After reading plenty of articles, comments on articles and forum posts for most things related to BYU football (topics such as: last season, BYU’s future as an Independent, whether or not BYU should rejoin the MWC, and so on.), I feel like this next season will either show that the critics are right or blow the doubters out of the water. I think there are three people that could make us a much better team than a lot of people will expect. I feel that the success of our season depends on Taysom Hill, Bronco Mendenhall, and Frank Wintrich.
Taysom should be a no-brainer, but I still feel the need to mention him. After seeing him play healthy last year, I just want him to stay uninjured, partly so BYU does well, and partly so that I can keep watching him play. I imagine that I’m a youngster compared to most of the others that frequent this forum, but I don’t know the last time I’ve seen someone with a greater desire to win. The amazing thing about last year is that he finally had the skills and tools to actually make that happen. While I will forever remember the “Leap of Faith,” a close second for my favorite moment from last year may be when he carried a Virginia defender that was practically horse-collaring him for 5-10 yards before scoring a touchdown. When he was healthy, he was one of the best I’ve seen. And after watching him run skelleys at the Blue-White game this year, I think the talk about his accuracy getting significantly better isn’t just hype. If he stays healthy this year, and if the majority of the offense stays healthy, Taysom should have the skills and tools to lead one of the best offenses in the country.
Bronco is next because he needs to revitalize our defense. Our defense last year was beyond undisciplined, was anything but assignment sound, and didn’t seem to run to the ball. All of these are the trademarks of a Bronco defense. He needs to get the defense to buy into his system. He’s produced some of the best defenses with average players, so long as they fully commit to his system. We may have young guys, but they can be a highly effective defensive unit if they become a Bronco defense. And honestly, they may not need to be as good as some of the defenses past. They need to be better than last season and they may just need to keep pressure off the offense, which may be good enough that opposing teams may have a hard time keeping up with them anyway.
Frank may be the most important piece to this year. One of the biggest qualifiers for how well this season goes is how healthy the team stays. This was the bane of our existence last year, and I will probably cry if it happens again. However, I think that he will live up to expectations. Every time I’ve heard him speak, my thoughts generally consist of: “Well, duh. Why haven’t we done that in the past? This makes perfect sense.” His way of doing things seems to be designed to actively prevent injuries by strengthening the areas that are injury prone and to condition the team for what their roles are and for any weather conditions.
Now, I am willing to admit that I am an optimist during the off-season. I may very well be disappointed when the season comes around. But, I truly believe that our team will be better conditioned, better strengthened and prepared against injuries, be better prepared and perform better on defense, and be led the entire season by one of the most entertaining quarterbacks we’ve seen in a while.