COMMENTARY – BYU’s football regular season has come to an end and with one quick bowl game in sight, the 2012 season will end shortly, too.
The Cougars are playing San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl. This is obviously an opponent that BYU understands very well. This season, the Aztecs were co-champions of the Mountain West Conference. The game will be played at 5 p.m. on Dec. 20. These two teams know each other well. BYU has a 27-7-1 advantage in the series. But this year it is a very tough SDSU team and winning this bowl game will be a big challenge for the Cougars to wrap up the year.
Well we can wait a couple weeks to get into that whole match-up, but for now let’s take a look back on what was a sub-par season for my old team.
Thee have been a lot of ups and downs for the Cougars in 2012 and 7-5 is not a good enough record for this program. With all of the talent in Provo these days, finishing just a notch above .500 is inexcusable. Making a bowl game is a small consolation for a program that should be winning 10-11 games a year. The Cougars have talent and depth all over the place with coaches that have excellent resumes. So, what would cause a team of this caliber to be sitting with a sub par record?
This team has a defense that is in the top 10 in almost every defensive category, so you really can’t look there. From the D-line to the secondary, we have watched players step up and make names for themselves. Where do you start when you list off these great college players? From Kyle Van Noy to Daniel Sorensen, Brandon Ogletree, Spencer Hadley and Ezekiel Ansah, the BYU defense is rock solid. When I look back at the devastation this defense has caused on almost every offensive opponent it has faced in 2012, it makes me smile. They shut down teams like Georgia Tech (with the No. 3-ranked national rushing game) and kept all but one team (Oregon State) to very little scoring and ball movement. This, friends, might be the best defense BYU has seen and will see for some time. My hat is off to every coach and player involved in the making of what this defense turned out to be.
So, the defense is solid. We must look elsewhere for the problem, because the defense was never an issue. On the other side of the ball, BYU was far from productive and consistent. The BYU program has always been know for a high-powered offense. This year, it was like trying to power a huge 4 X 4 with a Smart Car engine. They had a couple high-scoring games against opponents like Idaho, New Mexico State and Weber State, but do I really need to talk about that is expected when playing teams like that?
So why is there now a lack of offense in Provo? Was it the QB? The offensive play calling? The offensive coaching staff? It seem like a bit of all of the above. I do know one thing: If things are not fixed over these last two games and this off-season, there will probably be some coaching jobs available in Provo.
I am a huge BYU fan as well as a former player and BYU alumnus, but I cannot stand by and watch a repeat of this season again next year. I did not get the Riley Nelson THING, but he will be gone soon. His inconsistency drove me crazy. Do not take me wrong, he is a great competitor and has a big heart but should not have been taking snaps for this team. Guys like him are good back-ups, in case you need an infusion of energy or a change of pace.
Quite frankly, I expect more out of BYU than this. I literally turned the TV off with about five minutes to go in the fourth quarter of the San Jose State game. After BYU’s defense finally stopped everything San Jose State attempted, it was the perfect time for the offense to pull it together and get the win. Instead, the O makes it to the Red Zone five times in the fourth quarter and comes away with only seven points. I had seen enough.
BYU had a great year from one side of the ball and the special teams were actually decent, minus a hiccup or two in the kicking game. But the offense was a BYU football fan’s nightmare for most of the season.
The controversy about who to start at quarterback in the bowl game should solve itself. James lark had a great game against a really bad team. Nelson also played decent against the really bad teams on BYU’s schedule.
SDSU is not a bad team. If Nelson starts, he will probably turn it over a few times and BYU will lose. If Lark starts, he will struggle against a much quicker, more physical Aztec team.
Either way, the defense is going to have to do the job if BYU is going to win the Poinsettia Bowl.
Scott Young is a sports commentator. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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