DESPITE A COMMENT made in Laramie this past Saturday, LaVell Edwards isn't any closer to a personal decision on when he will retire than he was 21 years ago when he first took over as BYU's football coach.
Edwards did say to Wyoming coach Joe Tiller before Saturday's BYU-Wyoming game that this could be his last visit to Laramie. But the coach says it was an off-the-cuff comment.Wishful thinking, perhaps?
"We were out there warming up and I was talking to Joe Tiller," says Edwards. "He was talking about us (BYU and Wyoming) not playing for the next couple of years and we wouldn't play in Laramie again until 1996. He said, `I'm not suggesting anything, but this might be your last trip to Laramie.' I thought, well, yeah, 1996 is a long way away. That's how that all came about. After I said it I thought, oh-oh, that will probably come back at me.
"I've really never thought much about it (retiring). Everybody keeps bringing up 200 victories (he has 187) and I've never thought much about that either. I have a lot of hope for the future. We have a lot of young kids."
Edwards, who just turned 62, did make a non-retirement statement of sorts last year when he told the 1991 recruiting class that he'd be with them for their four years of eligibility. That would take him through the 1994 season at least.
WHAT, HE WORRIES: The Delta Center is virtually sold out for its second straight season, John Stockton and Karl Malone are wearing Olympic gold medals, Stockton has a new backup at point guard, and most experts are predicting that the Utah Jazz will win the West. But that doesn't mean Jazz owner Larry Miller can't worry anyway.
Here are the owner's top three worries for the upcoming season: "One," says Miller, "is Mark Eaton's health. Two, If Jay Humphries can fit into a three-guard rotation a la Detroit in their championship years. And then Three, the rotation of (Tyrone) Corbin and (David) Benoit at the small forward spot. We're strong at power forward and both guard positions. If we can sustain at small forward, it's awful tough to guard four positions in the NBA."
"I think those are all essentials for us," says Miller. "To me, the question isn't so much how much better we are, but did we stay even? Because doggone it, the West is getting tougher."
HAPPY COACH: One thing Miller doesn't have to worry about is whether his head coach is happy. After Jerry Sloan got his reported $150,000 unsolicited pay raise last week, Sloan had nothing but praise for his employer.
"I'm not a money man and never have been," said Sloan. "I didn't go to them. They came to me. But this organization has always been like that. They take care of their people. They do it when things aren't going so well and they do it when things are going well."
FEWER TURNOVERS: Utah State's football stock continues to rise. Not only do the Aggies have two wins in their last three games, both over programs with winning records (New Mexico State and Kansas State), but time is telling that their 49-3 thrashing on opening weekend to a University of Arizona team that went 3-8 a year ago may not have been all that disastrous.
Arizona has since made a legitimate challenge for the national title - with a one-point loss to Miami and a big win this past weekend over No. 8-ranked Stanford.
"We knew defensively Arizona was great when we played them," says Aggie head coach Charlie Weatherbie. "We weren't real impressed with their offense. But it's gotten better and they've become a very good football team.
"What I remember about that game," says Weatherbie, "is walking away from Tucson thinking we could have beaten them if we don't turn the ball over. We had six turnovers in that game. We actually did a good job defensively but we shot ourselves in the foot. Lately we've stopped doing that. We created five turnovers Saturday (in the win over Kansas State) and we only fumbled twice. So we're taking advantage of those things."
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: BYU coach LaVell Edwards on the Cougars' first-ever visit to Notre Dame this Saturday: "I'm really looking forward to it. I can remember when Ronald Reagan played George Gipp. Now we can go back and see the ghost of either Ronald Reagan or George Gipp."