Monday, January 21, 2008

The state of BYU Football

I have to say that I am "well pleased" with the state of BYU football right now. I suffered through mediocrity during my years there, save for the 2001 season. So naturally I am very excited that Bronco has proven to be the perfect man for the job to restore BYU Football to greatness. BYU has had two very solid 11-2 seasons back to back, and they've given us a lot of dramatic and exciting highlights. More importantly, they've won two back to back games over Utah, and two back to back bowl game wins over Pac-10 opponents. (Sara and I were there for the Oregon game-boy was that something for the kid who grew up going to the Oregon games!) Off course, it took the famous blocked kick to save us from a depressing "off-season" and keep us in position for a BCS bowl game next year, but even that has now added to BYU lore. Speaking of next year, it just got a whole lot tougher having UCLA come to Provo next year now that they've hired one of the best college football coaches in the country as their head coach (Rick Neuheisel) and former BYU offensive coordinator (and USC national championship offensive coordinator) Norm Chow. That is going to be a very, very big game--and to be honest, I'm a little worried. But for now, I'm going to enjoy both the memories AND the future possibilities. Go Cougars!


JAMIE said...

Random, espeically since the season is over. Maybe the team is just getting prepped for their best player , SETH PROBERT to finally arrive?

Sally F said...

I didn't know Norm Chow was joining the UCLA staff. Interesting. I thought he would stay in the pros unless he got a head coaching job somewhere. Maybe he's waiting for Rick N. to mess up again and hopefully take his job!

Clean Cut said...

Jamie, did you read the full post, or stop after the first sentence? It's not random when an opponent who BYU will be playing next year hires a former BYU coach. It's current news as of this week.

H-less said...

Jamie, forgive spence if that sounded mean. I can't imagine that he meant it that way. Go Cougars!

Clean Cut said...

My apologies to Jamie for exagerating a simple "random" comment into a bigger deal than it is. I hope I didn't scare you away from posting on my blog!

I always enjoy reading Dick Harmon's articles about BYU football in the Deseret News. His latest came out today:

"For nearly a quarter of a century, at the lunch break, Norm Chow, Mike King and Jim Kimmel would trot out of the Smith Fieldhouse on BYU's campus and head up Canyon Road jogging.
The Three Amigos, running in a cluster, made their way 2.5 miles to Dave's Thriftway, a grocery store in Edgemont, made a U-turn toward campus and their offices where King handled the athletic department books, Kimmel served as academic adviser and later compliance chief and Chow returned to his office downstairs from LaVell Edwards where he designed game plans for one of the most prolific passing offenses in college football.

Today, Norm Chow is 61. He'll be 62 in May and is headed for a post at UCLA as offensive coordinator, his fourth job since leaving BYU nine years ago. The other two amigos, his partners in Nikes are preparing for retirement in two months.

King and Kimmel rest; Chow goes hip-deep in Pac-10 lore. Again.

King, who speaks to Chow regularly, says he was "a little surprised" Chow took the UCLA job after leaving the Titans. "From our conversations this past year, I thought he'd do something new during fall."

But apparently, the thought of retiring, has not gripped Chow like it has the older members of the long-running, road-pounding lunch-break jog club that once included Seattle Seahawk head coach Mike Holmgren.

Chow still feels the itch, the fire.
And what better kindling to throw his way than what new UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel deftly kicked Chow's way this past week.

Chow gets a chance to coach against cross-town rival USC where he helped lift the Trojans to national championships before things soured with Pete Carroll. USC hasn't won a title since Chow left.

Chow, who sold his home in the Provo River Bottoms near Riverwoods, has a place in Manhattan Beach near Los Angeles, where his wife Diane has put anchor since Chow took the Tennessee job. He'll be paid a couple of million left on his Titan contact through the 2009 season.

"I think the idea of working with DeWayne Walker, who he really liked at BYU and got to know over the years, was a selling point for Norm to keep it going," King said.

What does it all mean?

Well, the BYU-UCLA game next fall just got more interesting.

Chow has never made an issue of how he left Provo. But it is no secret a certain vice president promised him he would replace LaVell Edwards someday. When the time came, Edwards found out that would not be so and let Chow know that on a private trip the two took at the end of the 1999 season. Chow left Provo for North Carolina State that next spring.

Combine that with the fallout at USC with Carroll in an ego-driven scene and you can understand the unquenchable flame that burns inside the former native of Hawaii.

The hatred between USC and UCLA is long-standing. Now Chow will go against not only Carroll, but the offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, his quarterback in Provo 1995-96 whom he hired when at USC.

Twists and turns.

Plus, fixing UCLA's offense is a challenge for Chow. The talent is there. Somebody needs to prepare the clay, form a product and put it in the kiln. Who is more prepared to be that artist than Chow?

The Bruin offense simply stunk the past few years while Walker elevated the Bruin defense to national caliber play. QB injuries have played a big part of it, but the Bruins were ranked 101st out of 119 in passing last year and 92nd in the NCAA in scoring.

That will change big time in Westwood starting this spring.

Just a month ago in Las Vegas when the Cougars and Bruins were preparing to meet for the second time, Walker met with reporters and you could tell he was a little frustrated over the coach-search situation in Westwood.

The list of candidates for the job, how it was handled, the names of coaches who withdrew or turned down offers or consideration illustrated just how poor of a coaching job the UCLA situation was, somewhat surprising for a BCS school with so much tradition, albeit on the basketball side of things.

But in the course of one month, the shovel turned, the soil moved, and up cropped this UCLA football drama.

I'll bet UCLA will be one of the most delicious stories of college football in 2008.

And Norm's friends will enjoy every second of it from their rocking chairs in Provo."

Clean Cut said...

Does anybody want to speculate about who the "certain Vice-President" was/is or more importantly why they didn't want Chow?

Jenessa said...

We'll stick with the Cougs through thick and thin, eh? It's so exciting when they have a great season like they have the past 2 years. Mendenhall is amazing--all about the team as a whole. I am still grateful Whittingham didn't take the position when offered. He seems more about the big play rather than the big team. Just my thoughts. We'll get ready for UCLA. Sheer luck that we beat them in the bowl game, but hard work and discipline hasn't hurt us yet! GO BLUE! --Jae

Clean Cut said...

And just like that. 59-0, BYU over UCLA. And another blocked kick included! I didn't need to worry after all. Maybe there is something to this BCS busting run. One game at a time...