We've now had more than 48 hours to digest the massacre of Saturday night--and it still hurts. Somehow being a Cougar fan, and a Utah Jazz fan, we've become used to feeling crushingly low. If you're a fan of either, you know exactly what I mean. Though getting whooped by three touchdowns and losing in Provo for the first time in 18 games hurts, time and reason are numbing the pain. Here's why...
First off, all you who are calling for Jaime Hill's head on a platter (I know who some of you are), relax. We praised him the first two weeks of the season after two incredibly well-coached games. He's a fantastic coach, and his scheme wasn't the problem on Saturday. During Monday's press conference, Bronco said there were 27 missed assignments by his players--27!!! How many points did that lead to? Any logical guess would be at least two touchdowns--ouch! For whatever reason, and I'm sure in part because of coaching, the players found themselves out of position and "not executing at a high enough level to win the game" (Bronco has said that so many times now that simply rolled off the tip of my tongue)...
Encouragingly, Bronco mentioned, "I was disappointed with our loss," said Mendenhall. "But, again, after watching film, I'm as or more optimistic than ever about our football team, about our future and about reaching our goals." He can say that now as his toughest test won't come for another month, again at home against TCU. But seriously, let's just relax and chalk one up to bad positioning and overconfident play.
Secondly, and perhaps even more frustrating than the defense, were the extremely costly turnovers. Anytime a team gives up 5 turnovers they have absolutely no business winning the game, no matter the opponent. You give a team like FSU 5 "gimmies" and you give up 54 points. Three specifically come to mind as turning the tide: Max Hall, Jan Jorgensen and O'Neil Chambers.
Max Hall: I'll take it easy on you because I know Pitta was being "held" or whatever, but throwing an pick-six right to a defender to start the second half killed the team. This was the defining moment of the game.
Jan Jorgensen: What are you doing carrying the ball and challenging a defender on a kickoff? Your stupid decision cost us points and momentum going into half time. Leave the returning up to Cham....oh wait.
O'Neil Chambers: Dude, you've got to stop fumbling the ball inside the 5-yard line. It kills us, and it kills your team. Run lower to the ground and do hand exercises during class. Your tricky catch at midfield over a corner was sweet, but your fumble earlier hurt badly.
So, all in all, Saturday was what it was--a bad game against a good team. We move on. BYU can still run the table and finish 11-1, going to a BCS game--it's going to take help now, but it can happen. All of the sudden, the night that Boise St. visits Tulsa is one very important night for BYU, as is October 24th and November 28th.
Here's to hoping we don't have to spend another friggin' Christmas in Vegas!