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The Cougars leave Friday morning on their first-ever trip to New Orleans, site of Saturday's 1:30pm MT game with the Tulane Green Wave.
Considering how conservative BYU's defense has been leading up to this season, it was kind of interesting to see the Times-Picayune reference BYU's "blitzaholic" defense. Yes, BYU put the heat on Oklahoma QBs last week, but it was truly a departure from the Cougars' previous "stay at home" ways. The great thing about BYU's pressure against OU was that it was sometimes with only four rushers, and never more than five.
In the same newspaper article, Tulane QB Joe Kemp proves he is very coachable, as he gets set to face BYU's AARP All-Stars:
"I've never played against a team like BYU that has those types of athletes. They're older, more mature, bigger guys, but at the same time I feel like we have enough speed on the outside and wide receiver positions that if they are going to try to man-guard Jeremy (Williams), I just don't see anyone on the field as good as him, no matter who we play," Kemp said.
I wrote my now-weekly recap of the Wednesday "Bronco Mendenhall Show," and while you can access it on the main BYU Sports page, here it is--
: Bronco says there have been "non-stop" requests for national media interviews since BYU's win over Oklahoma.
: he says last year's onslaught of national media attention caused a "protective" mindset and style of play, and that he let the scrutiny and pressure affect him, and in turn, his players. He adds that going through last season has given him a "clearer perspective" on how to handle this season's spotlight.
: he wanted "more enjoyment" out of his job, and that resulted in some changes--the most important being giving up the defensive play-calling responsibilities and taking on the nose tackle position assignment.
: Bronco says the game with Oklahoma was the "most fun I've had as the head coach."
: RB Harvey Unga (hamstring) will be a "gametime decision" and is not yet game-ready. LB Matt Bauman (concussion) will practice Thursday and will play Saturday. CB Garrett Nicholson is not enrolled at BYU and will not rejoin the program until next August at the earliest. OL Jesse Taufi has not yet completed academic requirements, but it's hoped he will be with the team next week.
: the coach says BYU is faster and more physical on defense than last year, and is better prepared to apply more pressure as a result.
: we discussed the tired refrain about BYU's older, more mature players, and Bronco said that since he's been head coach, 18 LDS players BYU recruited who "had said they were going to serve missions, or were strongly considering (a mission)," have gone to other schools. Of the 18, only one has gone on a mission, largely because the coaches, "once they have them, don't want to to let them go." Bronco says these coaches don't want to have to deal with the scheme and personnel and conditioning issues that accompany mission service. He calls the missionary equation a "convenient explanation" for both BYU's success, and/or lack of success, depending on the situation. The coach says implementing a missionary program into your football program "tests your organizational management skills."
: junior college players will continue to be leaned on more heavily at cornerback than other positions on the field. He spoke highly of JUCOs Brian Logan, Lee Aguirre and Corby Eason, all three of whom after the Oklahoma game independently "thanked" Bronco for bringing them to BYU.
: Bronco says freshman safety Craig Bills is "a human missile."
: he says the team is "complete focused on Tulane" and "eager to improve."
I think you should go to the audio archive and listen to Bronco break down BYU's "missionary advantage." While he acknowledges that if you manage it correctly, having return missionaries in the program can and does benefit the team, the organizational challenges are as prominent as any supposed advantages.
My point is, and Bronco agrees, that if it were such an advantage, coaches would be falling over themselves to get LDS athletes to their schools, just so they could send them on missions. Instead, just the opposite occurs. Bronco says BYU-recruited LDS athletes who end up at these other schools rarely go on missions, because their coaches don't want to let them go. The number Bronco cites is only 1 of 18 such players who planned on or considered serving have actually gone on to mission service.