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Cougs on Cougs: Coaching from the Couch after BYU Football’s win at Arizona

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Jess and Mary are back (in print form). What went right and what went wrong for BYU Football against Arizona?

BYU v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After wandering the off-season desert for 40 years… Wait, wait, it was a mere nine months ago that BYU Football ended its season at Hawaii? That can’t be right. Are we sure the 2017 season actually happened? Let’s do some quick research: Beat Portland State… lost to Utah, typical… trounced by three ranked teams in LSU, Wisconsin, and Mississippi State, not unexpected… Whoa, lopsided losses to Utah State and Boise State? We have zero memory of those games. Holy smokes! Losses to East Carolina, Fresno State, and UMASS?? No wonder this off-season felt long—we collectively blocked that terrible 4-9 season out of our minds, right? Brutal.

Either way, these last months after the first losing season in however many years were full of trials and tribulations, and great murmuring amongst Cougar Nation. But Saturday night’s BYU Football win over the Arizona Wildcats in the actual desert of Tucson felt like we finally took a step into the promised land of football glory (or at least, it felt like being able to see that promised land far off in the distance after only seeing sand and tumbleweeds for months and months. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves).

All we can say is, thank goodness the return of Cougs on Cougs comes after a win, because we’re not sure we would have made it through another Coaching from the Couch segment dissecting a loss. Man, 2017 was rough. But it’s behind us now and all we see is that 28-23 victory with the potential for another one on Saturday. Let’s get to it!

What Went Right:

Coach Tyler: I’ll be honest, I was not expecting to make it through the first game of the season with zero turnovers, but that’s what happened! Zero. Turnovers. I was very impressed with the ball security and execution for the first game of the season. Luckily, none of the first game jitters resulted in fumbles or tipped balls (which might have destroyed my calm and collected façade and resulted in a return to my 2017 viewing habit of half watching from behind a pillow and/or occasionally screaming in disbelief at my television. Dark days, my friends.)

Coach Blanchard: I was SO PLEASED with the offensive play calling. It felt so, so comparatively smooth (sorry, Ty, ILY). I thought that the offense made Tanner look good, and hello, that’s what an offense should do right? KYP. And it looks like Jeff Grimes knows his personnel, indeed. I loved how many tight ends and receivers we saw. Ten of them had a catch. I think that passing game could have been even more viable, had we needed it to be, which thanks to the offensive line, we did not.

What Went Wrong (That Can Be Improved This Week):

Coach Tyler: Despite the zero turnovers, the Cougars did leave some potential points and big plays on the field because of penalties. Ten penalties in all: Three false starts, three defensive pass interference, one illegal formation, one personal foul, one substitution infraction, and one offensive holding call. Some of those are “better” penalties than others, but I’d most like to see the false starts, illegal formation, and substitution calls cleaned up this week. It was the first game and miscues are expected. But I think that can easily be improved, and I’m sure Coach Grimes will be on the guys about those “inexcusable” penalties.

Coach Blanchard: I think I’d like to see some different blitz packages. While our defense definitely got the job done, and had some flashes of brilliance, we could not get to Tate (despite the great push our line was giving). We did have the one sack (man, Corbin Kaufusi looked fast and strong and great) but that was all. The rest of the night we had a really hard time getting to the QB, when we probably should have been able to at least a couple of more times — especially against that offensive line that had 4-5 newcomers.

Next up, the California Golden Bears will do their best to spoil BYU Football’s home opener on Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium, but based on what we saw last week, we think the Cougars will be up to the challenge. This will be the first opener in 14 years that Jess won’t be attending since her move to Cincinnati, Ohio, so those of you lucky enough to be there need to cheer extra loud to make up for her absence! And say an extra prayer for her. These post-10 p.m. EST start times are killer.