The last two weeks I have been on a diet.
Since I know how annoying it is when people go to great lengths to describe their dietary choices (talking to you vegans), I’ll just say that my diet involves me eating significantly less food than I was before. It’s a radical idea but I feel much healthier after two weeks of the “you don’t always have to eat until it hurts” diet. However, I will say that I still want to all of the food in sight at every hour of the day.
The only thing that has distracted me from hunger is BYU football. Instead of thinking about meatball subs or tacos my mind is preoccupied with more important things like pass protection and penalties.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I share my devotion and gratitude for BYU sports in my time of need. If there is anything that can help me turn down fried ice cream, it’s Cougar football.
With that being said, let’s get to the rankings.
WEEK 11 POWER RANKINGS
10) Rhett Almond
For the last few weeks I’ve been drafting hilarious almond-related puns to include in the power rankings when Rhett Almond made an apperance but all of them were just too nutty.
I’LL BE HERE ALL NIGHT FOLKS.
But seriously, I’d like to recognize the brilliance of one Rhett Almond and his ability to kick the ball through the uprights, even if his range is limited to kicks under 40 yards. On the season he is a perfect, 2-2 on kicks from 1-19 yards, 7-7 on kicks from 20-29 yards and 7-7 on kicks from 30-39 yards. The only kick inside his magical distance was an extra point the very first game of the season. Since then he has been perfect. There wasn’t much pressure to deliver on any of these kicks but I have no doubt that if that game was on the line, he would deliver just like he did against Toledo.
9) Tanner Mangum
In what has been one of the strangest football seasons that I can ever remember, we saw Tanner Mangum get his first touchdown pass in the 11th week of the season. Regardless of when it happen (or who it happened against) it was a thing of beauty. Let’s count the number of reasons why I found this to be an exceptional play.
- Right out the gate the snap is coming in hot and could have hit him in the top of the helmet. It’s very subtle but he hops up to secure the ball and make his reads.
- Tanner’s good friend Creed Richardson (I say good friend because if were being honest, who wouldn’t want to be good friends with Tanner) decided to play a hilarious joke on Tanner by throwing what I like to call a “LOOK OUT” block. This happens when a blockers completely whiffs or misses his assigned block and the only thing he can do to help the quarterback is to turn around and yell “LOOK OUT!” Tanner, knowing Creed and how much he enjoys a good joke, stood tall and didn’t cower when the blitzing linebacker approached.
- More often than not a throw in the face of pressure can be wildly off target. Not the case with Tanner. He delivers the ball with some zip, gets drilled by the linebacker and the pass is still right on the money.
Haters will downplay the touchdown because it was late in the game against a week opponent but I don’t care. Even if you’re playing El Camino Junior College, delivering a strike with a linebacker in your face ain’t easy.
8) Moroni Laulu-Pututau
It’s been a tough year for Moroni as he fell into a bit of a sophomore slump. He started off strong, looking to be a key target in the passing game, but then he started to struggle as he averaged only one catch per game over the last seven games. This week he bounced back with solid performance tallying a team-leading five catches for 42 yards. Hopefully he a can end the year on a good note because we’ll need him to play a bigger role next season with the departure of Nick Kurtz, Colby Pearson and the Juergens twins.
7) Isaiah Armstrong
Congratulations to Mr. Armstrong for making the power rankings thanks to his interception in the second half! Was his interception a gift from UMass quarterback Andrew Ford who pretty much threw it right into Isaiah’s hands? Yes, but just watch any football game and you will see a player on defense be in perfect position to intercept a pass only to see it fall to the ground. Not with this guy. Isaiah Armstrong doesn’t disappoint people. Need a ride to the airport? Isaiah is there for you. Don’t know where you left your keys? Isaiah will help you look. Want another turnover so you can score another touchdown? YOUBECHYA.
6) Fred Warner
In games like these its hard to single out players on defense because they rotated in a lot of second and third string guys to get reps but even in his limited action Fred Warner looked like a stud. He tallied two tackles for loss and should be credited somehow for forcing a holding penalty on first UMass drive of the game. The Minutemen were driving and had looked to break off a nice run but it was called back because a UMass offensive lineman tackled Fred before he could blow up the play in the backfield.
Butch Pau might be able to knock people clear into next week and Francis Bernard has the hands of a wide receiver but Fred Warner is easily the most consistent and best overall linebacker on this team.
5) Eric Takenaka
In 2016, the internet gave a charge to the people of the world to, “find yourself a man who can do both.” Who exactly were they talking about? It was Eric Takenaka. Not only did Eric lower the boom on poor UMass return specialist Isaiah Rodgers that forced him to fumble the football but he also had the presence of mind to recover the football once it was jarred lose. That’s like getting a free ticket to a basketball game then showing up to the game and realizing that your ticket is court side. Then someone tells you that as part of sitting court side you get to eat at the gold level buffet where they have an all-you-can-eat ice cream bar. Then you remember that you’re an adult and your mom can’t tell you how much ice cream your allowed to eat so you go really hard on the Klondike® Choco Tacos® because when you were a kid the dumb ice cream man always charged an extra 50 cents for those things and your weekly budget wouldn’t allow for such reckless spending and this analogy is really getting away from me.
Just know that Eric Takenaka is the man who can do both. Watch the video if you don’t believe me.
4) Logan Taele
Defensive tackles don’t get nearly as much credit as they deserve because most of the time they’re asked to eat up blocks so the defensive ends or linebackers can make the big plays. Logan Taele has flown under the radar for most of his time at BYU, usually getting overshadowed by guys like Travis Tuiloma or Bronson Kaufusi but that hasn’t stopped him from being a workhorse in the middle. With only a few more games left in his career at BYU it was great to see him break through the UMass defensive line to record a sack and knock them out of field goal range.
3) KJ Hall
I feel like I have a special bond with KJ Hall because a lot of people underestimate his ability to run hard and rack up yards in the same way that the waiters at sushi restaurants constantly underestimate my ability to eat unspeakable amounts of sushi. While we might not appear to be up to the task, we’ll bring the heat when our name is called.
The competition will get a little tougher in the next two games so we’ll see what KJ is really made of but I don’t doubt that he’ll put up quality numbers.
2) Harvey Langi
College football has been an interesting ride for Harvey. He’s changed schools. He’s changed coaching staffs. He’s changes positions. He’s changed positions again. Consistency isn’t something that he has been able to experience. There are times when I wonder what kind of player Harvey would be if he had played defensive line when he came to BYU. I wonder if he would have been better off staying at linebacker. More often than not I think about what kind of running back he would be and this week we got a very small glimpse.
Coming out of high school Langi was a star running back at Bingham High School and on Saturday he got to play on offense, where a lot of people say is a more natural fit. You could tell there was a little rust but he still looked good running for two touchdowns and 56 yards. Who knows if we’ll need him in the coming weeks as we hope Jamaal and Squally will be back from injury but it’s good to know we have a big workhorse who can run hard.
1) Francis Bernard
Speaking of guys who have switched positions, Sir Francis Bernard had himself a game against UMass. He led the defense in tackles and had this beautiful pick six that busted the game wide open. Francis has had his fair share of struggles in his move to linebacker but I’ve seen him get better each week which makes me feel all kinds of excitement for next season.
(A special shoutout to our guy Butch Pau’u for applying pressure on the QB to force a terrible throw and then going back to block the QB to give Bernard a clear path to the end zone. Magnificent work.)
WELL THAT WAS WEIRD
Apparently the theater department was holding auditions of their main stage performance of The Crucible (coming to the Margetts Theater in the HFAC this spring!) because Jonny Linehan sure did his best to show off his acting skills. This performance was really surprising to see from Jonny because he’s generally a dull person who lacks personality and is very shy in front of the camera. The jury is still out on if he’ll get the part as John Proctor but his pirouette did earn him an extra five yards and helped extend the drive.
After the game Jonny provided some additional commentary on his performance.
My thoughts on yesterday's play of the game... pic.twitter.com/ayWyqTyGIk— Jonny Linehan (@jlinehan9) November 20, 2016
TWEET OF THE WEEK
I usually don’t like to involve our dear friends in Salt Lake City but there are so many important lessons to be learned here. Our friend wanted a “sick blowout” but as Mick Jagger would remind us, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well, you might find you get what you need.” If this person needed a reminder that their team won’t be winning the Pac-12 South, they sure got it.
I want a sick blowout. Let's not even keep it close.— AUtahManSir™ (@jwattySLC) November 19, 2016
JAKE VS JAKE
There is a football player on the team by the name of Jake Oldroyd (aka the Baby-faced Assassin aka TEX aka The Dragon from Southlake) and my first name also happens to be Jake. Each week we’re going to rate the performance of each Jake and decide who had the better week.
It was a tough week for Jake Oldroyd as his beloved Southlake Carroll Dragons suffered a devastating loss in the Texas high school football playoffs to the DeSoto Eagles. Jake’s former high school used to be one of the best programs in the nation in the early 2000’s as they strung together multiple state championships. They haven’t found as much success the last few years as they were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs last year and the third round this year. After losing a key player like Jake, it’s obviously why the Dragons didn’t make a long run this year.
If we’re going to compare former high school football teams, this isn’t going to go well for Jake Welch because his former squad, the Montgomery Cougars, didn’t even make it to the New Jersey state playoffs after piecing together a 4-6 record. Even when 2nd team All-Conference left tackle Jake Welch was there he never played in a single playoff game. Montgomery was never a big football school but rather prided themselves in other areas such as soccer, golf and Science Olympiad (all things in which Jake Welch was not allowed to participate). Jake has high hopes that someday his high school team will take home a state title but for now he’ll just have to celebrate their success in swimming.
If the Carroll Dragons were to face the Montgomery Cougars in a game of football, it would be a bloodbath in favor of the kids from Texas. ADVANTAGE: JAKE OLDROYD
UP NEXT: Utah State
You know those moments when you’re having a discussion with a group of people and someone chimes in with a comment so completely unrelated to the subject at hand that everyone falls silent for a few seconds to try and recover from the idiocy that has been placed before them?
Fun fact. More often than not, that person is a Utah State fan.