Dick Harmon: Breaking down BYU's historic losing streaks and how QB play has been common denominator

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  • K&RGUY San Francisco, CA
    Oct. 10, 2017 1:51 p.m.

    Seems like most of the blame is being placed on the offense. What about the defense? The BYU defense was feared for its hard hitting style in recent years. I remember watching the early games last year and we would all yell "Pau'U" each time Butch laid a hit on someone. You could hear the pop easily through the television. I am not hearing many pops from any of our defenders this year. Hate to say it, but this defense seems far softer than what we have been used to in recent years. I expected a Sitake defense to hit harder and play meaner than what we have seen this year. Everyone gave Mendenhall a hard time for his firesides and football as a 5th priority but his defenders always brought the wood and made good use of it during the ballgames. Not sure the same can be said for the current group.

  • Logicum Richland, WA
    Oct. 10, 2017 12:04 p.m.

    Dick Harmon has analyzed the issues precisely; he is a great sports writer. BYU is a great institution, and the players there are fortunate to be part of the team. BYU has great talent and tradition. The offense just needs to click together better by giving the quarterback the freedom to perform up to the level of his capability, and BYU will pull off some exciting wins.

  • Scores Idaho Falls, ID
    Oct. 10, 2017 11:44 a.m.

    In football, it's all about the quarterback. In baseball, it's all about the pitcher. You already have the pieces in place around them, so those players have to perform. If a pitcher is having a bad day, you replace him. It seems like a quarterback stays in as long as he can still walk or crawl on the field. Remember when Gifford Nielsen saw the field for the first time? He was like the third quarterback to get in that game, I believe it was against New Mexico, and the Cougars were down to the point they were not going to win that game. But, they did! Giff brought the Cougars back and from then on is was the starter. This is why you go ahead and start the young Joe and let him sling it around a bit and see what happens.

  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 11:06 a.m.

    Lesson to be learned by Dick and other sportswriters here is stop the overhype of players and coaches especially during the preseason. Based on this year's preseason overhype of the all-pro offense, receivers, big tight ends, best coaching, etc., BYU was going to the championship game. Do not confuse optimism with sensationalism.

    The bigger irony in this article is you live/win by the quarterback (the Lavell Edwards era) and you die/lose by the quarterback (everyone else).

  • Las Vegas Aggie Fish Haven, ID
    Oct. 10, 2017 10:53 a.m.

    I find the article interesting but at the end of the day BYU has had a very strong run since the arrival of LaVell Edwards. Schools go through cycles In the 50's and 60's, the Aggies were pretty good, but the landscape changed for the Aggies fell on hard times. BYU had a very good run for several decades then the landscape changed and now they are falling on hard times. The U was never been very good until Urban Meyer's showed up, Kyle has continued the streak and it looks like the U's run will last for 5 or 6 more years or until Kyle retie's. I would except the landscape will change again and who know's what football will look like in the start of Utah ten years from now. I think this is more about players than finding a thread over decades to answer the real question "Why is BYU losing?" maybe it's just that BYU is not the same program it was under Edwards and BYU is on the down side of the cycle. BYU needs a conference before I will get better and the BIg 12 is not interested. What we can expect from BYU is a 6 win and 6 loss team going forward.

  • Den Den West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 10:46 a.m.

    Epic, historic losing streak!!

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Oct. 10, 2017 10:00 a.m.

    @sg and Hobo - I guess they should de-escalate and join a whatever the football equivalent to the WCC is. Then they could win every game and a national championship since they have a playoff system. Thrilling games like North Dakota State and Montana will bring back the old Skyline Conference flavor.

    Last I looked, there are a lot of P5 teams that never win a thing. Lets see: Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Iowa, Illinois, etc. So far, Utah is one of those teams. Maybe a conference made up of those perennial also-rans would be a good deal. Clump the big money football factories into the College Football Major League, consisting of, say, 20 teams, playing nationally, with salaried players. The rest go back to actual college football with cheerleaders and stuff.

  • older than dirt Mapleton, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 9:41 a.m.

    Thank goodness many of these fans are not coaching the team! Five losses and the situation is impossible. Off with all of their heads - coaches, players, and Dick Harmon!

    Dick, your main point is right on. On a team where the passing game is THE competitive edge, revolving quarterbacks are a disaster.

    Look a little deeper and you will find the real weakness right now is our offensive line. Despite all the preseason optimism, the OL can't match up with top talent on the other side. Quarterbacks have to run for their lives and running backs have too few holes to run through. The OL hasn't been up to the task since Roger French retired.

    One historical correction: Dave Coon was not the third quarterback in 1970. Dave was a very fine running back. The quarterback was Dave Terry. I know because I worked closely with the athletic department in those days.

  • search diligently Lehi, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 9:19 a.m.

    Four things:
    1) BYU needs to recruit better (which will be tough after this season)
    2) Tanner Mangum is not the man for QB. Anyone who pays the least amount of attention will see his whole body language shows fear of being in the game; that and confusion. Come on coaches, note the obvious
    3) BYU should not only train... but USE.. more than on QB in all games. This means we don't die when one QB goes down, plus it confuses the opponents
    4) BYU should let the QB, if he is really good enough to be QB, make more calls and plays himself. Trust the guy to do the right thing. Give him pointers and discuss the calls he makes with him but let him be the man in charge. Come on Ty

  • Caddis Terry, MT
    Oct. 10, 2017 7:50 a.m.

    I've got not much to do this morning so am reading the sports page. Just one comment. Tanner was in a tough spot. He was taped so thoroughly by necessity that he was hopping around when under pressure. The kid is game. He has a really good arm. Yeah, he through two picks but its amazing to me that he wasn't killed out there. I feel kind of bad for him this morning. I think with all he had to deal with he did fine. Really, it is unfortunate that we needed to play an injured kid to start with. Thank you Tanner. You are awesome.

  • Crazy in California Acampo, CA
    Oct. 10, 2017 7:25 a.m.

    When BYU's best players get dinged up the coaches must scramble to find solutions. This will likely always be the case because we are not going to have deep rosters.

    The players must be quick studies, adjust and learn complicated schemes quickly, if they can't, we are in trouble.

    Keep the coaches, they are worth the loyalty and patience.

  • london_josh lincoln, CA
    Oct. 10, 2017 5:00 a.m.

    What rediculous comments.

    BYU has had better recruiting the last 2 years than before that, they are recruiting the types of players that the coaches wanted to recruit and the coaching staff need at least another mulligan year before we call for their heads.

    We the fans demanded something better than historic BYU under Mendenhall, and while we might be seeing a disaster we also might be seeing changes starting - most coaches go through a transitioning period to enact the changes.

    If you guys are fans, be fans.

    If you are trolls quit kicking a team when it's down, look at Utah transitioning into the PAC, and keep in mind that Utah might not end this season well either as Utah is also promising transition that hasn't quite caught on yet.

    I'll still cheer for BYU, I think the coaches will transition to a better level given more time, probably 2019 unfortunately, but I'll live beyond that most likely so bring the improvements on.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Oct. 9, 2017 10:12 p.m.

    Quarterbacks get most of the glory when things go well and most of the blame when they don’t. Sometimes the fall from grace can be pretty tough. Fans had high hopes for Jake Heaps. When he failed to deliver they had no use for him. I fear the same thing may happen to Tanner.

  • estreetshuffle Window Rock, AZ
    Oct. 9, 2017 9:56 p.m.

    Lavell Edwards was realistic. His realistic goal was conference championships. It seems like he already knew the recruiting limitations. BYU should follow his lead and set realistic goals and help the players feel success along with their studies.

  • sg newhall, CA
    Oct. 9, 2017 8:15 p.m.

    Bottom line. BYU stinks! All the QBs stink! The OC stinks! The head coach should never have been hired. He's way over his head. Sure he can be the rah rah rah kind of guy, but that doesn't win games. In fact, it's time to review all the coaches and re-evaluate their effectiveness. BYU football has become BYU / Hawaii. The front line might be big, but slow. There is no running game and the QBs are horrible. Why in the world does BYU believe that a Mormon coach is essential to the program? I don't think so. Please, for the sake of honor, fire the entire coaching staff at the end of the year and really look for someone who know what he is doing. This team stinks all around! I don't care if they don't win one more game.

  • HoboA1 Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 8:00 p.m.

    Dick, you can analyze losing streaks all you want. The facts remain: 1.) BYU does not, and cannot recruit the necessary talent to be able to compete week-in and out with P-5 teams, let alone win. 2.) BYU believing it should be in the P-5 is... Silly. 3.) The athletic program should digest the humble pie and realize that a lower tier program is the future, or sports should be dropped by the school. It's that simple.