The Monday Morning Mashup–random thoughts from the busy weekend in sports:
1. Starting Travis Wilson was the right move. While some think that Utah could have won the game with Jon Hays, starting Wilson made sense. According to Utes coach Kyle Whittingham he won the job in practice. Wilson was shaky at times but he also showed enough flashes to give fans hope he can become a legit Pac-12 quarterback. It’s clear that Hays is not a Pac-12 QB. It was inevitable that Wilson would eventually get the start this season so the sooner the better. The future is now. Hays is now in the past.
2. Utah’s play calling has to be questioned. Besides calling screens on third and long or a hook-and-ladder at the goal line the biggest indictment of Brian Johnson’s play selections was running John White IV just once in the second half. Ten carries for White in the first half was a good number and if I’m not mistaken the game still was winnable with UCLA leading only 14-7. So why would Johnson not give the ball to their No. 1 offensive weapon and instead try to have your true freshman quarterback win you the game? Makes absolutely no sense.
3. The same old story for BYU. Another big game and another big loss. Besides the 2009 season opening victory over Oklahoma and a couple of wins against Utah Bronco Mendenhall coached teams have unable to win against highly ranked opponents. And as expected quarterback Riley Nelson showed once again he cannot lead you to a win over good teams. While at times in the game against Oregon State he was effective once the Beavers took the lead he showed he hadn’t changed. He took unnecessary risks and once again struggled to throw the ball down the field. As long Mendenhall sticks with Nelson, and he will because he has painted himself in a corner with his loyalty towards the senior, the Cougars will lose not only to Notre Dame Saturday but to Georgia Tech the following week as well.
4. A crack in BYU’s defense. I always wondered why teams did’t attack BYU defenses downfield. This year I somewhat understood because the corners and secondary at BYU were supposedly the best they’ve had in quite some time. I still believe that but clearly Oregon State, with a backup quarterback, exposed their inability to cover downfield. Add in the inconsistent pass rush and suddenly a defense that looked perfect all year revealed a major weakness.
5. If you live in the state of Utah you really have only one team this season that will give you consistent winning football–the Utah State Aggies. Unfortunately for USU they’re now in their WAC schedule so many local fans won’t take notice. But against a decent San Jose State team Utah State was dominant. The defense registered a school record 13 sacks that has propelled the school to third in the country in that category. While we argue that Chuckie Keeton is the best QB in the state, Kyle Fackrell is emerging as one of the better defensive players in Utah has well. His 11 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble and recovery earned him WAC defensive player of the week honors. The Aggies will now be a favorite in every game they play going forward except Louisiana Tech who just barely lost to Texas A&M over the weekend. Mark Saturday, November 19th on your calendars because that may be the best and most exciting game we see involving a Utah team all year.