31 August 2008

Husky Haven

On September 6th the Cougars will travel to Husky stadium (seating capacity 72,500) for a tough matchup with the University Of Washington. It will be the seventh meeting between the two schools. Present will be the opportunity for the Cougs to win their first non conference road game since 2002. Their last meeting was in Provo with the jerseys in blue victorious 35-28. Washington last week traveled to Oregon and was absolutely embarassed. Returning home to Husky stadium Washington will definately be looking for some payback and to getting back on track. Husky stadium was used in 1990 for the Goodwill Games and is one of the loudest college football stadiums. During a game (against Nebraska) back in 1972 ESPN measured the crowd noise at over 135 decibels. Over the years the names have kept rolling (Greg Lewis, Lincoln Kennedy, Corey Dillon, Ron Holmes, Mark Brunell, Lawyer Milloy, Marques Tuiasosopo, Warren Moon to name a few) with the latest being all everything Jake Locker. In the Husky rich history they have won 15 PAC10 titles, 7 Rose Bowls and even 2 National Championships. The Cougars are 2-4 overall against the University Of Washington. Since 2002 the Huskies have fallen on some hard times in not producing a winning season (7-6 under Rick Neuheisel). At the coaching helm is Tyrone Willingham who may be on a hot seat (currently 11-26 win loss record). The schedule doesn't supply any relief. According to ESPNs Mark Schlabach the Huskies have on slate the second toughest schedule in the nation. To make matters worse the leading tackler linebacker EJ Savannah (6.2/228) was deemed academically ineligible (111 tackles in 2007). Starting center Juan Garcia (6.3/305) suffered a left foot Lisfranc injury (hmm sounds familiar) roughly four and a half months ago and amazingly returned healthy enough to play in last weeks game against Oregon. With his return the Husky OL returns all but one starter. They are big and strong averaging 332 across the line. Expectations are high for quarterback Jake Locker (6.3/225). Last year Jake had over 3,000 combined yards (2,062 air and 986 yards ground). Although his accuracy could be questioned with 14 TDs and 15 INTs in 2007 (47 completion percentage). He is a physical runner who won't shy away from contact. Newcomer true freshman tailback Chris Polk turned down USC and graduated early to enroll in time for spring ball. Polk will turn some heads. On defense Washington only returns 6 starters from a rather poor "D". Husky defense gave up over 31 a game and 446 yards. Thus, Ed Donatell was brought in who was a NFL defensive coordinator for the last twelve years. This contest should be interesting keeping in mind on both sides of the ball for the Huskies there are 10 starters who are sophomores or younger. At stake for the Cougs is the nation's longest winning streak (11) and the quest for a possible BCS berth.

30 August 2008

Panther Plunderage

Saturday the Cougars began their quest for perfection. Behind closed doors the played vote'd to keep the haka. They even gave the honor of carrying the team colors and flag onto the field to former legend Lavell Edwards. The first step in the quest showed specific areas that need significant improvement. The University Of Northern Iowa presented in many aspects to be a very formidable foe. Panther QB Pat Grace took some serious hits keeping him on the field literally after the play a few times. In the first half UNI offense immensely struggled. The trench war was clearly being won by the Cougs jumping out to a 27-3 halftime lead allowing Max Hall to direct five seperate scoring drives.

Fui Vakapuna was held out of saturdays contest (certified academically eligible only on friday: no practice means no play) and was definately missed. In Fui's absence Harvey Unga had 2 TDs in the first half and pounded his way eventually to 66 yards. The third quarter was absolutely embarassing as a Cougar. When things were pretty "stuff" clicked. When it was ugly well it was far from beautiful. Unfortunately, the quarter was represented by 3 fumbles and Max Hall getting sacked that ended with a recovery in the endzone by the Panthers Mark Huygens for a TD. Ball security will likely be stressed in the week ahead. The defensive jerseys in blue held strong for the game only allowing 10 total points even holding UNI star Corey Lewis to 37 net rushing yards.

Max Hall and Dennis Pitta definately seemed to be in sync with each other. Like Harline still being open so was Pitta. Hall hooked up with Dennis so much that Pitta finished the night with 11 receptions and 222 yards (10th biggest single player receiving day in Cougar history). Max walked off the field victorious with 34 completions on 41 attempts covering 485 yards and 2 TDs. Apparently Hall ended the game with a 198.39 QB rating (Grace's rating was 114.31). Considering the fact Collie sat out most of camp with a stress fracture finishing with 7 catches for 79 yards isn't bad at all. Wouldn't be surprised sometime in the near future he takes a snap or two.

On special teams explosive O'neill Chambers made his presence known. As a team the kick returns had a 33.7 average. Justin Sorensen performance on kickoffs was outstanding. Mitch Payne was 5 for 6 on PATs. Although, overall there were 8 penalties for 65 yards. The team discipline could worked on (penalties, ball security, etc) for the quest for perfection to continue to perform at a higher level.

28 August 2008

Gettin Dialed In

Are you ready for some football? Yes its that time of year again. Time to sport the shades. Check out the forum boards and listen to the call in shows. Saturday marks the kickoff of yet another season for the Cougs when the Northern Iowa rolls into town for the panthers 1000 game in school history. They aren't just coming to visit Five Guys Burgers and Fries either. The Panthers are coming to town with a purpose in mind. Starting sophomore DE James Ruffin (6.4/265) says "we're going down there to win". Strong words? Well they are ranked #4 for their division. We all saw what happened to Michigan on the wolverine turf at the hands of Appalachian State last year. Tom Holmoe has said that "Northern Iowa is not a cupcake. I will guarantee you that". David Nixon also isn't taking the Panthers lightly when he says "we will be in for a dogfight". In fact Austin Collie furthers that "on any given day any team can win". Yes, there may be roughly 60,000 Cougar fans to witness the mark of a new season. On the other hand offensive lineman Bob Swift (6.6/315) states "we just need the people who are on the field to believe we can win". Panther coach Mark Farley cites that BYU will be"the best team we've played". When opening in Provo the jerseys in blue have come out victorious over 72 percent of the time and have won 5 of its last 6. Absolutely an awesome stat but it also a new year. Its time to throw on the pads, helmets, cleats and lay it all out on the field!

23 August 2008

Saturday Morning Quarterback

Over a million young athletes in the nation will throw on a jersey, pads, cleats and helmets this fall. It's the hopes, dreams, struggles and friendships that characterize everything that high school football represents.

Last night those elements fell into place once again here in Utah with the season's kickoff. One of those openers included was a dramatic win from the East Leopards over Snow Canyon. In the losing effort absolute everything (and future Cougar) Adam Timo who has switched to QB this year rushed for 3 TDs with 198 yards on 27 carries for the Warriors. Getting Timo into a blue jersey just can't seem to come quick enough.

In a tight contest and stunning upset Skyline upended Bingham 24-17. The Eagles came up strong with back to back QB sacks to seal the victory for Skyline. Bingham Miner and Cougar recruit tight end Remington Peck did not play in the matchup. Skyline's QB Kevin Wagstaff said "We definately felt like an underdog. We wanted to make a statement and we did that".

Nailbiters were definately abound friday. The defending state champions Timpview Thunderbirds traveled to the Pleasant Grove Vikings and experienced exactly that in a major defensive struggle. One could only hold their breath. Showcased in the Thunderbird secondary is future Cougar recruit Craig Bills. Timpview's defense came up huge with five sacks and were able to stop the Vikings four times inside the 10. The Thunderbird's came out victorious 10-6 and will play next Spanish Fork. Pleasant Grove will next matchup against Provo.

At the Jordan new turf there was a wild shootout with Northridge Knight's coming out on top 41-37. Over 780 yards of offense were presented to the avid spectators. Northridge safety/WR and possible cougar recruit Chris Washington provided much of the entertainment with numerous clutch plays as shown de-helmeting below. The beetdiggers loaded up the box holding BYU recruit Peni Maka'afi to 16 carries and 63 yards.

In a matchup of last years 4A state championship game the Pineview Panthers were able to return the favor in a 28-6 beating over Mountain View. Panther kick returner Tanner Wood began the payback taking a 95 yard return to the house. Late in the game both Bruins' powerbacks TJ Mounga and cougar commit Anthony Heimuli were out with injuries limiting Mountain Views options. The "A-Train" finished with 184 yards on 14 attempts (gotta absolutely love that carry average of over 13 per carry!). Next up for Mountain will be West Jordan.

22 August 2008

Panthers In Town

Saturday August 30th the Cougs take the first step towards a possible BCS berth when they face up against the Northern Iowa Panthers. From the Gateway Conference, the Panthers posted a 12-1 record last year. They are coached by Mark Farley in his seventh year with an overall record of 63-25. Coach Farley was named the national coach of the year for FCS schools in 2007. Northern Iowa is located in Cedar Falls, Iowa and the campus covers over 900 acres. There is an undergrad enrollment of 12,607 (postgrad enrollments sits at 1,600). The university was established in 1876. A few notable names you might recall from the Panthers in previous years include Mike Furrey (Detroit Lions) and Kurt Warner (2 Time NFL MVP).

On offense junior QB Pat Grace (6.2/235) is a former option high school quarterback who replaces all everything Eric Sanders. Grace saw limited playing time in 2007 and his offensive line will be anchored by senior Bob Swift (6.6/315) who is making the switch from offensive guard. In 2008 the Panther's starting OL will average 6.4/301 (the Cougs avg OL size runs 327). Austin Howard (6.6/280 JR) will switch positions from TE to left tackle. In the backfield look for senior Corey Lewis (6.1/197) to be heavily relied upon. Last season Lewis had 16 TDs and over 1500 yards. Fortunately the Cougs have some serious talent and depth on the DL which will help immensely to help slow Lewis down. The Panther wideout's consist of Victor Williams (6.4/227) and Johnny Gray (5.9/185) both of which are seniors. Gray like ole Luke Staley is an explosive threat just waiting to go all the way every time he touches the ball. He totaled over 900 yards receiving with 5 TDs. Williams is a huge target and will likely be used often inside the red zone considering possible matchup problems. The Cougar secondary may receive a quick education matched up against the potent Panther passing offense. This could be key to the Cougars success.

Defensively in 2007 the Panthers (per matchup) only surrendered 91 yards through the ground and gave up less than 17 points on the scoreboard. Northern Iowa returns 7 defensive starters. James Ruffin (6.4/254 JR) is an all american candidate in 2008 and has some great speed and foot quickness. Middle linebacker De'Veon Harris (6.1/215 SR) finished second on the team in tackles. At DE Mark Huygens (6.6/277 SR) will also look to apply some serious pressure. There may just be way too many weapons for the Panthers defense to consistently shut down as the Cougs will come at them in all directions.

In the secondary three out of four starters return. Darrell Lloyd (6.0/191 SR) had 3 INTs last season. Despite the secondary experience returning that may very well be the weak link. It will be interesting to see how they fare matched up against the likes of Collie, Reed and Pitta. The Panthers are a very good team and look for them to keep the score respectable in the first half. In the second half Northern Iowa likely will wear down and the Cougs begin to pull away.

21 August 2008

Signs Of Life

With the end of the Cougar Camp (as well as a shift towards "game prep") where do we stand? Was our perception changed towards any specific divisions? Have we answered any questions? Many aspects of the different areas or realms of "our game" have become much more evident. There are certain things which have definately begun to show some signs of life with the program in camp that are very likely to continue to happen this year. They are as follows...

Six Often Like fast food this Cougar offense should feast on the endzone and often. Whether its to stay or go (home or away) they should be able to strike quickly and frequently at will. There are just too many weapons. It all begins in the trenches and the offensive line this year is absolutely amazing. There should be no question that Heisman Candidate Max Hall should have ample of time to "camp out" and locate his targets. Names like Hall, Pitta, Collie, Unga, Reed, etc will keep coming at you and so will the points.

Youth Of The Nation Bronco isn't afraid of playing youth so long as it gives the Cougs the best opportunity to win especially if there is a confidence where he can trust them. We saw it from Ian Dulan in 2006 and last year with Eathyn Manmaleuna. Examples of that this year can be found in Di Luigi, Ashworth, So'oto, Chambers or even Matt Reynolds.

Boys To Men Going into the offseason this year there (at least to me) one glaring weaknesses was especially having the visual of absolutely not one single returning starter in the secondary. Scott Johnson former Timpview defensive star first team and all state has turned some heads in the Cougar Camp. Both Fowler and Howard played in all 13 games last season. Tafuna suffered a season ankle injury in 2007 but was a significant contributor in 2006 to a defense that only gave up 14.7 points per game (ranked 10th nationally). The blue jerseys in the Cougar secondary might get a crash course possibly against Northern Iowa but look for the growth of the secondary to happen right before our eyes this season.

Home Sweet Home Cougar fans are dedicated and absolutely diehard. In 2007 the average attendance was 64,497 which is an average of 100.71 percent! The Cougs enter the 2008 season riding a 12 game home streak. Defending home turf is critical. When San Diego State rolls into town on November 8th look for the streak to continue to 18.

Games in HD Each of the last three seasons have had a trend of opening with a 1-2 record. At halftime of a basketball game Bronco framed 2008 by asking fans to join the team in a "quest for perfection". The cougs are used to postseason trips to Vegas but are definately ready to take the next step for something more. Like HD in television there is a clear picture or goal with a focus on one game at a time. This season that opening trend will change and if the jerseys of blue play staying completely focused, leaving everything on the field one step at a time look for an eventual BCS invite.

20 August 2008

Red Tape, Rules & Regulations

Earlier it was announced (clearly unfortunate to report) that from our conference the University Of New Mexico has been placed on three years probation from the NCAA for academic fraud during the spring/fall semester 2004-5. In that time period three coaching staff members (two of which are no longer affiliated with the University) apparently aided four prospective student athletes and one student athlete to enroll and obtain improper course credit via Fresno Pacific University. Fresno Pacific has been also involved in major infractions regarding Long Beach State and University of Louisiana Lafayette according to NCAA officials and would caution other institutional involvement for academic credit/athletics eligibility purposes without proper due diligence. Lenny Rodriguez and Grady Stretz were on staff during that time period. Stretz is now at Arizona State as a defensive line coach while Rodriguez is now an assistant at Mount San Antonio College. Lenny did address the committee's report at a hearing back in April.
According to Josephine Potuto (chair of the infractions committee and law professor at the University Of Nebraska) "those individuals never got the course material and nonetheless still got credit". In consequence through 2009 Stretz is prohibited from on or off campus recruiting activites including via telephone. Grady must now submit a report to the NCAA every six months. The NCAA will limit the max schollies from 25 down to 20. Also the Lobo's now only can recruit four JC players (non qualifiers out of high school) from originally 9. Keep in mind what we hear and what actually transpired are completely different things. There may be more to the story. Yet there could also be less. Regardless of what transpired, we should hope that all those involved will make amends to the best of their ability, stay on track and provide honest clean straight up competition!

19 August 2008

Fan Expectations

All American Jan Jorgensen has said "There are a lot of teams out there that would love to be 11-2. We've been good the last two seasons, and now, we're looking to be great. Anybody who wants to be great will never be satisfied with being 11-2". Jorgensen's outlook is completely reflective of Bronco's philosophy and expectations. Mendenhall believes strongly in accomplishing their personal best in fundamentals, focus, execution and simply performing at a higher level on or off the field. Otherwise there wouldn't be expectations for "The Quest". If Bronco has levels of expectations of his players then surely there must be expectations of us as fans. What is our role? Where do we fit in to be fully invested in supporting the team? There would be a few simple straight forward areas where we can be show others that we truly bleed blue. Those aspects that can be applied would be....

Wear Blue Picking out your clothing color should be a no brainer. Bronco has given us an expectation level. Recently at the Cougar Club kickoff he stated "We want to see a blue stadium every game. I'm not saying you should be mean to people, but if someone shows up and they're not wearing blue, it's ok to let them know what the expectations are". Could you imagine being on the team and showing up gametime wearing a purple jersey? Or forgetting your shoulder pads? There are expectations that should be easily understood and applied. If you are truly a raving fan the color blue is dominant in the wardrobe. When the bookstore is selling BLUE "The Quest" tshirts for $5 (that's even less than your $6 burger) there should be no excuse.
Minimum Attendance Arrive early! Don't just show up. Be on time and come prepared. Hit the concession stand or bathroom way before the game starts. The military often talks about boots on the ground. The same applies here with butts in the seats. Attendance is a prerequisite regardless of what class you are taking. Attend all home games, rally's, etc when possible. Know the team's schedule as well as your own in advance. Be on the lookout for possible personal scheduling conflicts ahead of time in order to make alternate plans to fit the Cougs in!
Where's Waldo When you vote don't you like to know who is representing you? This means knowing what position Waldo plays, where he's from, his jersey number, etc. Soak in the information from the media guide which is this years textbook. Learn the depth chart and know your players.
Stay The Course Even if the game is out of reach stay the full four quarters. It doesn't mean leave at halftime. Support your team. Don't bail early on the team. How would you feel if Max Hall loafed after halftime when there's still time to play? That applies to fans as well. A true blue fan will even listen hinging on every word from the players post game locker room interviews. Fully invested fans let their voices be heard in the stands and stay strong to the end.

El Dorado Compadre

From El Dorado Hills' Oak Ridge High School Brett Thompson (6.3/210) has given the Cougs a verbal in becoming the 14th recruit in the 2009 recruiting class. The california 3 star (according to scout.com) wide receiver has amazing size and has a strong build for working in an underneath passing offense. Brett should fit rather nicely into the football program. Thompson has the ability to catch passes in heavy traffic while working the middle. Of the recruiting process Brett said "It's a place I always wanted to go and it's a great fit for me personally so I decided not to prolong the process". He hails from the same high school that produced Austin Collie. Apparently Thompson has been dating Austin's sister. He mentioned of Austin "He's a great player and tremendous example on and off the field". Welcome to the Cougars and look forward to seeing you in a blue jersey!

18 August 2008

Friday Night Lights

Fall is in the air. Summer is nearly over. High school football is on taps and only days away. High school's friday night lights are back. Listed below are some games that Cougar fans might want to be aware of or even check out if given the opportunity. One of the listed players Tui Crichton might be roaming the sidelines but won't be in any action this season (shoulder injury). In bold are remaining players that have given the Cougs a verbal as well as the applicable school. Other players listed are individuals who also very well could end up wearing the blue jersey that have shown a definate interest.

Fri 8/22 Hunter @ Davis (Ryan Mulitalo)
Fri 8/22 Kahuku @Kailua/HI (Jray Galea'i)
Fri 8/29 Cy-Falls @ Bryan/TX (Fono Vakalahi)
Fri 8/29 McQueen @ Sprague/NV (Kyle Van Noy)
Fri 9/5 Milpitas @San Benito/CA (Steven Fanua)
Fri 8/22 Northridge @ Bonneville (Peni Maka'afi, Chris Washington)
Fri 9/12 Oak Ridge @ Rocklin/CA (Brett Thompson)
Fri 9/5 Palm Desert @Moreno Valley/CA (Trevor Bateman)
Fri 8/22 Pineview @ Mtn View (Anthony Heimuli)
Fri 8/29 Ponderosa @ Rampart/CO (Terry Alletto)
Sat 8/23 Punahou @ Wai'anae/HI (Manti Teo)
Fri 8/22 Skyline @ Bingham (Remington Peck/LT Filiaga)
Fri 8/22 Snow Canyon @ East (Adam Timo)
Fri 8/29 Southridge @ W Linn/OR (Mitch Matthews)
Fri 8/22 Timpview @ Pleasant Grove (Craig Bills/Tui Crichton)

If there are any that may have been missed apologies do go out. Please feel free to comment so that can be promptly adjusted. Thanks!

17 August 2008

America's Last Great Neighborhood

Did you know that there are over 50 million individuals who tailgate each year? Tailgating has become one of the fastest growing pastimes. It has grown rapidly into a multi-billion dollar industry. Statistics have shown the average age range is 25-44 and that the average arrival time is 3-4 hours pregame. It has been called the last great American neighborhood. Often on the menu one can find appetizers, dips, chicken/wings, kabobs, beverages, burgers, brats and or beef. A few quick tips to remember will help to make each tailgating event a succesful outing to remember.

Preparation Ahead of time sit down and make an extensive list that will cover it all. That list should be one that could be used annually regardless of what time of the year. Different weather can effect the possible additional items to include. Have all the possible food items been previously purchased? Has everything been checked and packed? How about the propane tank for the grill? Is it full and ready to go?

Timing Arrive early enough to provide plenty of ample prep time for setting up, cook/eating time and lastly conversation time. Consider the route there for any possible delays. Remember the matchup. Is it against Prairie View Technical College? Is the visiting team from a major conference? Or is the game against a rival?

Location Location Location There can be a number of things to remember and take into consideration. Is the area a great hotspot? Or have there been known annoying squares to frequent the area? How is the restroom accessibility? Are you parking in the same zip code as the event? Different venues (if an away game) offer different services and may also prohibit certain aspects (radio, tv, or simply throwing a football around). The venue may in fact provide at no extra charge extra tables (if notified in advance).

Extras It can never hurt to have a little extra food or that extra roll of paper towels. Certain miscellaneous items often can be incredibly useful or just simple extra conveniences. Extra paper plates, beverages, ice, condiments, sunscreen, garbage bags definately always come in handy!

Just a few simple things to consider that could be helpful. Any thoughts? I'll see you in the parking lot enjoying America's last great neighborhood!

16 August 2008

This Is The Place

In the Cougar 2008 campaign the team will likely matchup at eight different locations. This is the place or that is the place pending on where they are playing on what week. Listed below is a quick overview of those various venues they will play at some point of time this season. The "quest" for perfection opens at Lavell Edwards Stadium on August 30th against Northern Iowa. Cougar stadium originally opened for fans in 1964 but now has a seating capacity of 64,054. The stadium was renamed in 2000 in honor of Lavell Edwards. Since 1982 Lavell Edwards Stadium ranks consistently among the national top 25 in game attendance. College Football News in 2003 even named "Y" mountain the sixth most celebrated inanimate college football object. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit has stated "You guys will agree that Lavell Edwards Stadium is one of the prettiest settings of college football. This stadium is just unbelievable". The stadium's playing field is covered with a sand based natural turf capable of draining up to 8 inches of rain per hour. An automatic sensor system regulates on field moisture content via sprinklers as they are needed. There is a giant 23x31 video scoreboard located above the stands in the south end zone used for live action and replays. Lavell Edwards Stadium includes amazing four level press boxes which have been nicknamed "The Provo Mariott" and is aided by three service elevators. The third level press box is reserved for working media and all game operators (approximately 300 people) while the fourth level is used primarily for tv coverage and game filming. In LES the Cougars will look to add to its current 12 game home winning streak.

On September 6th the jerseys in blue will head to Seattle's Husky Stadium seating capacity 72,500. Husky Stadium was built in 1920 for $600,000 in a U shape design specifically orientated to minimize glare from the sun for the various athletes. Only four division I-A stadiums are older. The opened end overlooks Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains. ESPN Sideline crews have measured the crowd noise level at 130 decibels. It has been the site of US President Warren Harding's final address before his death. It was used as well in the 1990 Goodwill Games. In 2000 synthetic Field Turf was installed paid for by the Seattle Seahawks who were then using the stadium as their temporary field.

On October 3rd the Cougars will matchup against Utah State in Logan at Romney Stadium which opened in 1968. The stadium currently will seat up to 30,257 Aggie fans. On the playing field the players will find SprinTurf (similar to field turf). The press box accomodates 40 writers. In 1999 new scoreboards were at each end of the stadium.

Yet another thursday night October matchup will occur on the 16th in Forth Worth Texas' Amon G Carter Stadium. Carter Stadium houses up to 44,008 Horned Frog fans. The field is covered with Tiff 419 Bermuda Grass. Originally opening in 1930 with a possible 22,000 fan seating capacity. It is currently under a $75 million renovation which will feature 12 skyboxes and eventually seat nearly 50,000. The press box at 18 stories is one of the tallest in the entire NCAA. The letters displayed "TCU" are notably visible when flying into the Dallas Forth Worth airport. A few notable players over the years who have showcased their talents include Sammy Baugh, Davey O'Brien and LaDainian Tomlinson.

On the edge of Fort Collins Colorado lies Hughes Stadium which will seat up to 34,400 fans. It was named after former coach of 31 seasons Harry W Hughes and opened 28 Sept 1968. Like many venues Hughes Stadium has field turf installed the summer of 2006. From its origination in 1968 through 2005 the field was natural grass. Hughes Stadium has 12 luxury suites. Like LES in 2003 the stadium field was named in honor of then longtime coach Sonny Lubick (15 years). A new era will begin August 30th when the rams take on in state rival Colorado with Steve Fairchild now at the helm. The Cougars come into town November 1st.

Falcon Stadium was built in the fall of 1962 for $3.5 million. It has a capacity of 52,480 and sits on the Air Force Academy campus in Colorado Springs. Falcon Stadium uses field turf (installed prior to the 2006 season for $750,000) and is aligned in the traditional north south at an elevation of over 6620 feet above sea level (only Wyoming War Memorial Stadium is higher in the US). There is a major video screen at the south end of the field installed in 2004. Despite such a surprising season and not losing at home in 2007 it didn't seem to overwhelm the fans. In fact at Air Force's final home game only 34,227 fans showed up to cheer up the falcons.

With a seating capacity of 45,017 Rice Eccles Stadium uses field turf since 2002 and is only 20 minutes east of SLC international airport. Rice Eccles Stadium was host to the 2002 opening and closing Winter Olympic Ceremonies and has hosted events like U2, The Rolling Stones, EA Sports Supercross as well as the Real SL Professional Soccer. Originally built in 1927 for $133,000 it was in need of serious renovations by 1972 when Robert Rice donated $1 million for lighting, new locker rooms, 6 story press box, etc. In preparation for the upcoming olympics $10 million was given for major renovations to bring it up to Olympic Standard. In 2007 the yewts were victorious in all 5 home contests and very well may present the Cougars toughest test.

14 August 2008

Signs Point To Yes

In 2007 who would have ever predicted traditional powerhouse Michigan to be upset at home by Appalachian State? Would an individual have ever imagined the Fightin Irish in 2007 to have fallen so far? How about Stanford topping mighty USC on their own field? Each year collegiate football always has its unique upsets twists and turns. With the start of a new season it's time to throw out this year's somewhat bold predictions. This year those (after consulting the magic 8 ball) turns will include the following...

Home Winning Streak The BYU Cougars enter the season with a consecutive winning streak of 12 home games. In the 2008 season they will add 6 more consecutive wins to bring the total to 18. Preseason paper showed UCLA and Washington as the strongest threats to the current home streak. However, UCLA is now in a world of hurt at QB and down to their 3rd string already before an opening game snap. Unfortunately, Washington is having players drop like flies. Without ample protection, weapons to work with, or much of a defense the Huskies could have a long season in store. By November 22 the Cougs will be hoisting yet another MWC Conference title.

Coaching Staff Changes By seasons end two conference teams will be looking at personnel changes. On the hot seat is San Diego State the only MWC school not to play in the postseason since the conference's formation nine years ago. In Chuck Long's past two season's the Aztecs have only managed 6 league wins. Even worse is UNLV who has only managed two victories in four consecutive seasons. Coach Sanford (6-29 over 3 years) very well could be staring at yet another losing season. Good chance both schools could be looking at personnel changes (assistants and or coaching vacancies).

Kicking Woes Last year it was evident that there was a significant problem in the special teams. Mitch Payne absolutely struggled forcing the Cougs to often go for it more often than not. Although Mitch kicked three field goals in the victory over the yewts his season wasn't pretty performance wise. With a healthier Payne and being pushed by freshman High School All American Justin Sorensen, Payne will rebound and not suffer a sophomore slump.

Come Out Swinging In each of the last two years the Cougs have come out somewhat flat starting with a 1-2 record. There was a real possibility they could have been looking at BCS (even though slim) if that could have been different. Bronco is a quick learner and understands the value of correcting it. With the offense insanely stocked (10 returning starters), rebuilt defense look for the blue jerseys to open the season at 3-0 (Northern Iowa, at Washington and UCLA) in their quest for perfection.

Open The Playbook Having an immense wealth of offensive starters return will allow offensive coordinator Robert Anae to finally open up the playbook. Many have said the offense was too predictable. With the amount of experience, depth, options and firepower look for the playbook to be wide open in 2008. Four returning offensive linemen will allow Heisman Candidate Max Hall ample amount of time to make the reads and wisely chose his weapons. Good chance the Cougs will be among the national leaders in various offensive categories.

Yewts Consecutive Bowl Streak At first glance the school up north does have a somewhat impressive current bowl streak at 7. However, much of those are against mid level tier teams (Navy, Tulsa, Southern Mississippi, and Fresno State to name a few). Those are not exactly traditional collegiate powerhouses. However, the yewts will again field a strong team this year and make it to the Vegas Bowl (while the Cougs are BCS hunting) against a tougher opponent but will have their streak snapped in a close game.

Breakout Players With the loss of Manase Tonga from the backfield and the persistant nagging injuries with Vakapuna the Cougar fans will finally get a chance to see alot of freshman JJ Di Luigi on the field. Di Luigi will be an impact player and have a breakout year. This coming year is filled with numerous possible breakout players (Matt Reynolds, G Pittman, Jordan Pendleton, O'Neill Chambers, etc)just waiting to happen. With continued success look for the trend to continue.

What are your thoughts? Any other predictions you'd like to see? Would love to hear!

10 August 2008

Conference 2008 Preview

With the 2008 season less than 20 days away its probably time to throw out a brief overview of the Mountain West Conference. Five teams were able to play in post season play last year. The MWC will have four new defensive coordinators this season. Although, none of the four coordinators are new to each of their respective schools. Both BYU and the yewts once again will be playing thursday games.

BYU has some key defensive holes to fill at LB and the entire secondary is completely untested. Jan Jorgensen (Nagurski Award candidate) will again wreck havoc in offenses after a 14 sack sophomore campaign. David Nixon (Butkus Award candidate) threw down 66 tackles last year. While the DL will be even stronger with the presence at nose tackle Russ Tialavea (starter in 2006) who returns from knee injury. The transfer of Tevita Hola (JC All American) provides even more depth to the DL. In the secondary Scott Johnson has been turning heads during fall camp. Vic So'oto switched to LB and seems to be making the transition rather smoothlessly. He is however being pushed by Coleby Clawson (former JC All American from Snow College). On offense there have been a few changes in recent weeks. Projected starting center Tom Sorensen is dealing with some shoulder problems which may require surgery. Thus on the OL Dallas Reynolds has switched to the center position while his brother Matt steps in at left tackle. Ray Feinga begins the season on the watch list for the Outland Trophy Award. The rest of the OL remains intact and should provide Heisman Candidate Max Hall ample amount of time to once again work his magic. Hall came out flinging in 2007 finishing with over 3800 yards. Tight end Dennis Pitta was the recipient of that in over 8013 yards with 5 TDs. Fui Vakapuna has been struggling with the hamstring issue again (or is it still?). Will freshman JJ Di Luigi emerge out from his shadow? As a redshirt freshman Doak Walker Award candidate Harvey Unga quickly became nationally known rushing for over 1200 yards. All everything Austin Collie (Biletnikoff Candidate) has been nursing a stress fracture throughout fall camp but should be ready to go full strength in a few more weeks. Collie has been seen continually with a bone stimulator attached to his leg. With yet another amazing recruiting class BYU added even more depth to the Cougar den. Look for the Cougs to pretty much run the tables in hoisting yet another conference trophy. That is not arrogance just simply a matter of talent, discipline, great coaching and being fully invested. A BCS berth is very possible.
TCU will look to contend for a conference title assuming some things fall into place. The horned frogs must replace possibly the best tandem of ends it ever had in Tommy Blake and Chase Ortiz who combined for over 43 career sacks. Matt Panfil filled in nicely when Blake was dealing with personal issues last fall. Jason Phillips is a preseason All American candidate at LB. Senior running back Aaron Brown looks to bounce back after missing much of last season. Andy Dalton is a great scrambler but must clearly make better decisions (10TDs and 11 INTs is not a good ratio). Sophomore Jimmy Young likely will be Dalton's long ball wideout. The offensive weaponry is there and with the Horned Frogs defense they are usually never too far from contention.
Yewts can be hard to figure out. Every year on paper they seem to contend but always seem to shoot themselves in the foot via injury (Asiata or Brian Johnson as example) or simply lackluster play (see last years shutout at UNLV 0-27). On the bright side they always bring their best for the Holy War. However, in three years under Whittingham the yewts conference record is 14-10. This years schedule won't provide any relief (at Michigan, Oregon State, TCU, at New Mexico and BYU) either. All five of those games are not exactly a walk in the park. Darrell Mack has emerged at RB with over 1200 yards. At QB Brian Johnson is apparently fully healthy again (we'll see how long that lasts). The yewts OL returns 4 solid starters. Although the offense run seems sometimes to rely on gimmicks (triple reverses, fumblerooski, etc) rather than straight up smashmouth football. On defense the secondary is solid. The special teams are amazing in thanks to Louis Sakoda the nation's premier P/K combo. Sakoda was a solid 10 of 13 from 40 plus yards. With a tough schedule but having your best player as the P/K could make a rather interesting year for the yewts.
New Mexico could very well start out 0-3 (TCU, Texas A/M and Arizona). On top of that there is no available bye week in 2008 for New Mexico. On the bright side the Lobo's do have some skilled centerpieces in place. Set at QB is Donovon Porterie who in 2007 threw for over 3000 yards. Tailback Rodney Ferguson returns and has piled up nearly 2500 yards and 23 TDs in the last two years. Last year's Lobo defense finished at 13 nationally. Gone are all 3 starting LBs and both ends. However, the secondary is still a major strength. DeAndre Wright enters his 3rd year as a full time starter. Assuming the incoming LBs and DL find a way to step up look for the Lobo's to sneak up on a few teams.
Wyoming finished 2007 their third straight season without a bowl game. Don't look for it to happen in 2008. Quarterback Karsten Sween will have an edge as a starter but will have a very short leash (17 INTs last year). The cowboys bring a great running game with Wynel Seldon and Devin Moore (over 1500 yards between the two). Moore has been clocked at 4.3 seconds. However, the thunder and lightning didn't rain down consistently enough (see 9 total yards against the Cougs in 2007) on opponents. On defense the strength is in the trenches. John Fletcher (6.6/280 DT) was named to the Outland Trophy watch list. Last year the Cowboys finished losing 6 of 7. Too many questions linger for the struggling cowboys to contend.
UNLV has only managed two victories in four consecutive seasons. The rebels return Frank "The Tank" Summers who rolled through the yewts for 190 yards and 2 TDs (finished with over 900 rushing yards for the season). UNLV also returns two outstanding WRs in Casey Flair and deep threat Ryan Wolfe. Four out of the five positions on the OL return. One of the rebels best LBs in history Beau Bell will likely be replaced by Starr Fuimaono who returns from a shoulder injury. With a 2-10 season in 2007 time is drawing near for some results rebel fans are growing impatient.
Air Force surprised opponents in 2007 but could honestly struggle this year. Coach Troy Calhoun was a former offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans. Without the personnel (namely graduating centerpieces Chad Hall and Shaun Carney) Calhoun will have to work some serious magic. The falcons will be rebuilding almost everywhere. If a QB doesn't emerge and with too many graduating seniors could make it a difficult year.
Colorado State returns some experience in the backfield with Kyle Bell (over 1200 yards in 2005) who returns from a torn ACL. Gartrell Johnson rushed for 950+ yards last season. Also returning from an ACL injury is tight end Kory Sperry (took one of every 7 RECs to the end zone). Incoming head coach Steve Fairchild certainly faces an uphill struggle. The rams likely are a couple years from competing for a conference title but will not make things easy for conference foes.
San Diego State is the only MWC team in history yet to qualify for a bowl. Good news 8 of 11 defensive starters return. Bad news is that the Aztecs fielded one of the worst defenses in the country. San Diego State ranked last in the MWC and 105th nationally in rushing. Sophomore wide receiver Vincent Brown could be prime for something big and will definately be the go to receiver. Special teams might not be so special when breaking in a new kicker, punter and deep snapper.

09 August 2008

Just For Kicks

Most individuals tend to always think a teams kicker is always some nerdy and scrawny individual resembling "Mclovin". At 6.1/215 Justin Sorensen one of this years recruits from Bingham HS would moreso resemble a linebacker. He benches 330 pounds, squats 500 and cleans 330. Justin began playing in 8th grade and grew up in a Cougar household 8 of 9 children (all beginning with the letter "J"). He is an eagle scout, maintained a 3.4 GPA in high school and is even an avid unicyclist. Sorensen wears a size 13.5 shoe has an amazing leg. As a junior (2006) with 96 kickoffs 81 were touchbacks (that's about 85 percent unreturnable!) for over 6700 total kickoff yards. Last year he hit 50+ yard field goals four times with 54 of 55 PATs. In fact drilled a 62 yard field goal with no wind aid breaking a 37 year old state prep record. The NFL record stands at 63 yards. He was the nation's third highest scoring kicker in 2007. His coach Dave Peck mentioned "Alot of people don't realize that Justin is kicking off grass". Justin elected of not using tees to get ready for the next level. Cougar fans everywhere should definately get a kick out of watching him.

Jersey #65

On thursday the Cougars received another solid verbal to add to the den. Count in Jersey #65 worn by Fono Vakalahi and quite a physical speciman at 6.4/320 (from Bryan Texas) who should fit in rather nicely. Fono cites his late father Sione as his biggest role model and would like to eventually major in business. His favorite pro team is the Dallas Cowboys. He began playing at the age of 8 and was taught by his brother Moses. Fono's pregame ritual includes listening to reggae and eating a snickers bar. Vakalahi was drawing recruiting interest from Baylor, California, Arizona State, Texas A/M, Texas, and Virginia Tech. Bryan head coach Bob Bellard says "I think he's a can't miss. He's strong with good feet and he's a smart kid". Rivals currently has Fono rated as a 3 star recruit. According to Fono "I just fit in, it's a place I can meet all of my goals and progress as a man". Fono....welcome to the Cougar den! Look forward to seeing you achieve all your hopes and dreams in Cougar blue!

08 August 2008

Ten Early Signs

Every school across the nation has its collection of obsessed fans. With the Cougars it is no different (unless you include the religion aspect). As a fan of over 25 years listed below are some of the early warning signs or indications that I've seen over the years (some, most, or all tongue in cheek).

**You TIVO all matchups and breakdown each game film (penalties included with a gameplan on how to attack the next opponent)
**You spend all available hours scouring the internet for all player, practice or recruiting updates
**Have children named after former players or triplets names that start with the letters "B", "Y", or "U"
**The entire wardrobe consists of colors blue and or white
**Your favorite team is not only the Cougars but whoever is playing AGAINST the yewts
**Own a portion, logo, color or favorite player number incorporated into your haircut
**Obtain yearly the new media guide and study it as one of the standard works
**Have a work desk area complete with Cougar memorabilia, fathead, 100 oz Cougar soda refill mug and/or have BYU computer wallpaper
**Have the fight song on your ipod or cell phone
**Actually believe that Harline is STILL open

Of course still you can't leave out when in doubt or in a crisis situation ask "What would Bronco do?" Any thoughts? Or something I might be missing off the list? Would love to hear!

07 August 2008

Behind The Scenes

With over 100 athletes listed on the football team in one way or another keeping track of all the equipment would be an absolutely incredible task. Taking care of laundry is one thing. Seeing each player is suited up and ready to go is something entirely different. Every player typically is covered from head to toe with some sort of equipment on game day for maximum allowed protection. That task would begin long before that particular matchup. Such an individual would be required to order and schedule delivery of customized jerseys (both practice and gameday); helmets, arm bands, mouthguards, chin straps, gloves, skull caps (do-rags), facemasks, shoulder pads, cleats, etc months in advance. The equipment manager would be required to keep extras on hand and know how to make product repairs on site in a moments notice (allowing the player to be available and ready to go for the maximum amount of time). Your equipment manager would need to know the players and their certain preferences as well. Such an individual for the Cougs is Mick Hill who has been with the department since 1981. Mick even has to manage all the logistics (travel time for away games) and road inventory with backup plans in advance. Next time you see the Cougars all decked out in their gear from head to toe don't forget to give a high five to the guy behind the scenes who made it all possible.

03 August 2008

Plays To Remember

As a lifelong Cougar football fan there have been been numerous phenomenal games to watch over the years. Found amongst each of the those memorable matchups there are typically defining moments or specific plays that an individual can always look back on. Listed below in historical order are ten dates singled out with absolutely amazing defining plays that a Cougar fan will always be immensely proud of.

19 Dec 1980 This was the tale of two ball games seperated by nearly four quarters and the other one of four minutes. The Mustang Express dominated the first portion led by Eric Dickerson and Craig James leaving the Cougs down by 20 with only minutes remaining. At this point most had already tuned out or left the stadium. From a 45-25 deficit the Cougs found a TD pass, recovered an onside kick, scored on a one yard run and blocked a punt. With only three seconds remaining in this wild ride Jim McMahon connected on a "Hail Mary" pass of 41 yards to Clay Brown for the touchdown. With the score tied Kurt Gunther kicked the winning PAT giving the the victory to the Cougars as the fans stormed the field.
23 Dec 1983 Another great page of Cougar history was about to be added in a matchup of a stingy Missouri defense against the explosive Cougar offense led by Steve Young. Something had to give somewhere but neither was willing to back down. BYU had the ball on the 6 yard line with 3:57 left in the game down 17-14. The blue jerseys were able to march down to the Missouri 15 with under a minute to play. On first and 10 Young handed off to Eddie Stinnett who faked a sweep to the right throwing back across the field to Young over the outstretched arms of Mizzo's Bobby Bell. Stinnett's pass allowed Young to scamper in for the six (PAT good) securing the 1983 Holiday Bowl victory.
22 Sep 1984 This night would showcase one of the most spectacular plays ever in Cougar history. Leading 12-10 the Cougar defense was pinned in a first and goal on the BYU 2 yard line. Scouting reports showed Hawaii QB Raphel Cherry loved the QB sneak when possible. First attempt was unsuccessful and proved correct for only a few inches. Second down held the same results. On third and inches Cougar free safety Kyle Morrell crept near the line of scrimmage listening intently on the audibles. Knowing Cherry's cadence Morrell leaped clearing the line simultaneously as the ball was snapped. Kyle hurdled over the Rainbow (Raphel Cherry) catching him by the collar pulling him down. The timing was unquestionably perfect. Not a single official reached for a yellow flag.
21 Dec 1984 At the end of half the Michigan Wolverine's led 14-10. Bob Bergeron hit a 32 yard FG adding to the Wolverine lead (17-10). The Cougar offense led by Robbie Bosco then gutted out a 80 yard drive with a pass to Glen Kozlowski to tie the game at 17 with 10:51 remaining. Finally Boscoe hit a 13 yard TD toss to Kelly Smith with 1:23 remaining putting the Cougs up 24-17. Two plays later Marv Allen intercepted a pass clinching not only an undefeated season but also national championship.
8 Sep 1990 Over 60,000 Cougar fans witnessed first hand an upset of then #1 nationally ranked Miami Hurricanes led by Ty Detmer. In the process Detmer received 6 stitches to the chin yet effectively and efficiently carved up the Hurricane defense on 38 of 54 precision lasered throws for over 400 yards. At the end of the evening Matt Bellini voiced his own thoughts on the subject between the two matched up QBs "There's no doubt in my mind who's better. All you had to do was listen to the crowd" (Bellini snagged 10 recepts for 111 yards). Ervin Lee picked off Craig Erickson's last heave in the end zone as time clicked off the click.
1 Jan 1997 Over seventy thousand fans (more than 40,000 of those were dressed in wildcat purple) were on hand to witness the fifth ranked Cougs come from behind victory in the 61st annual Cotton Bowl. At the end of three quarters Kansas State was up 15-5. Steve Sarkisian engineered two fourth quarter drives capped with TD passes to James Dye (wish he was still roaming the sidelines) and K.O. Kealualuhi. Cougar fans were on edge as the Wildcats drove the length of the field before Omarr Morgan finally took care of business with an INT at the 12 yard line.
24 Nov 2000 Both the yewts (4-6) and Cougars (5-6) were attempting to finish off less than desired seasons. Coach Lavell Edwards was coaching the last game of the season before retirement. At the end of three quarters BYU was up 26-10. However, the yewts began working on their own home field scoring 17. Up by one the yewts had the Cougars pinned on 4th and 13 at their own 17. With about a minute remaining Brandon Doman connected with Jonathan Pittman for 34 yards keeping the drive alive. On the very next play Pittman struck again with a 36 yard completion from Doman. Two plays later with 13 seconds left Brandon ran in the winning TD sending out Lavell Edwards victorious.
17 Nov 2001 Coming into the contest the Cougs at home were ranked #8 and undefeated. With 3:30 left all that was in jeopardy down 21-10. Brandon Doman assembled yet another dramatic comeback in Cougar history. Leading the Cougs on a 92 yard drive Doman found Luke Staley on a 7 yard TD pass. Luke added a 2 point conversion run. The BYU defense held strong against the yewt three and out. At the yewt 30 with 1:16 left Luke took the Doman pitch along the sideline for the winning touchdown.
25 Nov 2006 Undefeated in conference play John Beck was up for a challenge. Both the local media and fans wanted to know. Could he win the big one? Things looked rather dark with 1:19 left and the yewts holding onto a 31-27 lead. Needing an answered prayer Beck was able to engineer an impressive 70 yard drive down to the yewts 14. However, now facing fourth and only seconds remaining in the play that lasted forever Beck was able to find Jonny Harline wide open in the end zone for the touchdown and victory. Yes, Harline is STILL open!
25 Nov 2007 For the screaming fans in Provo the scoreboard read fourth and 18. In the hearts of fans it might have been fourth and probably not gonna happen. Trailing the yewts 10-9 with a little over a minute remaining on your own 12 could be painted as pretty dark. Cougar QB Max Hall was confident stating "I knew something magical was going to happen". And it did. As Max rolled right (still nursing a shoulder sprain) he found Austin Collie wide open for a 49 yard completion keeping hopes alive. A few plays later with 38 ticks on the clock Harvey Unga steamrolled 11 yards into the end zone to lift the Cougars to victory and a second consecutive outright MWC championship. As Austin Collie would say if you work hard on the fundamentals, execution and do the right things on and off the field certain things happen that allow you to win football games. Two words tell it all: magic happens.

Hey Coach!

Within the last two years there have been over 40 coaching changes in college football. That translates to about 36 percent of all teams having someone new blowing the whistle and drawing up plays. Of course, each year there are numerous variables (retirement, buyouts, leaving for another post, and of course good old fashioned firing, etc). This year had its carousel like any other. Listed below are some to keep a close eye on. They include...

Arizona (Bob Stoops) After finishing 5-7 in 2007 Stoops' position could be up for grabs. He has had no bowls in 4 seasons. First 3 games should help provide a boost of confidence (Idaho, Toledo and @ New Mexico) to help land that elusive bowl. Wildcat WRs is a deep unit that can stretch the field and have an experienced OL. Longball may become popular.
Arkansas (Bobby Petrino) Hog fans are excited about what the future might have in store. Gone is Houston Nutt and most of last years points and numbers. However, Petrino is a genuis with offense and dominated his home state recruitment-wise even stole one of the elite prospects from USC. Razorbacks will be given a quick education in the passing game that was successful back in Louisville. In time look for Petrino to do work some wonderful magic. WPS!
Michigan (Rich Rodriguez) The Wolverine welcome to Rich Rodriguez won't exactly be a walk in the park. Missing from last year's team is the leading career rusher Mike Hart as well as leading career passer Chad Henne. Also missing is Jake Long (NFL #1 pick overall) including the team's top two WRs. The offense is riddled with questions everywhere. Good news is that the defense is loaded and may carry this year's squad. August 30th yewt matchup should be quite an event to watch.
Navy (Ken Niumatalolo) Incoming coach Ken Niumatalolo will look to carry the winning tradition (five consecutive bowl games) and high expectations are abound. Coach Ken will keep the successful triple option. Unfortunately, the midseason matchup run with Rutgers, @ Wake Forest, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame could be a struggle.
Nebraska (Bo Pelini) It was only a matter of time before Pelini the defensive mastermind from the LSU Tigers was to find new turf to build upon. After going 2-6 in league Nebraska will look to bounce back with a veteran OL to build around. Having 5 straight home games is always a great place to start (3 of which should be gimme's).
Notre Dame (Charlie Weiss) After being outright embarassed by Air Force (and at home 41-24) look for the Irish to bounce back. There is alot of growth and maturity that will need to take place quickly. The luck of the Irish has given them a much easier schedule including four of the first five matchups at home. Weiss put together a phenomenal recruiting class so help is on the way.
SMU (June Jones) With Junes Jones now aboard it is only a matter of time before the Mustang express program will be up and running again. In a state where football is practically religion Jones will begin by installing the run and shoot and over time it will work. The Mustangs won't be going 1-11 again like last season.
Stanford (Jim Harbaugh) Harbaugh picked up the program off the turf in his first year (finished 4-8) including a huge boost in a victory over USC on the road. Can he take the next giant leap? Without a proven QB and a tough schedule (7 road games) could make it a bumpy road.
UCLA (Rick Neuheisel) With the arrival of big names in Slick Rick and Norm Chow on staff it should make things interesting again to close the gap with crosstown rival USC. Early going could be quite difficult. Starting QB Patrick Cowan is done for the year. Backup Ben Olsen broke his right foot late spring leaving JC transfer Kevin Craft next in line. Both tailback's are coming off reconstructive knee surgeries. The secondary also has only one returning starter. Questions are abound in an ongoing rebuilding process.
Washington (Ty Willingham) Could coach Tyrone Willingham be possibly looking for a new gig shortly? Washington fans are growing restless. No returning Husky lineman had more than two tackles last year. Jake Locker is the real deal but so is the Husky brutal opening schedule which definately doesn't provide any relief either (@ Oregon, BYU!!, Oklahoma for your first three games).

02 August 2008

Austin 4:18

Typically known for his famous bold statement "When you're living right and doing the right things on and off the field I think the Lord steps in and plays a part. Magic happens." Austin Collie has what it takes to back it up on 4th and 18 or even off the field regardless of his role. Collie comes from an athletic family. His father Scott played for the Cougs back 1979-82 (and later for the Hamilton Tiger Cats). While his brother Zac wore the blue from 2003-6 and spent some time with the Philadelphia Eagles. Austin was a freshman All American in 2004 catching 8 TDs from John Beck. Last season he ripped off 100+ yards in 5 of the last 6 contests including the Las Vegas Bowl victory over UCLA. In fact, Collie racked up 366 all purpose yards against Tulsa breaking a 35 year old school record previously held by Pete Van Valkenburg (306 all purpose yards in a 33-14 victory over Wyoming back in 1972). Last season Austin has been simply magic as a WR and even averaged over 25 yards per kick return. He is definately a deep threat who seems to be able to get open at will. It was quite recently reported he has a minor stress fracture just below his right kneecap and there will be likely more news to follow shortly with the situation to be monitered closely. Assuming Collie heals quickly expect yet another big year this time with double digit TDs and over 1000+ yards. Here's to a speedy full recovery for if it weren't for Austin 4:18 this blog wouldn't be possible!