BYU, in the recruiting world of athletes, seems to be able to get some fairly average athletes on a consistent basis that allows it to compete with anyone and beat the lesser teams but rarely break out and beat the really good teams.
As I watch the recruiting sheets, I see top athletes who are "uncommitted" or "listed" by their names. I wonder what it would take for BYU to get some of those athletes, but then reality sets in. The nature of BYU—its uniqueness, the peculiarity of it and the type of athlete that is attracted there is not conducive to some of these all-American athletes. I look at them and see tattoos, their hair long or on end, and as magnificent physical specimen as they are, their very countenance does not say BYU.
Thus, we might all be resolved to having a lower standard of player striving to be all he can be but knowing in his heart he just isn't as good as the competition he will be facing. At least not anymore now that BYU has jettisoned the MWC.
I suppose it would be easy to jump on coaching in the same way LaVell Edwards was jumped on when he didn't win every game or nine or 10 games a year. Or in the case of Gary Crowton, after going 12-2, the expectation level was so high that when he tallied three losing seasons, the blame was clearly his to own. I have often wondered about that.
After all, the players play the game. A missed block, a fumbled punt, a dropped pass, one thrown too long, or short, or low or high is ultimately not the coach's fault. Perhaps calling the wrong play that consistently fails can be laid at the coach's feet. But the play itself, that belongs on the field.
Last year, I watched a pretty mediocre BYU team excel at times, and at others, it simply bandied about like it was Idaho State playing Alabama (yes, the Utah game comes to mind). I watched the O-line intensely play after play, recorded the games and replayed them in slow motion, watching only the O-line and what they did and did not do from the time the ref put the ball on the ground until the ball was put on the ground again. Full scope, from start of one play to the start of the next play, what the O-line did.
Then I ran the tape again and watched the D-line, then the ends, then the defensive backs and on until I got a picture of what these brave young kids were doing every minute of the game that they were on the field. I came to five conclusions on how BYU players could be better and overcome the stigma of being a 2-star, 3-star or NO-Star player into being as competitive as any player on any team.
Now, to be fair, I did much the same with the videos of a couple other teams I had at my disposal. I had all of BYU's games and a half-dozen of the top-10 teams. So off I went on my quest to see what the 5, 4 and 3-star players looked like, acted like and did, versus BYU players.
Following are my five observations on how BYU players can become 3, 4, and 5-star players on the field.