Since I started playing football, I was told three things that separated levels of football players/teams. I have found them to be the true gap between any two levels of football. In no particular order they are: speed, speed and speed.
After thinking about football in general, I do not believe last week's game showed that only execution gave TCU the advantage to hand out the beat down they did to BYU. Execution is, and will always be, an intricate part of football, but "speed kills!" What I saw, watching the Frogs pummel the Cougars, was speed, and on top of that quickness. These terms need to be separated to better understand the why's and how's of BYU's latest loss.
Speed is the fastest rate at which a player moves. Quickness, on the other hand, I like to think of as how fast a player can take his first three steps and then get up to speed. If speed kills then quickness is the Grim Reaper. BYU, TCU and Utah all have decent speed, making them by comparison relatively equal. TCU has an upper hand in quickness, making it near impossible to compensate. Lets break it down one piece at a time.
O-line: Need I say slow? Watching Jerry Hughes run right past everyone and hit Max Hall so hard, I swore I could hear his heart skip a beat. Now that is quick. Coming off an edge is a hard thing for a tackle to handle. I would have liked to have seen a running back stay to help protect a little more.
Quarterback(s): If he isn't superstitious, maybe he needs to be. He can move better than John Beck, but he was too quick to tuck the ball, quit looking down field and go into scramble mode. He was more antsy then Lee Corso (going to the bathroom 3 times during College GameDay). His timidness I think was one of the main reasons there was not a lot of production in the passing game. Nelson, however,kept his eyes down-field and completed some passes on the run.
Receivers: Fast enough, but definitely not quick. Those first three steps make or break a skill player, and the receiving core, when matched with speed, did not have the quickness to get open.
Backs: I might as well put them in with the lineman as far as speed. They are a great group and did an effective job running the ball. I agree with what has been said (that we should have stuck with the run game more), but once you get down by 20+ points a methodical 8 minute drive isn't going to get it done. You need points faster, but not scoring gets you no where as well, so then you are in a position worse than a TCU fan inside LES who wants to be drunk or at least get a little caffeine buzz!
D-line: Was back and forth,but for the most part got beat. The trenches is where the quickness battle is won. Interestingly enough it is the big guys who gain a huge advantage with quickness. Those first steps win the battle. Our D-line did not do an adequate job on their O-line which lead to problems at the next level.
Linebackers: Hard enough to tackle/ defend a quick guy? Try it with an O-lineman in your face. If D-line gets beat then the linebackers now have to deal with the O-line as well as gap control, drops, running backs, and the QB. I can't say the backers did a great job, but I can't really blame them either. Their job is so dependent on the D-line that if one looks bad the other will almost always mirror it. However the lack of quickness of the linebackers was shown by the running backs getting to the outside. It's great when the secondary can make a tackle, but not something you want to see happen often, as we did on Sat.
Secondary: Now, I have come down on this group many times before, and as a former CB, I have some sympathy. That being said, I thought it was an okay performance from an okay secondary. I have realized that if I hold them to the same standard that I do for the offense that I will always be disappointed, so I quit. At these positions technique can largely cancel quickness and nullify speed, when played correctly. This is hard to do for even the best secondary. BYU overall had a mediocre performance in the secondary (as well as on offense, so we lost).
Special Teams: Didn't give up a TD to one of the nations top return men. Good enough.
I hear San Diego is nice around the holidays!