) from last year. Then join me here as I play "two truths and a lie." (For the uninitiated, 2 truths and a lie is a get-to-know-you game, you say three things about yourself and everyone guesses which is the lie.)

  1. Taysom Hill can throw really well.
  2. Our Kicking game was dismal.
  3. The O-line was the weakest link in our poor offense.

These are three things that I believed about last season. Which one is the lie? Let's review:

1. True. Watching Hill against Utah State and Hawaii was amazing. I remember lots of simple passes last year going to the feet and over the heads of the intended target. Apparently those were Riley throws, because in the drives I watched, Taysom was on target for almost all of this throws. Granted half of those were against a Hawaii team that only won 1 FBS game last season. But still, he was quite accurate and so I'll go on record here saying Taysom can throw really well.

2. True. Kicking was dismal. There's not much to say here really, this one is definitely true. Between Sorensen and Stephenson BYU missed six extra points. 6 extra points. You aren't supposed to miss those. BYU shot 88% for extra points and 50% of field goals. 50% is really bad. Not to say that Sorensen is a bad kicker, but we have all heard about his health issues (if you haven't, read here) so we have high hopes for the upcoming season's kicking game.

3. False. I had been somewhat a defender of Riley Nelson, saying the O-line didn't give him enough time, or that plays broke down... But I almost think he wanted plays to break down so he could scramble and do all his crazy stuff. Riley wasn't particularly happy to just sit in the pocket, a tendency that didn't help the O-line in their protection of him. After watching some of the game film from last season, I have to accept that the O-line was decent (not great, but decent... most of the time) and Riley was the weakest link. I still think he's a great guy, hard worker, and a good leader... but he made plenty of questionable decisions and in the end the offense centers around the quarterback, and a poor offense can be traced back to a poor QB.

Okay, how'd you do? Did you guess it? Wanna try again?

  1. Ross Apo had a bad season
  2. Ziggy was our 2nd best defender
  3. Last year's schedule was soft

Take your time to guess which is the lie.

1. True. He actually got worse (albeit slightly) from '11 to '12. Statistically, last year he had about the same season as Falslev (who, playing slot receiver, should generally have lower numbers than a primary receiver), and about 1/3 as good of a season as Hoffman. Granted every team favors one receiver over the other, but it shouldn't be that big of a gap when both receivers are fairly equal in size and skill. I believe that Ross has the skill to be as good or better than Hoffman, and it's just a matter of dedication and hard work and he'll have an awesome year in '13. (Interesting note, Apo narrowly edged out Van-Noy in our fan poll of who will step-up for BYU this year)

2. False. I would actually argue that he was or 4th or 5th best player on the defensive side of the ball. First is obviously Kyle Van-Noy, and second I would say goes to Romney Fuga. Fuga was instrumental in swallowing up many a run, and his graduation (imho) has been a larger impact on the defense than the loss of Ezekiel Ansah. Other top candidates are Johnson, Manumaleuna, and D. Sorensen. This season the defensive line will be manned by a rotation of strong players, led by Ethan Manumaleuna, the combination of whom should provide a solid and capable line. (Possible DL players include Manumaleuna, Peck, M. Johnson, Kafusi, Taliauli, and Holt, among others, but exactly who is starting at which position has yet to be determined)

3. True. Last year's schedule was a slight improvement over the '11 schedule, but this year marks a HUGE improvement. Last year half of the teams we played (6 of them) did not win half of their games, and we basically had 4 walk-over games. This year, I would expect only two or three teams we play to not get to 6 wins, and two of those are our "walk-over" games. According to one analysis from a BCS computer, BYU had the 48th most difficult schedule last year and this year I expect it to be into the 20's or 30's (depending on how well our opponents do). If we win 8 games again this year it will be a bigger accomplishment that the 8 we won last year, so the 9 or 10 wins that many are expecting shows a marked improvement over last year.

So now it's your turn. Let me know, what are some of your misconceptions, premonitions, and/or fantasy filled dreams that you looking forward to forgetting, confirming, or indulging with the coming football season?

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