2008 CFN BYU Preview
BYU WR Austin Collie
BYU will go on its "quest for perfection," or at least a BCS spot, with a loaded team and a tremendous offense helped by WR Austin Collie. Does the team really have what it takes to get into one of the big money games? Check out the CFN BYU preview.
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2008 BYU Offense
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2008 BYU Depth
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2006 CFN BYU Preview
It takes a special sort of mindset to not be satisfied with an
11-2 record. If you’re USC, Ohio State, or maybe LSU, Florida,
or Oklahoma, that’s one thing, but even with all the past
success, this is still BYU. Now it's looking to make a big jump
into superpower status.
That might be a bit of a reach for a non-BCS club, but two
straight 11-2 seasons under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, no
losses following Sept. 16 in each of the past two seasons (a
20-0 record over that span), two straight Mountain West titles
and bowl wins over Oregon and UCLA, have raised the bar a bit
Head coach: Bronco Mendenhall
4th year: 28-10
Returning Lettermen: 50
Lettermen Lost: 18
Best BYU Players
1. DE Jan Jorgensen, Jr.
2. QB Max Hall, Jr.
3. OT Dallas Reynolds, Sr.
4. TE Dennis Pitta, Jr.
5. RB Harvey Unga, Soph.
6. OG Ray Feinga, Sr.
7. WR Austin Collie, Jr.
8. RB Fui Vakapuna, Sr.
9. LB David Nixon, Sr.
10. NT Russell Tialavea, Jr.
CFN Prediction: 10-2
2008 Record: 0-0
Sept. 6 at Washington
Sept. 13 UCLA
Sept. 20 Wyoming
Oct. 3 at Utah State
Oct. 11 New Mexico
Oct. 16 at TCU
Oct. 25 UNLV
Nov. 1 at Colorado State
Nov. 8 San Diego State
Nov. 15 at Air Force
Nov. 22 at Utah
CFN Prediction: 7-5
2007 Record: 11-2
Arizona W 20-7
Sept. 8 at
UCLA L 27-17
at N Mexico
Wyoming W 35-10
Las Vegas Bowl
Dec. 22 UCLA W 17-16
Perfection” T-shirts are being worn, talk of a BCS game is prevalent,
and the expectations haven’t been jacked up this high in years. But all
of the attention also puts a big blue-and-white bull’s-eye on the team’s
BYU is more than just the hunted now; it’s making its bid to be the
preeminent team in a league with a Utah program that went to a BCS bowl
in 2004 and another in TCU that would’ve gone in ’05 under the current
selection rules. But that’s the status BYU has achieved under
Mendenhall, and any team good enough to go to the BCS can handle the
Fine, so the Quest For Perfection slogan is intended to be about each
player trying to do his best, but the coaching staff has to know exactly
what it means on a grander scale.
While it may seem a big
cocky and a bit presumptive, the team knows it can plug in holes, and it
knows it can rely on veterans and stars in several key spots.
But before booking tickets to one of the BCS destinations, the Cougars
have to overcome several potential flaws. The defensive back eight needs
some major retooling, the secondary, even though it'll post good overall
numbers, will have to prove it can stop a real, live passing attack, and
again, there's the matter of pressure. BYU isn't supposed to just win
the Mountain West title, it's supposed to be a fringe national title
candidate. That's asking a lot out of any team.
Even so, while the Cougars might strive for perfection, they could still
end up with a whale of a season if they come up just a bit short of it.
What to watch for on offense: More Fui. With backup running back
Manase Tonga off the team, it'll be up to hard-charging fan favorite Fui
Vakapuna to play more of a role behind Harvey Unga. The senior was never
healthy last season and was limited throughout, but now he's healthy and
looking like the pounding back who had a breakout 2006. He's the power
in a efficient, effective attack.
What to watch for on defense: The no-name corners to improve.
While the secondary is a question mark going into the season, there's
talent and potential on the corners. It might take a little seasoning,
and a few growing pains, but speedster Brandon Howard, junior Scott
Johnson, and relatively unproven backups G Pittman and Brandon Bradley
should grow into their jobs.
The team will be far better if … more on punt returns.
Considering the defense came up with stop after stop, and forced a
whopping 83 punts, there needs to be more pop from
Bryce Mahuika, or whoever ends up getting return work. The Cougars
averaged a paltry six yards per punt return with the longest effort just
It's not necessarily easy, and that's not necessarily a bad thing for a
team dreaming big. Really big. If the Cougars want a BCS game, they need
the national respect that'll come from winning at Washington and against
UCLA. The other two non-conference games against Northern Iowa and at
Utah State aren't going to be remotely close. Unfortunately, three of
the almost certain Mountain West wins, Wyoming, San Diego State and UNLV,
are at home meaning the league away games are killers. At TCU, at Air
Force and at Utah should be just tough enough to ruin the dream season.
Junior QB Max Hall. A bit underappreciated, all Hall did was lead all
sophomores in passing yards while turning in an efficient, effective
first year after transferring from Arizona State. Now that he has a year
of experience, a strong line in front of him, and a veteran receiving
corps to work around, the sky's the limit.
Junior DE Jan Jorgensen. One of the nation's best all-around defensive
linemen, Jorgensen is like a tackle against the run while making the
most noise as a speed rusher. With all the attention and all the hype,
he'll be the focus of every blocking scheme and every opposing offensive
gameplan, but he's good enough to handle the workload.
to a successful season:
Junior CBs Scott Johnson and Brandon Howard. BYU is always able to come
up with productive linebackers who can hit, and all the other potential
issues across the board aren't any big deal. The one area that could be
shaky at the start is at corner, where Howard and Johnson have talent
and potential, but are still relatively green. If they're great from the
word go, the Cougars might be unstoppable.
The season will be a
... BYU gets into the BCS. It's not fair considering another Mountain
West title and double-digit win season would be a success by almost any
measure, but this is supposed to be the year when it all comes together
and the Cougars become special. With the offense in place, and the
potential on defense, and the schedule, anything other than a BCS bid
will be a disappointment.
Sept. 13 vs. UCLA. If BYU is even thinking it's good enough to play in a
BCS game, it shouldn't have a problem at Washington early on. It'll take
a win over UCLA to truly get the college football world believing this
team really is good enough to be considered among the big boys. A loss
to the Bruins wouldn't just be a big blow to the Cougars, but to the
Mountain West, too.
2007 Fun Stats:
- Fumbles: BYU 25 (lost 13) – Opponents 12 (lost 4)
- First quarter scoring: BYU 79 – Opponents 40
- Penalties: BYU 91 for 783 yards – Opponents 70 for 581 yards