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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bitter Sweet Defeat

Saturday's 17-16 loss to the team up north was truly a heart breaker for the Cougars and their fans. One of the best games of many closely fought battles between the two rivals will also dig the deepest in Blue nation. However, fans of the Y have A LOT to look forward too in this final November battle between Utah and BYU.

Fantastic Freshman
 Here is where BYU has a lot to look forward too. These three freshman are going to do some pretty amazing things at BYU, and possible have  a lot of things said about them nationally, not to mention perhaps the BYU record books.

Could this be the next
great BYU quarterback?
Jake Heaps: What else can be said that hasn't been said already. The guy can throw the pigskin. Against the Utes, Heaps showed he had grown up... HEAPS (pun intended). He stepped up in the pocket a number of times to avoid pressure and deliver on the money throws. He continues to show off his awesome arm strength and fit the ball into windows that, in my opinion, Hall would have thrown a pick on. He is going through his reads and making more smart throws. A lot of progression can be attributed to his line, however, give the guy time and he has proven he will make it worth it. He is reading defenses at the line of scrimmage and knowing what they are trying to do against him. The team is starting to trust him and catch his throws. Jake Heaps, Cougar fans, WILL, I REPEAT WILL, go down as one of the greatest ever to play at BYU, and go into BYU football lore as another great 'Y' QB. There it is, I said it.

Expect to hear this guys name a lot
the next 3 years for BYU
Kyle Van Noy: This guy continues to make big plays and show his versatility. He his a big, fast, strong linebacker that can cover, blitz and hang in the middle of the field and cause havoc on opposing offenses. Yesterday he showed great cover ability on his interception where he was on the receiver stride for stride, and red the ball perfectly. He made a number of tackles that prevented big plays, including staying home on a screen pass and registering a key shoe string tackle that could have very easily gone for a first down and much much more. He is tall, so when he blitzes he can get in the face of the QB without touching him and cause impaired vision down field. He is a monster in the middle and on the edge, and I am going to go out there and say he could very well be the next Rob Morris, and bring home at least 1 All American honor by the time he is a senior (barring injury). He will for sure would have been an all conference LB if BYU wasn't going independent. BYU's defense will be solid with him at their anchor for the next 3 years.

I forsee a lot of big plays in the future
for number 20 and the Y offense
Josh Quezada:  This year we didn't get to see him have consistent reps, considering his split time with JJ and Bryan. However, he has a great mixture of speed, power, and vision that reminds me a lot of Harvey Unga, and even Luke Staley. He has more speed the Unga, not quite the moves of Staley (and hopefully not the glass frame either). He had one 100 yard game this year that showed his versatility. Also, in BYU's season opening win against Washington, showed great catching ability on his TD catch in the back of the end-zone. He will be a great out of the back field receiver, a lot of like JJ, but with better North and South running style. He will have a lot of great games for BYU, and with Kariya and J.J. leaving for graduation next year, his junior year could be very special.

Now, watching BYU lose to Utah on Saturday broke my heart, as I am sure it did many others. However, there is a lot to be thankful for considering this seasons beginning. A terrible 1-4 start that looked like the end of BYU football. Then came Bronco and his excellent coaching and turned the season into a bowl year (6th straight) and the cougars have TONS of confidence after a great battle with a ranked team on the road, heading into their bowl game. BYU's opponent for the bowl game is uncertain, but whoever they are, they better be prepared for an up and coming BYU football team.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Mexico at BYU preview and Predictions

Today, on a gloomy day in Utah Valley, the Cougars will take on another lowly opponent in New Mexico. I am going to go out on a limb here and say BYU passes the 40 point mark again in another run away against the down 1-9 Lobos.

I am also going to go out and say that Heaps WILL indeed finally surpass the elusive 300 yard barrier he has yet to pass, marking his first 300 yard game in a Cougar uniform, with many more to come. The Cougars rack up over 200 yards on the ground, with JJ getting most of the reps and yardage. Kariya will continue to pound it out on the ground and get 50 yards or so. I am also going to say the Jacobsen will have a good game today. I think he needs this one for his one self image.

What the Cougars need to do today is what they have done each of the past two weeks. They need to start fast. They need to take shots down field, and show their opponent that they are a superior team and that they are not going to let up. This is something they have done great at the past few weeks, and I believe it to be pertinent heading into the the Utah game next weekend.

With a win today, BYU will become bowl eligible, and a shot at taking 2nd in the MWC, a feat just a month ago none of us thought possible. A win over the team up north would secure that spot, and another trip to Las Vegas most likely. Which this year, I think would be a little more savory than years past, considering what this team had to endure this season. Then again, I think any bowl this team will be satisfied with.

Defense will have another strong outing today, holding the Lobos under 300 total yards, and the second team will give up one big play.

Final score prediction. 45-10. With the lone N.M. TD coming in garbage time with benchers in the game.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Key to Jazz Season lies with...

So the Jazz had a monster comeback against the "Almighty Heat" on Tuesday. They have a loss against a lowly Golden State team that they seem to struggle against. They have dominating efforts against a very good Thunder team and a punishing loss to Denver. Translation, inconsistency to start the season.

The success of this young season for the Utah Jazz lies solely on one individual that might not be the first that comes to your mind. No its not their start point guard Deron Williams. Its not their new acquisition down low Al Jefferson. Heck, its not even the beast of Tuesdays game against the Heat, trey-dropping Paul Millsap.
Miles needs to hit this shot

The keys lie squarely in the hands of newly appointed sixth man for this team, C.J. Miles.

In the Jazz two blowout wins against OKC and Toronto, C.J. scored 21 and 19 points respectively. shooting a combined 8-11 from 3 point range and 15-25 overall. Adversely, in the Jazz two blowout loss's combined with their loss to Golden State, he tallied a total of 16 points 1-7 from 3, 5-21 from the field with 11 fouls in a total of  51 minutes.

C.J. has the ability to stretch the floor, when he is feeling the stroke. However, what I have noticed is that sometimes Miles plants out at the 3 point line waiting for the kick outs. The Jazz are in need of a guy that can penetrate besides Deron Williams, and C.J. could be that guy.

In the Jazz come from behind win against the Heat on Tuesday, C.J. scored 6 straight points for Utah, all slashes to the hoop and making layups. Once his drive game becomes respectable, people are going to have to start respecting that and sagging off, opening up his 3 point shot that, when he's on, he can hit them with the best in the league.
Bench players will decide Jazz success

With Okur on the bench, Millsap is thrust into starting duty (why not, the guy would start on any team in the league). That being the case, the Jazz dont have "that guy" coming off the bench to spark a second unit scoring spurt. C.J. is supposed to be that guy for Utah this year. He has shown he can do it. Once Memo comes back, Millsap, and/or perhaps Jefferson will then head to the bench, to solidify a bench that is only improving as the season goes on.

Okur's minutes will be limited his first month or so back in action for the first time since April. That being said, whoever gets put on bench duty (Millsap or Big Al) will see plenty of floor time. Jefferson can only get better as the season progresses. Learning the system is complicated, as has been obvious for Big Al so far this year. He has struggled from the field, and had trouble reading double teams that teams are throwing at him. Once he gets that down, and Okur can stretch the floor for him and Millsap to operate, this Jazz team could be looking at a lot more W's coming their way.

For that to happen, C.J. has got to develop a consistent jump shot, and continue to drive to the hoop. Do that , and this team could be trouble for the rest of the league.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Big day = Big Boost for BYU

Heaps and the Cougars are showing improvement
The 55-7 pounding BYU laid on UNLV this weekend did more than add a 'W' to the win column. With the most potent offensive output this season by far, the Cougars can go into next weeks game with a ton more confidence and an offense that looks like its starting to come together, finally.

It was obvious from the first offensive possesion, and play for that matter, that UNLV was outmatched. Brian Logan intercepted the first pass by UNLV's QB Omar Clayton. BYU's defense continued to show that behind Bronco, this group has a lot more passion and desire than in games before Jaime Hill was released.

On the offensive side of the ball, BYU showed that they can convert 3rd downs via the pass! Thats something we haven't seen that much this year. converting on a 3rd and long, 3rd and averages to the wideouts really will make defenses start to respect the BYU passing game more than they have in games past. BYU has come out and said that they are going to pound it out on the ground, but if they can convert a few times through the air, this offense could start to break through.

Now, I am not saying that BYU has arrived and that a take down of the team up north is eminent, however, it does present an interesting battle going into that game. Does Utah care after they finally complete their being slaughtered by TCU today? Do they really have much to play for since the BCS games are out of sight? And BYU, they of course have everything riding on that game. A send off the their future BCS rival, a possible bowl game on the line, not to mention a final stamp on the season that has been an upsetting year from game 2.

The cougars offense will only continue to get better. Putting up 55 points on a High School caliber team isnt much to gloat about. However, doing it in the fashion that they did it, with nearly mistake free football ( fumble by the third teamers) and this team look revitalized after the bye week. Heaps showed he has accuracy and touch. Receivers decided to show up this season and haul in some beautifully thrown balls. There were a couple misses that could have gone for big plays and or touchdowns, but in the end they played well.

In the end, I think BYU should walk away from this game with their heads high, and their hopes alive for bowling this winter.