Two more days, hang in there...
The 2012 season kicks off in Provo about 55 or so hours from now and everything is starting to come together. Amieable and I got our tickets in the mail, our car flags are ready to fly all the way down I-84, the DVR is set to record the game for review and analysis later and we are at least half way through the process of selecting our gameday crimson attire. Right now the forecast looks like this:
Partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low of 61F. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
So emergency the poncho is ready. Besides being completely unable to concentrate on anything, here is how I’m feeling heading into our season opener....
A neutral observer would have a hard time deciding which guy to root for on Thursday.
Something that is not talked about enough is that this game presents an exciting QB matchup. Both Jeff Tuel and Riley Nelson have overcome a lot to be where they will be on Thursday night. At the end of the day, both really deserve to be rewarded with great seasons this year. We are all familiar with Jeff Tuel’s odyssey of taking the reigns of a team in the depths of a long and difficult rebuild, then suffering through a frustrating series of injuries just when his team finally seemed poised for a breakthrough. It is a career that has been cruel at best. But BYU’s Riley Nelson is no stranger to struggle and perseverance himself, and Ivan Maisel gives this great account of his dramatic ascension to QB1 including a voluntary stint on special teams. Bottom line, the QB lining up across from us this week is a gamer.
Now, in other news...
Custer before the Little Big Horn, “They’re a tough opponent, but I’m pretty confident that we’re ready for whatever they’ll throw at us. We won’t be needing our Gatling guns.”
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that the BYU team we are playing this week is hugely overconfident. In fact, they can barely hide it. There have been some little quips here and there including some comments by coach Mendenhall that look much worse when removed from their context, but then this article emerged on Scout and from my vantage point it has some whoppers in it.
Marcus Matthews is pretty sure BYU has got this one in the bag.
Lets start with the premise that we are trying to mimic what BYU does on defense. That’s right, BYU is now where other teams go to get their inspiration for how to play D. Take it away Marcus Mathews (Jr. TE)...
“They try and mimic what we do. I don’t know if that’s intentional but they try and run our defense”.
There is a lot of hilarity in this quote, but what strikes me the most is there is no way this kid came up with this on his own. This has to be some sort of message his coaches have been pushing in practice.
Oh, but Mr. Mathews didn’t stop there. He went on to pontificate that, “I think our offense is going to be really used to what they bring to the field. I do expect their defense to be good, but at the same time I’m confident that our defense is going to be 10 times better than theirs.”
“10 times better”!!?? So let me get this straight, he expects our defense to surrender between 250 to 350 points per game, give up around 1500 yards on the ground, per game, and surrender about 2500 to 3000 yards, per game, through the air? What does he think this is, 2008? The crazy thing is you can almost be certain he was sober when he made those remarks. I think the proverbial “bulletin board material” is overrated in sports, but if you wanted some, there it is.
Not just the quotes coming out of Provo, but the relaxed nature of their workouts, foregoing contact most of Fall camp as if they are using our game as a full contact scrimmage to ready the boys for Boise State... all add up to strong perception of overconfidence. I can’t help conjuring this image of the arrogant English general in Braveheart chuckling with his officers before a battle with William Wallaces blue faced Scotts, that no Army had stood up to a charge of heavy horse in hundreds of years. Minutes later his horses were smashed against the Scottish pikes and he lost his head to Wallace’s sword. I really don’t think BYU expects to be challenged by us on Thursday, and I hope while they are stocking their fridges with Mountain Dew for Thursday night's victory party, Mike Leach has his troops sharpening their pikes.