BYU Football: O'Neil Chambers' Antics Are Emblematic

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst IOctober 19, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 05:  Wide receiver O'Neill Chambers #4 of the Brigham Young Cougars runs the ball against Sam Proctor #27 of the Oklahoma Sooners at Cowboys Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The indefinite suspension of receiver O’Neill Chambers gives Cougar fans a glimpse into a problem with the current BYU receiving corps.

Wide receiver was supposed to be a strength and a source of leadership on an offense that was trying to replace five skill players who have moved on to the NFL.

Instead of stepping up to the plate, the receivers have done just the opposite — dropping balls, failing to get open and then mouthing off in the media and on social networks.

Apparently Chambers somehow thought that trying to act like T.O. and Ochocinco demonstrates leadership. Newsflash — those guys are cancers not leaders.

Chambers antics are clues to his lack of focus as a player.

Right now there are guys sitting on BYU’s bench that will go out and run routes and catch passes like their lives depend on it. Guys like JD Falslev, Rhen Brown and B.J. Peterson come to mind.

Perhaps now is the time for some of these players to get a chance to show what they can do. They may not have the size or speed or accolades of some of the receivers on the roster, but you can bet they would give you everything they have.

Talk to just about any former BYU receiver from the LaVell Edwards era and they will roll their eyes in disgust at what they see happening at BYU these days.

There was a time when BYU receivers prided themselves in running precise routes and having flypaper for hands. They would rather face a firing squad than let down their teammates by dropping a pass, even in practice.

They weren’t the fastest or most athletic receivers in the country, the truth be told they weren’t even close. But they drove defensive coordinators crazy with their ability to get open and catch the football.

It’s time for the current Cougar wide receivers to man up and decide if they want to play football.

It’s time to put on the tape of guys like Austin Collie, Mark Bellini, Glen Kozlowski, Ben Cahoon, Andy Boyce, Eric Drage, etc, etc, and watch and learn. It’s time for the receivers to step up and start helping out their young quarterback by getting open and hanging onto the ball.

Of course there are plenty of ancillary reasons why the wideouts have been so unproductive this year. A botched quarterback situation, the loss of Harvey Unga’s running, complete inexperience at tight end and some questionable play calling, just to name a few.

But somebody in this receiving corps must step up and accept the responsibility to make something happen. In Saturday’s loss to TCU, the Cougar wide receivers made a grand total of one catch. How is that even possible at program like BYU?

Anyone who has played the game as a receiver will tell you that drops like those that have plagued BYU this year are the result of a lack of concentration, a lack of focus. In reality, a lack of desire.

Getting open is ten times more the product of route running than it is speed. Again it’s all about desire.

If you happen to have speed, good size, are a consummate route runner and are willing to work your butt off, then you become an Austin Collie.

If your an average athlete though, through a commitment to perfect route running you can still become an outstanding and productive receiver. Just ask a guy like Ben Cahoon.

Ben was a 5-9 receiver who lacked size and speed, but he ran impeccable routes and would rather die than drop a ball. He is the perfect example of a player that wasn’t blessed with tremendous physical tools, but still excelled because of heart and desire.

Cahoon graduated from BYU in 1997 and has gone on to stardom with the Montreal Alouettes in he CFL, becoming the leading receiver in league history and the all-time leader in receiving yards in the history of the Grey Cup, the Canadian equivalent of the Super Bowl.

While at BYU, Ben was known for his ability to latch on to the ball, often contorting his short frame to snag passes that he had no business catching. Put Cahoon’s heart, soul and work ethic into this current Cougar receiving corps and the sky becomes the limit.

Eric Drage was another classic BYU receiver that lacked great speed, but could always be counted on to get open and make a play at crucial times.

He was as tough and as competitive as they come as a wide receiver. He was the type of guy that was disgusted by receivers that would run out of bound after a catch rather than put his head down and fight for extra yardage. His fiery nature would sometimes cause him to get in the faces of both his teammates and coaches.

Perhaps the Cougars need to infuse some old school back into the program by enticing a guy like Cahoon, Drage or another Cougar receiving great to join the coaching staff.

Shake-ups and/or re-assignments in the coaching staff are likely coming. How about adding someone in the process that can instill the kind of culture that used to exist back in the day?

Cahoon has 13 years of professional playing experience and is the kind of guy that could step right and bring a different culture to this receiving corps and offense. That’s if he is willing to call it quits after this season with the Alouettes.

Eric Drage would be another interesting addition at BYU. His fire and competitiveness would shape up the Cougar receivers in an instant.

Drage has coaching experience as the head coach of the semi-pro Wasatch Revolution and serves as the wide receiver coach at Herriman High School in Herriman, Utah.

Former Cougar tight end and NFL All-Pro Chad Lewis is someone that has shown a great deal of interest in lending his knowledge and expertise to the BYU program.

The point is, there needs to be a new culture, a new standard established with this receiving corps, and there are plenty of former Cougars that BYU could turn to for help.