We simply don’t have enough talent on D. We have a bunch of walkons and 2 stars against highly recruited offensive players. We simply DO NOT HAVE THE TALENT ON DEFENSE TO PLAY STRAIGHT UP. When undermanned, the way to counter that is to be aggressive, unpredictable, and to overwhelm your opponent schematically (see LaVell Edwards and Bronco Mendenhall).
Instead our answer for SIX STRAIGHT GAMES and frankly for 6 years has been to retreat farther and farther from the LOS, culminating in the debacle we saw last week when we had safeties playing 15-20 yards off the ball against a team that was running for 300 yards and didn’t pressure much less sack a QB who came in completing a terrible 50% of his passes.
This Sports Illustrated article is SHOCKINGLY REVEALING about Kalani, Lamb, and Tuiaki’s philosophy recruiting defensive players.
BYU’s football coaches constantly talk down the “star” system for recruits. I think that maybe, just MAYBE, Alabama and Georgia are good because they have 4+ star recruits instead of walkons and guys whose only offers are from BYU and FCS schools. Just sayin’…From the SI article about BYU this season:
“Just 35% of those [defensive] reps have come from players that held at least one competing P5 offer out of high school. 51% of the reps were played by guys that held a competing FBS offer coming out of high school. How does that compare that the offense? 56% of offensive reps have come from guys who held P5 offers out of high school and 78% from players who held FBS offers.”
Only half our defensive snaps are by a guy who even was recruited by an FBS school (vs 80% of our offensive snaps)–much less a P5 offer. THIS IS AFTER 7 YEARS OF KALANI AND LAMB AND TUIAKI’S RECRUITING. This is not a one year problem. This is a strategic, schematic, and institutional (within the football program) problem. IT IS A COACHING PROBLEM, since a D1 coach’s #1 job is to get good players. Say what you want about Bronco Mendenhall, but his last team had at least 7 defensive players who earned an NFL paycheck (F. Warner, Takitaki, Langi, Davis, Lake, T. Warner, C. Kaufusi, and all but Davis were highly recruited out of HS). Kalani and Lamb and Tuiaki have been recruiting defense for 7 years–do you see even ONE of our defensive players who will get an NFL check? Batty? Nelson? Pili? All need question marks. After 7 years of this staff we don’t have a single guy on our D who is a shoein to even make a practice squad. My conclusion is that Kalani’s gamble on signing unrecruited players has been a giant failure. Against average competition.
Year after year we have seen non P5 programs play keepaway and walk all over over BYU’s defense–S Florida, Hawaii, Coastal Carolina, UAB, Wyoming and Utah State right off the top of my mind–this is not a 2022 problem. It’s a recruiting philosophy made worse by a passive schematic strategy.
No matter what happens vs ECU, the very fact that we doubt we can be competitive against the Libertys and ECUs of the world suggest that we could be an absolute doormat in the Big 12.