There have been two overarching themes to the comments from the game Saturday, BYU’s lack of team speed and Max Hall at QB. I want to give you loyal fans a bit of a reality check, because although the passion you have for the team excites me, sometimes our view can be a little clouded by our present heartache.
Issue #1: Speed
True BYU may never have the team speed that other teams we play have, but that is not the reason why we lost to TCU. We have proven in the past that we can beat speed by playing smart defense. Oregon in the Vegas Bowl 38-8 beat down had more team speed than TCU has this year. The two TCU teams we beat in 2006 and 2007 had just as much, and probably MORE speed than this year’s TCU team. Oklahoma, yes the same Oklahoma that “used speed” to beat TCU deep last year had as much speed as TCU and we beat them in a well fought nip and tuck game.
Fact of the matter is that it is not speed and it is not the scheme, because in the past we have proven that the current scheme can beat teams of superior talent and speed. The key is that as players on Defense you need to know how to neutralize speed and take proper angles. On Offense you need to know how to neutralize the speed also.
The biggest mistake our Offensive game plan made on Saturday was that we let Hughes line up on an uncovered Tackle the ENTIRE GAME! That means that all he had to think about was a speed rush off the edge. That is the one place where speed can kill. But there is a very easy solution to the problem. You line up a Tight End to his side on every play so that he has to think about getting down blocked or double teamed. Even if the TE never touches him, it slows him down because he has to have a move ready for the TE.
I agree with Gary Patterson’s comments that the winner of the TCU v BYU game is always the more physical team, and we got pushed around on both sides of the ball all night.
Issue #2: Max Hall
I know there are plenty out there who want to call for Max’s head and who think that we should let Riley Nelson take the snaps. Be realistic people. Max is a three year starter and senior, not to mention an offensive captain. We are 7 games into the season. Max is not going to be benched. Besides I need to squelch the rumor that the pick on the first drive of the 2nd half was Max’s fault. It hit Kariya in two hands, and if you get two hands on the ball it needs to be caught.
We know that Max will turn the ball over a couple times a game, but so does Chambers, and I don’t hear anyone calling for his head. The fact is that 95% of the time, with Max at the helm our Offense shreds through Defenses. He will not be replaced, nor should he be.
Riley will get his day in the sun next year, and then we can compare and contrast if you like.