Now that most of the whiney babies are gone...
Personally, I am very impressed with Bronco and the program he is building. The players are toeing the line like no time since the early 90's, they are all on the same page, and our talent level is finally starting to approach the level we were at when we were a regular visitor in the Top 25 (we can debate if that is enough now with football catching up to BYU's revolutionary schemes we had under LaVell, but that is another topic).
The only thing to really complain and find fault about, of course, is the record...of course, the record is the 800 pound gorilla.
BYU has even looked good at several times over the past two years, where longtime fans could see some glimpses of the dominant program we once enjoyed. Back then, even if a team was good, we still expected to win, and weren't surprised if we blew them out.
Tulsa was reminiscent of that era.
Unfortunately, the achilles heel of the past two years is BYU's record in games decided by less than a touchdown: 1-5. To make it worse, BYU has not won an overtime game in two years, and most of those close losses came against teams that observers judged to be evenly matched or just a bit better than BYU.
Everyone knows that the way to jumpstart a fanbase is to pull off a big upset or to pull out a win against an evenly matched team in dramatic fashion, and Bronco and company have not been able to do it.
We seem to be just good enough to stay in there with these teams, only to LOSE in dramatic fashion.
So, the simple question is: why?
Many have their own reasons, ranging from John Beck, to the secondary and defense, to Gordo Monson's asinine commentary that BYU is just a bunch of losers (takes one to know one, eh Mr. BYU grad?).
For me, though, I've been watching this closely for the past two years, and I put more of the blame on the offensive coaching staff.
In close games over the past two years, when we have had the ball with a chance to score a big TD and put the game away late, we have only been able to do it once (UNM, 2004 for our only close win). In every other game, when we have had a chance to get the big, game sealing TD, we've settled for a field goal attempt.
Pick the game: Arizona, Boston College, Utah...we had the ball with a chance to win the game on offense, and our offense caved and we settled for field goals. Instead of playing to win, the coaching staff played not to let the offense lose the game--kind of a prevent offense, if you will, and it does what prevent gameplans always do: it prevents you from winning.
Now, a lot of people will point to the offensive players and breath fire and brimstone upon them, but for me, I feel like the offensive coaching staff needs to give the players a chance. I've seen it in several games over the past few years, and when the offense has a chance to grab a team by the jugular and squeeze, they can't do it.
Instead of an off tackle run on 3rd and 1 against BC, why not a play action pass to the tight end going away from the motion? Where are the tendency breaker plays late in the game to surprise a defense and get us in a favorable matchup for a big gain? I saw the Denver Broncos run a reverse on 4th and 1 for big yards last Sunday that led to their winning the game. A crazy call...except that it worked.
I love the ball control, efficient offense that Coach Anae has inserted, but there are times when you have to roll the dice and pull a rabbit out of a hat, and too many times I've seen us pull a 35 yard field goal out of the hat in the 4th quarter of tight ball games. I should mention that I do believe that Coach Anae and company have put together several gameplans that took games that might otherwise have been close, and turned them into easy or methodical wins. Wyoming, Air Force, and Colorado State last year, and Tulsa this year are just a few games that we thought might be close, hard fought games, and instead we really weren't threatened in any of them.
I don't think Coach Twhit is a good head coach, but I'll never claim he isn't a good defensive coach, and we saw that when he pulled a rabbbit out of his hat in overtime on 4th down when he dropped 10 guys against us. He outguessed our offensive coaching staff, and that is why yewtah won overtime.
I don't think that Coach Anae and Reynolds, etc. CAN'T work some magic when necessary late in close ball games, just that they HAVEN'T done it yet. Here is to hoping that they figure it out soon--preferably this season in time to pull off a big win and energize the BYU fans this season and going into next year.