The BYU defensive performance in Saturday night's 13-12 victory over Hawaii was, no doubt, impressive.
But before fans begin comparing the '94 Cougars to the '85 Chicago Bears - or even to some of the outstanding defenses of the early 80s at BYU - it should be noted that Hawaii's offense may be suspect, at best.The Rainbows had just two starters back from last year's offense. Two of the 'Bows starting offensive linemen were freshmen, as were several other players.
Hawaii coaches and players said their problems offensively contributed more to the lackluster performance than BYU's defense.
"I was hoping we'd have a semblance of a running game, but the fact that we couldn't (run) really hurt," Hawaii offensive coordinator Paul Johnson said. "We also couldn't protect our quarterback. That's what happens when you have a lot of new starters and a lot of freshmen."
"I'm very disappointed and upset at myself," quarterback Rodney Glover said. "I didn't make the proper reads. I didn't get the job done."
ADD DEFENSE: Hawaii, unlike many other teams, has had difficulty with San Diego State's defense the past few years. The Rainbows have dropped the past four games to the Aztecs.
After Saturday's BYU game, Hawaii coach Bob Wagner said much of the Cougar defensive package had similarities to what SDSU had been doing against them the past few seasons.
Perhaps by no coincidence, new BYU secondary coach Barry Lamb used to be the defensive coordinator at SDSU.
SORE SPOTS: BYU's most experienced receiver, Bryce Doman, watched the game in street clothes due to a sprained knee he suffered in practice last week. He's expected to be back for Saturday's game at Air Force.
Safety Jack Damuni, who intercepted a first-quarter pass, left the Hawaii game shortly thereafter with a bruised left shoulder. Left guard Tim Hanshaw suffered a dislocated left shoulder, while special teams player T.D. Biegel pulled a hamstring.
KEEP YOUR HEAD UP: While blocking on the opening kickoff return against Hawaii, fullback Hema Heimuli sustained cuts on two of his fingers. BYU coach LaVell Edwards figured that had something to do with Heimuli fumbling the football three out of the the nine times he carried the ball Saturday night.
Even though nine Hawaii points, and likely several fan heart attacks, followed Heimuli's fumbles, the junior is not in the Cougars' doghouse.
"Hema just needs to shake it off," Edwards said. "He's too good of a football player to let it bother him. I don't have any less confidence in him now."
NUMBERS DEPT. The 25 combined points scored were the fewest in a BYU game since 1986 when the Cougars beat the Rainbows in Hawaii 10-7 . . . The Cougs were scoreless in the first half, but avoided the shutout with a pair of second half TDs. BYU hasn't been shutout for 237 games. The last time the Cougars failed to score was a 20-0 loss to Arizona State in 1975. . . . Hawaii sacked BYU quarterback John Walsh six times for minus 34 yards . . . BYU has beaten Saturday's opponent, Air Force, 11 straight seasons.