PROVO — Call it a sign of the times.
New BYU football coach Gary Crowton and his Cougars will discontinue a longtime tradition of attending the Big Five Huddle in Salt Lake City. Instead, BYU will host its own weekly media event during the 2001 season.
As far as Crowton and school administrators are concerned, the drawbacks of participating in the Big Five Huddle — which has been held on Tuesdays and has included coaches and players from the five in-state football programs — outweigh the benefits.
"Gary's real big on preparation," said BYU associate athletic director Duff Tittle, "and Tuesday is the day we're putting the game plan together. When Gary came in as our coach, it was an immediate red flag for him."
Unlike his predecessor, LaVell Edwards, Crowton employs a hands-on coaching style that will require him to remain on campus as much as possible during the week. In fact, Crowton will call most of the offensive plays this season.
"Gary's main focus is winning football games and he feels this decision will help us do that," Tittle said.
In the past, Cougar players who attended the Big Five Huddle spent about four hours away from campus — commuting to Salt Lake, eating lunch and being interviewed by members of the media. Often players had to miss classes and arrived late for team meetings.
In lieu of the Big Five Huddle, BYU will have its own media get-together on Wednesdays in Provo.
Tittle is quick to point out that the decision to pull out of the Big Five Huddle was not made hastily.
"It had been talked about as far back as three years ago," he said. "It was becoming harder and harder to get up to Salt Lake every week. The last two or three months we discussed the situation. We did a good job of exhausting every option."
Crowton, like Edwards, will have a show on KSL television and will be part of KSL radio's postgame coverage.