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Friday, September 27, 2013

BYU Finally Announces Hoffman Suspension

The BYU football program finally announced the rumored suspension of WR Cody Hoffman. The press release states that the suspension is "for one game" and is "for violation of team rules." Read the press release here.

Jamaal Williams Healthy, but Won't Play vs. MTSU

According to Jamaal Williams's mother on twitter, the BYU sophomore sensation running back is healthy but won't play tonight against MTSU:

Cody Hoffman Suspended?

Update: A new person with a source claims the suspension will be for 1 game:

Update: Another person with a source has emerged stating that Hoffmas is suspended:

Update: Another person, "JJ Smooth" has claimed that Cody Hoffman will be suspended for the season. He claims a source as well.

Update: The Deseret News Sports has stated that they don't have any information, which is a good sign for BYU fans since the DesNews has many contacts in the BYU organization. The DesNews was also gracious enough to promise to let us know if/when they have anything to report, so keep checking back here for updates.

The source of the rumor appears to be the twitter feed of one Justin Arbogast, who tweeted the following:

Mr. Arbogast, whose twitter feed links him to the website, responded to our questions about his sources, saying,

One more person named Brandt Anderson, who claims to be a Ute fan who was once recruited by BYU to play baseball and therefore has sources in the organization, told me that he has been "talking to ppl closer to the team" and has also heard that Hoffman wil be suspended.

Stay tuned to the Sports Bros and we will post anything we hear.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Week 4 Podcast - Life After Utah

The Bros discuss Spencer Hadley, Jamaal Williams, Taysom Hill, and MTSU.

Hadley Offers Cougar Fans Much Needed Peace

As I slugged to bed after yet another defeat at the hands on the Utes Saturday night (I'm on the east coast, so it was very late), I was in complete despair. Although the game was technically close, it felt like a blowout. And it felt like what I had been denying for so long was actually true: the Utah football program was simply better than the BYU program. For the next few days, I wallowed in misery and resigned myself to the conclusion that BYU's football program was, is, and always will be mediocre. And some years it might be downright bad. The glory days of national championships, Heisman trophies, and 55 points per game are over.

I even started doubting Bronco Mendenhall, someone I had spent the last few years defending on Twitter and the message boards against an onslaught of angry fans.

Spencer Hadley, left, with his father, Alan.
But yesterday was a new day for me, and I think for a lot of BYU fans. Jeff Benedict's piece in Sports Illustrated reminded me of what it means to be a BYU football fan, a member of the LDS church, and a Christian. Without going into every detail of the story--it is a must read for every college football fan--it recounts Spencer Hadley's trip with the team to the to a local jail just days after Hadley's suspension. It tells how, unexpectedly, Hadley decided to open up to the inmates about the bitter shame of letting down his team, his family, his church, and himself and about the sweet joy of redemption as he earns back the privilege to represent the school in uniform. At the end of his talk to the inmates, Hadley embraced Bronco and wept into his shoulder. The inmates were also in tears.
In a sport where winning is the one and only goal, Mendenhall has consistently put everything on the line to hold the BYU banner where it ought to wave. In the process, he has been a spiritual mentor to those who need it most when they need it most. From Hadley, to Kyle Van Noy, to O'Neil Chambers, Bronco Mendenhall has made it clear that during this transformative time in these young men's lives, football is far from the most important thing. And in the process, Bronco reminds us all that football is a game--a wonderful, spectacular game, but a game nonetheless.

So, maybe Utah does have the better football program. Maybe BYU will never again compete for a national championship. Maybe BYU will never land a top 25 recruiting class. But if BYU remains a unique place where boys become men and Gospel truths make linebackers weep, then I will forever remain loyal, strong, and true to that university.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Taysom Hill is only a Sophomore

The defeat to Utah was deflating. This is the case for no one more than the BYU football team. Imagine being anyone other than the freshman on this squad that will never have an opportunity to beat the guys up north. The fan base, however, is taking it harder than anyone.

Taysom Hill tries to avoid pressure against Utah during the 2013 edition of the Holy War
Taysom Hill tries to avoid pressure against Utah
during the 2013 edition of the Holy War
Throughout the game yesterday, Taysom Hill's inaccuracy was being thrown around all over the place, pun intended. Fans already are asking him for Ammon Olsen to replace the hyped up sophomore behind center. I say, not so fast.

Taysom Hill has struggled mightily throwing the football so far this year. That's not something I'm trying to excuse. As a matter of fact, nothing angers me more than seeing his, what seems like at times, incompetence as a quarterback. However, the guy hasn't gotten any help from his fella's catching the rock. They aren't catching it.

But there are times the ball isn't even close to the receiver. Just ask the folks surrounding the field--they've caught more passes than Ross Apo so far this year. There are times he misses his reads. There are also times when he runs when there are open wide outs down field. All of these things are signs of one thing: he is developing; he is only a sophomore.

Lest we all forget, BYU is integrating a new offensive scheme with the new offensive staff overhaul. That would be hard for any signal caller, let alone one in his first full season under center. Hill has good arm strength, as evidenced by a couple of strong throws yesterday against the Utes. He has the ability to extend plays as well, with his well noted mobility. He needs better designs however, and that falls on Robert Anae. His play-calling is already under fire, and rightfully so. The inability to get into the end zone after JD Falslev's 58 yard return down to the 13 yard line last night was atrocious. In fact, it was completely inexcusable. This, however, is a discussion for another day.

Cougar faithful, I urge you to give Hill time. We'll all be singing his praises this week against Middle Tennessee State, using our short term memory loss as an excuse. His accuracy won't jump up to 80% overnight. All quarterbacks need time, and Taysom Hill is no different. We at Quarterback U have been spoiled for the better part of half a century with amazing quarterback play. None of the greats, Steve Young to Max Hall came in perfect their first years. Hill cannot have lofty expectations without room for growth.

With time, I believe Hill will get better. His reads, his accuracy and his ability can only get better. After all, it can't get much worse, can it?

Friday, September 20, 2013

"The picture" emerges, but was it really from a Ute?

Spencer Hadley, (middle, in the light blue shirt), was suspended
 for five games because of this picture, which has been slightly
 modified to make it more family-friendly.
I'm not convinced that "Darren Lucy" is truly a "die hard Utah Utes" fan, as he claims in the first line of his email to the University of Utah.

The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News declined to publish the picture that got BYU LB Spencer Hadley suspended for five games, the good folks over at went ahead and published it. The Trib and DNews decided not to post the picture because they could not authenticate it.

But the bigger question of authenticity for me is whether the email was truly sent by a "die hard Utah Utes fan." Before I explain why I think the asnwer to this question is "No," here is the full text of the email sent by Mr. Lucy to the Utah compliance officer:

I am a die hard Utah Utes fan and have pictures of BYU Linebacker Spencer Hadley partying frequently in Las Vegas at an MGM Nightclub and the Spearmint Rhino Strip Club. We have pictures as recent as last night of Hadley in Vegas with BYU booster Jacob Stocking. I'm sure the NCAA will be launching an investigation in regards to trips on Stockings private jet, Cash loans paid to Hadley, the use of Stockings vehicles, staying in high priced Vegas Suites, indulging in Champagne parties with Las Vegas Cocktail Waitress's. Also reports of the use of the Drug (Molly) and Alcohol use among Hadley. We . Hadley reportedly seen trying to catch a flight back this morning out of Vegas but missed his flight therefore will be missing team meetings/practice today as he is still in Las Vegas. Sad to see young athletes fail to stay on track but BYU has had this coming to them.
I can supply pictures if your interested. I plan on contacting the Salt Lake Newspaper next

So why do I say this email was not sent by a Ute?

First, the emailer--who calls himself "Darren Lucy"--wrote the first email without any mention of the BYU honor code. Clearly Mr. Lucy was hell-bent on implicating BYU in NCAA violations, and he apparently had little to no clue about BYU's anti-alcohol rules. A true Utah fan would realize that even before any NCAA violations are investigated, a BYU player being caught drinking would be quickly disciplined.

Second, the last line of the email was strange, as Mr. Lucy claimed that he would be contacting "the Salt Lake Newspaper next." Anyone familiar with the area would either say he would be contacting "the Salt Lake Tribune" or "the Salt Lake area newspapers."

Finally, if Mr. Lucy really wants to be taken seriously, why would he lead the email by declaring his "die hard" fanhood? It seems a major credibility drain to proudly state that you have a dog in the fight. And while I'm on the credibility topic, why wasn't the picture attached to the first email?

My suspicion is that Mr. Lucy is someone who was has a bone to pick with BYU or Hadley. He was probably at the party with Hadley, but didn't know that Hadley was a BYU player. When he found out, he decided to take this opportunity to stick it to Hadley or BYU. After all, as Mr. Lucy says, "BYU has it coming to them." And what better time to give it to them than during rivalry week? Claiming to be a Utah fan simply increases the drama.

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter who sent the picture to the U and the press. It is probably authentic, as BYU has already acted upon it, so Hadley was the one who made the stupid mistake. He and the team will suffer for it. But as this story unfolds, I suspect it will be revealed that Mr. Lucy is not a "die hard Utah Utes fan," but an ex-girlfriend, shunned friend, or personal enemy to Hadley.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Face it, Cougar Fans...the Utes are More Passionate.

Update: Special thanks to Mike in the comments below for pointing me toward Brian Logan's piece at Loyal Cougars this week on this same topic. At least one true insider can vindicate my opinions in this blog post regarding the Holy War attitude of Utah and BYU fans, coaches, players, and administrations.

In this, the last year of the Holy War before a sickening two-year hiatus, I have to put in writing what I have thought for a long time: Utes hate Cougars far more than Cougars hate Utes. I mentioned it in passing during this week's podcast, but now I have to explain myself.

During last year's Holy War, Utah fans rushed the field
 not once, not twice, but three times, almost handing BYU the victory.
The fire with which Utah players perform in the Holy War is the best evidence of my point. Even in their worst seasons, the bag guys in red play like an NFL team when the men in blue are on the other side of the ball. They bounce up from every tackle for a loss as though they had just stopped a game-winning touchdown and they celebrate touchdowns like they just won the Superbowl.

The Utah fans' behavior is also indicative of the Utes' height of hate for the Cougars. I mean, who rushes the field three times in one game against an unranked team that's not even in your conference?

As we all know, the religious element is what makes the BYU-Utah rivalry so passionate. The unofficial name to the rivalry--the Holy War--demonstrates this point. These days, when the religious is pitted against the secular, the religious is inevitably characterized as judgmental, hypocritical, and condescending. This is the perception that Utah fans, players, and coaches have of their BYU counterparts, and it is what drives them to genuine hatred.

But even more than the religious element, Utah hates BYU because, well, BYU is better. A few BCS wins by the redcoats does not suddenly erase BYU's national championship, Heisman Trophy, and countless WAC and MWC championships. The football tradition at BYU is deep and rich. Utah is newcomer to the party, and it is natural for it to have little brother syndrome.

So, with that bit of smack talk, let us all strive to be more civil and safe this rivalry week. But let's also strive to be more passionate than the Utes this year. Not by pouring beverages on the opposing quarterback's family, but by making that place so loud that Travis Wilson will have to cut his hair just to hear the play calls. We'd be doing him a favor.

Go Cougs.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rivalry Week Podcast!

The Bros talk holy War! Leave comments below, tweet it, Facebook know the drill.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Taysom's Hill to Climb

After the victory against Texas, well the beat down that is, BYU has got to be flying high. Unfortunately, they didn't fly as high as your "typical" BYU offense should.

The well documented performance of Taysom Hill is nothing short of spectacular. Despite Texas's obvious flaws on defense, Hill exploited their weakness to the maximum. That alone, showed a lot of development between weeks one and two. However, the biggest development between weeks 2 and 3, including a bye, has to be through the air.

The running game is fine, with plenty of options including stand out Jamaal Williams and budding stud Paul Lasike. Hill's abilities are well known, just ask Hawaii and Texas. However, the complete inability to throw the ball is quite alarming for the revamped BYU offense. 

Hill has shown he has great throwing power. However, his accuracy reminds almost that of Riley Nelson last couple years. Sadly enough, I might venture to say that Nelson was even more accurate than Hill through the air. That has to change if BYU is to become as dominant a force on offense as they are on defense.

The best way to get a young quarterback going is through short passes. Against Texas, we saw Hill do some short dump offs to running backs early. This is a great strategy, especially when you have Williams catching it out of the backfield. However, BYU has a great stable of receivers that need to be utilized. If Cody Hoffman, Mitch Matthews, JD Falslev and Ross Apo can be used early on, this will only open up the stellar running game for BYU. However, Hill has to deliver the ball. 

Tunnel screen passes are things that showed success for BYU in years past. Throw in a half-back screen, some quick crossing patterns and your onto something. I'm not putting the play-calling into question, more so the execution. Hill has got to deliver the goods. Complete these passes, and the receivers might even be able to break some tackles for some more YAC. 

I can't stress enough the importance of Hill's development in the passing game. He has the arm strength, now its about accuracy. I'm not sure he gets it fixed with an extra week in-between games, but I'll bet we see an improvement. Hoffman is a difference maker, and BYU knows that. Look for this to be exploited against the team from up north.

Taysom has a hill to climb before he's the next John Beck or Max Hall. However, he's never going to be those two guys. He isn't even going to be the next Steve Young. I'm just looking for him to be the best Taysom Hill, and he could be seriously scary if his arm matches his legs abilities to get points on the scoreboard. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

BYU Win Over Texas Reminds of 2009 Oklahoma Game

BYU QB Taysom Hill breaks a Texas tackle. Hill would rush
 for a school record 259 yards against the Longhorns in Provo Saturday night.
BYU Cougar fans fondly remember beating Oklahoma at the brand new Cowboy's Stadium. And the honest Cougar fans remember the shock they felt as the clock ran out that fateful day. Those with great memories even remember the camera zooming in on Max Hall as, with surprise on his face, he lipped the words, "We're gonna win!"

Tonight, for different reasons, Cougar fans are feeling a similar shock as BYU handled the Longhorns in Provo. In 2009, BYU fans were not aware just how great Bronco Mendenhall's defense could be, and learning that fact added to the shock of that night. Tonight, Cougar fans were stunned as they watched an offense which has been inconsistent at best and often incompetent for the past several seasons put up 40 points against the Texas defense and set records as they did it.

The shock of tonight's win is magnified by last week's stinging loss against Virginia, when at times BYU's offense could not even get a first down, let alone 40 points. After the loss, fans sensed another long season of disappointment, but tonight's win against Texas may breathe new life into a fanbase without a conference championship to strive for. Suddenly games against Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and, of course, Utah seem winnable. That hope should do wonders for BYU fans weary of offensive ineptitude. 

Now BYU fans hope that they won't get the same shock they got in 2009, when Florida State clobbered the Cougars just two weeks after the Cougars beat the Sooners.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Season Changing Game for Texas and BYU

Who knew so much could ride on week 2 of a young college football season. Yet here we are, Texas visiting Provo, UT with both programs having very different starts to the 2013 campaign.

Its hard to imagine BYU laying another egg like they did last weekend in Charlottesville. Then again, it was hard to imagine the Cougars laying that first one against an ACC bottom dweller.

Can Taysom Hill be much worse than 13-40 passing? Doubt it. Will BYU be held to only 16 points after running a whopping 93 plays? Doubtful. Does BYU have what it takes to mount a season changing upset tomorrow in Provo? Yes, they do. Here's why tomorrow is such a huge game, for both programs.

Stakes for Texas:

Texas has hopes of being in the national title conversation this year. Being in the epicenter of Longhorn nation, its front and center every day in San Antonio. Fans truly believe they are back after being "down" the last couple of years, by UT standards anyways. Their quarterback situation still continues to be a little on the fence, but David Ash seems to have taken the role for good. Rumors have started about Mack Browns future in the burnt orange. In order for those rumors to settle the longhorns need a special season. This game, against an above average defenser on the road, will really show what Texas is made of this year. A win instill confidence and demeanor of a championship caliber team. A loss puts the staff back to the drawing board and a national skeptical cloud over south Texas. Trust me, when it rains down here, it pours.

Stakes for BYU:

In short, their season. I know its only the second game of a young season, but the season didn't exactly get off to the start they had hoped. A win against a ranked opponent for your first home game would be a huge spring board and confidence booster. A loss, and you have doubts about the new regime in Provo. A loss would also cause the fan base to almost certainly all but call for Taysom Hill's head on a silver platter. Don't joke yourself Cougar fans, its true. We put our quarterbacks under more scrutiny than CNN does a republican presidential candidate. This game cannot be overstated as to its importance on where BYU goes the rest of the 2013 season. An identity has to be realized at some point this year, why not start on September 7 while you still have time.


This game has had me on edge ever since last Saturday. I've had days where i thought BYU didn't stand a chance. I've had days where I couldn't see any way Texas walked away victorious. Today, I just have to pick the winner.

BYU has too much to lose in this game, and so does Texas. Due to the magnitude for a program trying to rebuild, I have to give the cougars hunger an advantage. Hill cannot, and will not, be as bad with his arm tomorrow. Williams will continue to be a weapon. If Hoffman suits up, his presence alone give the team in blue at least 10 more points whether its him in the end-zone or the decoy presence creating another score.

While the Longhorns have the talent, the coach and the money, I don't think they have as much hunger as a team starring down the barrel of a lost season.

BYU: 24     Texas: 20

This Guy Senses an Upset

Call me naive. Call me crazy. But also call me loyal, strong, and true. This blogger is picking BYU to pull off the upset against #15 Texas Saturday night in Provo. (Don't worry, I don't have any money on it.)

My prediction: BYU 33, Texas 17.

Make no mistake, last week's ugly loss to UVA was difficult to get over. I am still having nightmares about the head-scratching 3rd down play call that turned into a game-changing interception. Cougar fans have become far too used to close games going the other way, and in Charlottesville BYU managed once again to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.

But I refuse to let hope die. I refuse to relegate myself to pessimism and hyper-criticism. To be sure, there are many areas upon which this team needs to improve, but this is a talented football team that just might have some lightning in a bottle stored up somewhere under the bleachers in Lavell Edwards Stadium. Here's why I think the stars will align for a huge win for the Cougs:

1.   Go Fast vs. Go Hard. Texas, like the Cougars, has adopted an up-tempo scheme, and that should play to BYU's advantage. The Cougars' defense has been stellar for the past few years, and they have been practicing against an up tempo offense all off-season. I suspect that BYU's defense will be much better prepared for the fast pace, both in strategy and conditioning. Let's also not forget about the altitude and how that will affect a visiting team's ability to run a lot of plays.

2.   Weather the Storm. As luck would have it, the weather report indicates that there may be thunderstorms starting a few hours before the game and going until 7:00. (In fact, the 30% chance of precipitation matches last week's report that almost made my wife and I leave our umbrella in the car when we parked at the stadium in Charlottesville last week). While BYU certainly did not shine in the rain last week, a downpour would be to the Cougars' advantage since they have already experienced playing in those conditions.

3.  Hoffman to the Rescue. The impact of WR Cody Hoffman's absence last week cannot be understated. As I observed after last week's loss, QB Taysom Hill did not connect with any receiver more than 3 times against Virginia as the passing game was never able to get in a rhythm. All that will change this week as Hill will have BYU's best offensive threat in the past few years back to tear up the Longhorn defense. I predict that Hoffman catches at least 8 passes for over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. With Hoffman there to keep the defense honest, Sophomore sensation RB Jamaal Williams should be able to run for over 100 yards with half the carries he had last week.

So, there you have it Cougar fans. I'm in full-on Kool-Aid mode, and I'm loving every second of it.

What are your predictions?