By Nate Slack
A few days ago I saw some tweets that have been going through my head since then. To briefly summarize what was being said, it seems that many Cougar fans are worried about the comments made by Bronco regarding hard-working players deserving and receiving more playing time than more talented players. This worries me for a few reasons.
For one, a head coach’s primary responsibility should be to win football games. In order to do that, the players with the most talent and with the highest chance at success should be playing. The patience of BYU fans regarding this problem is growing thin and, as a result, have had fans calling for coaches to be fired. This should never happen, ESPECIALLY at a school that has had as much success lately as some of the “powerhouse” schools around the country.
For all the people thinking I am only talking about the quarterback situation, I believe it goes deeper than that. Let me present a few examples that I see as evidence of this reoccurring theme.
Kaneakua Friel was incredible against Washington State racking up 101 yards on 6 receptions with 2 touchdowns. But as the season progressed, he seemed to be dropping the ball more and more. Despite the woes Friel presented, he still seemed to register more playing time than most fans probably would have suggested. I think guys like Devin Mahina (who has only recorded 7 receptions for 90 yards and 2 touchdowns so far on the season) would’ve presented a nice little duo with Friel like fans have seen in the past with Harline and Coats, and Pitta and George.
Ezekial Ansah has gained national recognition through the course of the season and there’s a good chance he would not have had a chance to play as much if an injury hadn’t occurred. It’s hard for me as a fan to truly say that Ziggy wasn’t good enough to play significant minutes to start out the season and even the tail end of last season. As if being 6’7 and having a vertical of 39″ wasn’t enough already, running a 4.5 40-yard dash only puts icing on the cake. And to think Bronco allegedly discouraged Ziggy from walking on? I believe I speak for a large number of people when I say that I’m struggling with that.
But above all, I’m worried about the future of recruiting.
If you were a 5 star player coming out of high school, how realistic are BYU’s chances of getting you in the first place? When the likes of Alabama, Oklahoma, even Boise State start targeting you, does a 7-5 BYU team sound very appealing? Now throw in the fact that you may not even see the field, simply because there are others on the team that show more “grit” than you do.
Many things have me worried for future recruits. I’m not sure if we’ll land Brayden Kearsley, a verbal commit from Oregon, because of the issues at hand. (Kearsley is a 4 star recruit and ranked the number 15 Offensive Guard for the class of 2013).
Whether or not you’ll admit it, the football program is struggling right now. Close games BYU always used to win are now being lost. 10 win seasons have become 6 to 7 win seasons. And now fan loyalty seems to be at the lowest it’s been since the Crowton era.
Where do you begin to fix the issues at hand?