Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thoughts on the Las Vegas Bowl

I don't feel too badly about my prediction for how UCLA's offense would fare, other than Kai Forbath is even better than I thought. I was indeed aware that he was a fine kicker, but he was frankly nothing short of spectacular in this game--the last (blocked) kick notwithstanding. That block was all about the determination of the Cougar defense to preserve the win.

UCLA did not score a touchdown that they earned. When BYU got the ball with a few seconds on the clock before halftime, I said, "They'll take a knee and head into the locker room." Why one would EVER consider running a play when the possibility of scoring before the half is infinitesimal defies comprehension. What a different game it might have been without that gift to the Bruins.

BYU got to 17 points faster than I expected. I then anticipated that they would end up with 30 or more points because I believed the offense would get better as the game went on. Who knew that they would go scoreless in the second half--or that they would win the game while doing so?

I was very disappointed in the offensive output. I also based my prediction for a strong running game on the view that the offensive line had measurably improved since the previous meeting with UCLA. Yet this game was frankly won instead primarily because Max Hall had improved in the interim. I was amazed to see UCLA's defensive front consistently wreak havoc with the Cougar offense. I thought that the offensive line would at least hold its own against them, but that was not to be. Likely correlated with that was Robert Anae's seeming lack of confidence in utilizing the running game as an integral component of the game plan. The offense's one-dimensionality played right into the hands of UCLA. It was also readily apparent what kind of play was coming when Hall called audibles; a tightening of the gaps between lineman meant a run was coming, and a widening of gaps indicated a pass. More needs to be done to keep an opposing defensive coach, especially one as good as DeWayne Walker, guessing.

The last thing I did not foresee was BYU being able to block a kick with a game on the line. Coach Mendenhall, however, said he could see that in his players' eyes. That, it goes without saying, is a good thing. Cougar football is in very good shape indeed when its players believe they will find a way to win. The value of such a belief cannot be underestimated with regard to the success of the program going forward.


Seth said...

Nice post. I submitted this article to Good thing BYU pulled out the win or that horrible call at the end of the first half would receive even more scrutiny.

The Passionate Cougar said...

Thank you. I have added the RSS feed to my Google Reader. And, yes, Coach Anae would be taking a great deal more heat for that call if not for that amazing defensive effort to seal the win.