My Thoughts On Where We Are Now As A Football Program

How much damage was done to the reputation of BYU Football with the 2017 performance which was the worst in 47 years?

How much damage was done for our home games, away games, scheduling, chances to get into a P5 conference, or desirability and clout to get back into the best G5 conference?

How much has our leadership dominance diminished ? Was it a fluke or is it the signs of the times? Where is the respect level now compared to the last 30 years?

Will those that matter, Power conference decision makers, Mid Major conferences decision makers, those that we try to schedule as an independent, the TV ratings and it’s sponsors, the new TV contract offer, the fans for home games and the fans for away games, soon forget the 2017 season, or will this 2017 season forever be remembered? Will we recover, or has our damage control failed us ?

Trying to find something good out of all of this, is that it that we are not now as arrogant as we use to be. We may be easier to get along with if indeed we do join a conference. We may be more of a team player among the other Universities in a conference instead of seeing ourselves as the best that all should be grateful for. We may have been given this opportunity to be humble and learn and gain from it.

Perhaps, we will never be a Norte Dame, because perhaps, the leadership at BYU is not as committed to and does not understand the value of BYU Football as much as Notre Dame leadership is committed to and understands the value of Norte Dame Football. Perhaps it would take the full commitment that we do not have, to be the Norte Dame of the West.

Perhaps, we once thought that we were good enough to be a P5 team, and perhaps our dreams and our aspirations of being a P5 team was stronger than the reality of the 2017 season suggest.

Perhaps now we can say, “We gave it our best shot as an independent, and our best shot was not good enough to play anything close to a P5 schedule.”

Perhaps we can now say, that we were once ( one of the best) Mid Major Teams, but nothing more. Perhaps, we may hope that once again, we may get back to being one at the top half of the Mid Major teams, as so many have now caught up with, and several have passed us.

Now many of us must wonder, what happened, what triggered, and when did it start, and what jolt brought it to it’s conclusion?

Finally, it seems like we have two directions to go.

  1. Jump into a mid major conference if they will take us, and do it before it’s too late. or

  2. See what this new coaching staff on the OF side of the ball can do. Give them a year or two to see if they can get us back our swagger and not give up on our dreams of being great, and hope for more commitment from the top to make it happen.

I still maintain that we can not make sweet orange juice out of lemons and it will take the most respected coaches to attract the best oranges to make the best sweet orange juice.


The idea that we are not good enough to be a P5 team is patently absurd. We had ONE bad year, and when people judge BYU as a potential P5 team, they often make the mistake of comparing us to the BEST P5 teams. Under THAT standard, it is no wonder the Big XII decided not to expand. But when you consider that, BY DEFINITION, P5 teams have a .500 record against each other, a record that is slightly under that still means that we have as good of a football program as many run-of-the-mill P5 teams.

No, the big problem here is not that we are not P5-worthy. Heck, we measure up better than many existing P5 teams. It is that we are not P5 for reasons having nothing to do with football.

Historically, you’re right. The problem is that there is the fear that this isn’t just an aberration. We looked so bad last year and couldn’t move the ball. Even in the doldrums of Bob Jensen, Steve Lindsley, and Sean Covey — and later John Walsh, Kevin Feterik — we were able to move the ball and score. It was so bad last year, that many of us are wondering (and nervous) whether Grimes & Co. can actually get us back to being competitive, or whether there is a larger phenomenon at play. If we have the same massive trouble getting first downs next year against bad teams, I think it’s time to panic. We had massive trouble moving the ball against some really weak teams (beginning with Portland St.).

I think with the ebb and flow of society and sports trends, we might have passed the golden era of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s and not be able to recapture the same ability to compete. Through nobody’s fault, really ---- it’s just the nature of things, given BYU’s unique circumstances.

Thank you for your reply Rubicon.

You mentioned the terrible play we showed in the victory over FCS Portland State, but you failed to mention the disastrous loss over #124 UMASS.

As long as we keep our heads in the sand and keep trying to make sweet orange juice out of the very best lemons in the world, we will keep coming up short.

If we wand to be in a lemonade contest, we must be in a G5 lemonade conference playing other lemons. As long as we want to be in a sweet P5 Orange Juice Contest, playing as an Independent vs the very best Oranges in the market, than we must make some changes to attract some of those sweet oranges into our conference. Lemons will never consistently make better juice than oranges. It’s no contest.

Our coaches must be respected enough to attract the players that can compete vs. those in the P5 teams we now play.

What was the difference between the days of Jensen, Lindsay, Covey moving the ball and Last year with Mangum, Hodge, Critchlow not moving the ball?

In my opinion, it is the simple fact that the previous QB’s had EXPERIENCED coaches helping them improve. Last year most of the coaching staff had no to little coaching experience (Some did not even have high school experience).

It was evident in the way the offense ran, that these coaches were not getting it done with the players. Now this year, we have an offensive coaching staff with close to 100 years of College level coaching experience.

The future looks bright to me.

What is your suggestions?

How are you going to get 4 to 5 star recruits to come to BYU, when most of them CAN NOT meet the academic standards set by Admission? Seriously, do you want BYU to drop it admission standards so we can have the glory days of football?

No one is sticking their head in the sand, There are some serious issues that BYU can or can not resolve. For instance, back in the glory days, most LDS athletes wanted to come to BYU, especially if they were going on missions. Now most colleges allows the player to serve a mission.

Let’s see go play at Alabama, be seen more on TV by the NFL scouts, and have a better chance at a national championship or go play at BYU, where the admission standards are harder, less TV coverage and above all no chance in hell of getting a championship.

Which would you choose?

I really hope you’re right.

I think that college football has changed a lot over the last 30 years, and that we are in an era where even with top-notch coaching, good BYU recruits, and good scheduling, we are going to struggle to move the ball against even average or not very good teams. That’s just what it feels like to me from watching games. I don’t know that our coaching and execution was actually as bad as it looked. This might be the new normal for us, even doing all we can do.

I really hope that I’m wrong about this.

The difference in covey and magnum is almost nothing except that Tanner has a better arm. Covey wasn’t ever quality enough to be a D-1 QB. Covey had a better supporting staff though. The younger “Young” brother … Mike should have played and not Covey. Jensen at least was a decent athlete but Covey had almost no arm strength and wasn’t mobile. He was just bad all around. Politics ruled the day back then.

I remember a play where he got his bell rung, and went under center with his helmet on sideways. The refs stopped the play and made BYU sub him out.

That was my point. He wasn’t very good, yet we were still able to move the ball and score points.

Anyone remember Detmer’s comeback and near huge win against Penn St. in the bowl game? we lost 50-39, but we were moving down the field and close to scoring when the ball was stripped and returned for a touchdown. It was 43-39 at that point. Really makes you wonder what could have been had Detmer played that whole season instead of Covey.

Lindsley wasn’t very good at all, yet we still garnered a lot of respect playing those Southwest Conference teams that year (Texas, TCU, and one other, I think).


“This might be the new normal for us, even doing all we can do.”

Call it what you will.
The Power 5 vs the G5
The fully committed vs. those that are not fully committed.

Each group has their own normal.

As long as we are not fully committed our normal will be G5 or FCS depending
on where we draw the line.


“Ron, What is your suggestions?”

  1. A coach like Andy Reid, is more likely to get the 4-5 star player than a coach from
    UMASS, Idaho, Idaho State, Weber State etc. Of course that coach like Andy Reid will
    cost much more money while the others will cost much less money.

    the down side to going after Andy Reid type is obvious, costing the
    Church/University much more money, thus saving much money by
    hiring the others.

    The upside is that the Andy Reid type coach can get the 4-5 star
    players that get us the $17million dollar bowls as easily as the others
    can get us the $750,000. bowls.

    The upside is that the Andy Reid type coach, with the players he can
    get, could get us the $25 million dollar TV contracts, easier that the
    other group could get another $10 million dollar TV Contract.

    There are other upsides running along this line. You have the picture.
    (better attendance at home games and away games etc.)

  2. Place more importance to supporting the Church owned University in
    the Wards, Stake Centers, and various Youth groups. Let these
    4-5 star players know that we desperately need their support and
    willingness to help us bring back our program to the glory years.
    No this is not a mission call, but it is an important call for help from
    our gifted athletes.

  3. Hopefully the business department will do the math and see the
    advantage in fully funding the program for excellence.

  4. Jim MacMann could not qualify to get into ND so he came to BYU.
    Was it the honor code or the academics, or both the honor code and
    the academics that kept him out of Notre Dame. He definitely had
    the talent. Notre Dame was his childhood dream right up to the time
    that he could not qualify to get in.

  5. This one will cause you and others to scream at me, but to be honest,
    I must express what I believe. I believe there is much that we could be
    doing that we are not doing and because we are not doing it, we are full
    of excuses for our lack of success i.e. the honor code, i.e the No Sunday
    Play, i.e. the academics. We are not the only University with a strong set
    of rules, and a a strong academic requirement. We like to think so. (I’ll stop
    here before I say too much.) I love BYU as you do, and I do and I say all
    that I can to do what I think that I need to say and do, to help BYU be all
    that it can be. I am not ready to let it die on the vine for lack of nourishment.

  6. One last word, that is sure to get me in trouble. I think that a lot of harm was done
    in trying to get 4-5 star players during the past 14 years by announcing to the world
    that football in the theme of things is not any higher than 4,5, or was it 6 in the theme
    of things. We all know God, Church, Family, Education, (fireside??) Importance. But
    we chose to rub the nose of quality athletes in the broth which I feel is unfortunate.

    In the past 14 years, we continually told the football world that stars mean nothing at
    BYU, and that the player should be grateful to play at BYU instead of BYU being
    grateful that the 4-5 star athlete would come to us.

    The way we treated our last (two)
    5 star athletes were dreadful and when they left us, they were so broken that they
    could not achieve on the 3 star level any where they went.

    They were broken. We need to desperately change this perception and pull a reversal.
    4-5 star players will play where they are appreciated and they need not play where
    they are not respected. We need to show both respect and appreciation and add a
    third item of NEED. or, ----- are we too proud?

Floyd, this is my second attempt to answer your question. This will be a summary of the first that was lost or taken away to cyber space.

  1. Pay the money to get the coaches that will attract the 4-5 star players.  Quick 
     example: The Andy Reid type will attract more 4-5 star players than coaches from the
     Sun Belt Conference.  Yes the cost is more but the returns are far more than the output
      of  funds.
  2. Make a greater effort in the Wards the Stake Centers, and the mid week youth groups 
     to let the athletes know that we need them to get us back on track.  We need them, we
     appreciate them, we respect them, and while this is not a mission call, it is a plea of 
     great importance to have them help us in our time of need.
  3. The military glorifies the enlisted men and women form each city in the nation by 
      having that cities photos of the youth in the military.  It makes the youth and their 
      friends and family members proud to see their own having a large photo hanging from
      the light poles.  At least in Utah, we can have photos displayed of our athletes that 
      perform for BYU.  Yes I know that we would have to stay out of the areas of other 
      Utah teams.  While this idea may not work, someone else on this site could hitch hike 
      onto this idea and come up with a better plan that could work to attract our athletes.
  4. Some one with respect from the business department could approach the BA’s to offer
    to help take another look at the profit of financing the Cougars to be all that they could
    be with the full support which they are now only receiving a percentage of that full
    support that is so badly needed.


    $1 million dollar or less----------------$6 million dollar or more coach from P5
    coach from FCS school or ------------schools or NFL
    lower G5 school.

    $750,000 bowl games------------------$17 million dollar bowl games
    $10 million TV Contract----------------$25 million dollar contract
    partially full stadium at home.----------Full sold out stadium at home.
    low travel attendance ------------------ high travel attendance
    Low rent venders at stadium------------High rent vendors at stadium
    low revenue at sport store --------------high revenue at sport stop (library)
    G5 respect--------------------------------P5 respect
    could be much less-----------------------could be much more.

    etc. ----------------------------------------etc.


You are basically saying what have been saying. Coaches do make a huge difference.
The amount of coaching experience makes a hughe difference.
The amount of success at coaches have makes a huge difference.

The problem is: The coaches that have had the greatest success at the highest level, for the most years, are the coaches that are the most expensive.

To date, we have chosen the coaches that will work for less rather than take the experience coaches with the most successful experience at the highest level. I would like to see this change.

Speaking of Detmer

now he can go back to huntin and coaching QBs


I also have blue goggles. “P5 teams have a .500 record against each other,” Really?? Let’s talk the Pac 12 for an example: How far back should we go? 10 years? 20 years? 30 years?
Does USC have a 500 record vs Colorado? Vs. Utah Utes? Vs. Washington State? Vs Oregon St.? You have to be jesting!!!

Let’s look at the next level: Does USC have a 500 record vs UCLA, Vs Arizona, Vs Arizona St. vs. Cal? Wow!!!
now let’s take it to the final list. Does USC have a 500 record vs Stanford ? vs. Oregon? Vs. Washington??? I think not.

With my own personal blue goggles on, which I more often than not, do wear, I have seen much progress with our new offensive coaching staff. I see wide receivers running after the otherwise over thrown ball. I see Wide receivers diving for the otherwise uncatchable ball. I see Wide Receivers changing directions to run after the otherwise uncatchable ball. I see many of these uncatchable balls now being caught. I saw virtually none of this last season.

I loved Ben Cahoon as a Cougar. I consider him as one of our best ever. I loved him as a Canadian player. They consider him as one of the best ever to play for Canada. Some how, I feel that he was not able to teach that which he did so well. I will aways love and appreciate him for his accomplishments, but I don’t feel that he is as good of a teacher as he was as a player. The same can be said for Ty Detmer. I love that man too and will always appreciate him for the fame he brought to our University for his football genius and the Heisman Trophy, but I think the Offense is being better taught now.

Without the money spent, to get the new coaching staff, I definately felt that we could not compete in a P5 conference even if we were invited. But the money has been spent and the results are positive, and with much more serious and focused practice and with much more learning on how compete at the P5 level vs P5 team, and with the focus and the vision that we will soon be able to compete with at a P5 level, we will be more ready for the calling is it does come, than we have ever had before in the post LE era. Go Cougars

You misunderstood my comment. Note that I made no claim about specific P5 teams. I am saying that, BY DEFINITION, P5 teams COLLECTIVELY have a .500 record against each other because, in every game between P5 teams, one team wins and one team loses. :slight_smile: And this was not meant as a trivial statement, but rather, to put a team’s record against P5 teams in context. If a non-P5 team, for example, has a .450 record against P5 teams, that doesn’t mean they are undeserving of P5 consideration. To the contrary, it means that they are almost as good as P5 teams collectively.

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I do agree that between any two P5 teams playing each other in any one given game, one team will win while the other loses, and for that one game 500. (#!*etc.)

The focus on what I am trying to say is this: Yes we beat Texas 3 out of 3 times and their coach got fired over it. Yes, we beat #2 in the Nation, Oklahoma, in the new Cowboy stadium. Yes, we beat Kansas St. in the Cotten Bowl Yes there have been many other upsets, i.e. Miami, SMU Miracle Bowl, NC. HT, etc. These have all been exceptions to the rule. Since becoming an Independent, and playing 4-6 P5 teams per season, we have exposed ourselves as not being able to hang with P5 Caliber teams, and really not even with one of the best G5 teams, (Boise State). The last 7 years, we have not been able to beat Utah.

My point is to NOT put our Cougars down, but instead, try to lift them up so that they can compete vs. P5 teams. I have been crying. yelling, and having temper tantrums to spend the money to get the better and more experienced coaches. Finally we did spend some money and got our new OC who was great as a line coach for LSU, but seems to be doing very well for us as a OC. We also spent the money to get him some decent, not experienced assisstants at the P5 level, but great at the FCS and G5 level. Hopefully that greatness will evolved to work well for us. While we have made a great improvement, we have a long way to go in improving our coaching staff. I do expect us to win at least one of our P5 games this season vs either Arizona or Cal. I still expect us to lose vs. Wisconsin, Washington, and Utah. I have high hopes, but see the game vs Boise State as 50/50. For me, in the theme of things, the other games just don’t count in helping us become recognized as an Independent P5 team.

I realize what you are saying, and the coaching changes were needed. But I don’t think things are as bleak as some people assert. BTW, we also beat Nebraska in 2016, and we have certainly hung with better teams in recent years (being at least competitive), except for last year – that was just awful. But we have also scheduled some of the BETTER P5 teams, such as LSU, Michigan State, UCLA, Wisconsin, Washington, etc. We could have scheduled P5 teams near the bottom of their conferences – Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Rutgers, etc., but we haven’t, so perhaps we ought to look at the P5 records of our opponents instead of straight WL record.

BTW, I think last year was a complete aberration, and while I could be wrong, I suspect that this year will be more like 2015-2016. We probably lose to Wisconsin and Washington (then again, we thought the same about @Michigan State in 2016). And I think the others are probably coin flips – Arizona, Cal, Boise, Utah. We have never beaten Utah early in the season. We do a lot better late in the season. I think the biggest problem this year is that we play most of our tough games on the road, and winning those is just very tough.

Several key areas are unique for BYU and they need to take advantage of them and I believe the current staff knows what those areas are. It is difficult for BYU to recruit 5 star running backs and wide receivers on offense. It is likewise difficult to recruit 5 star defensive linemen and defensive backs. The reason why is that they are somewhat limited and the demand is high. It is a different story with the offensive line. Great offensive linemen with the right physical attributes can be developed and coached to dominate. They can make good running backs great and give a quarterback an extra fraction of a second to find open receivers. It used to be that quarterbacks didn’t really need to be great athletes, but that has changed through the years to some extent, although I don’t think you would consider Brady and Manning to be great athletes, but instead great throwers and a great understanding of football. In college the ability to escape pressure is a great asset, but you have to understand when to throw and when to run. BYU has consistently had receivers that lacked blazing speed, but had glue on their fingers and the ability to find soft spots in zone coverages and great moves to free themselves open on fly patterns. This has been lacking the last couple of years, lots of drops and the inability to create space. Teams tend to play them head up with physical db’s. Defensively, I believe BYU will continue to struggle until they become more unpredictable. This was a strength of Mendenhall, that I find lacking in the current system. BYU has normally been strong at linebacker which helped the DL and the secondary. The current db’s should do well if the front 6 or 7 can be disruptive and explosive. Unfortunately I am a bit concerned in this area and consider it BYU’s Achilles Heal for the coming year. I was a little disappointed they didn’t go out and find a new DC but realized that Sitake probably would focus the blame on the offense, which was obvious, but I considered the defense just as culpable. Grimes obviously understands what will turn the ship on offense, so that is a step in the right direction, although the qb decision will be an interesting one. Thrower that is not athletic or athlete that can run, but perhaps not throw or manage the games as well. Interesting decision in store. I might redshirt Wilson and plan on him being the future for BYU and go with one of the other three as this next year, BYU will be fortunate to break even. Finally, BYU fans should be patient and consider a bowl eligible season as being a good year.

BSU game is more like 40/60-the Utah game is maybe 50/50. Break even is a good year for BYU.