PROVO — So, was this run explosion a one-game wonder for BYU's football team?
Four days after Curtis Brown and Fahu Tahi produced the bulk of 207 rushing yards in a win over Colorado State in Fort Collins, Brown said he hoped the effort wasn't a fluke. Both he and Tahi each ran for nearly 100 yards against the Rams.
In previous games, they'd accomplished almost nothing carrying the football.
The Cougars, 2-3 overall, 1-0 in the MWC, play host to UNLV (1-4, 0-1) Friday night in LaVell Edwards Stadium. The game will be televised live on ESPN2. Tickets are still available for the 8 p.m. kickoff.
"I hope it's not a one-game wonder," Brown said. "We've worked for this all season and we've looked at this (MWC play) as our second season and we wanted to get off to a great start. I think we did in that win and I hope it continues and the guys don't let up like we kind of did after the Notre Dame game when we were on cloud nine."
Brown said the Cougars are trying to work hard this week in preparation for UNLV. "Coaches have let us get our legs back with the short week and we've tried to eliminate our mental mistakes — the talent is there, we just have to prepare ourselves mentally to get the job done."
Why so long for a breakout run game?
Brown said the Cougars' offensive line needed growth. "We have a senior like Scott Young for whom this is his first year playing on the offensive line. We've got Lance Reynolds, who moved over from linebacker and others who just need experience. I think they're getting that and working hard and you saw the results this past week against CSU."
The other thing, Brown underscores, is playing Notre Dame, USC and then Stanford and Boise State on the road were tough assignments.
"Those are pretty good football teams."
Did the tough schedule hamper growth of the running game?
"I think it may have. I don't know for sure, but each one of those teams brought something different, a change in flavor or style to what we had to face. We learned from each one and now I think our offensive line has seen about everything they're going to see and can use that to their advantage."
Now the task is to defeat UNLV and begin league play 2-0, according to Brown.
"They are a good team. We cannot underestimate them in any way and we've got to prepare hard this week," Brown said.
The Rebels and Cougars were tied for fifth in the MWC preseason poll. The two teams were picked to finish ahead of Wyoming and Air Force. That poll ranked Utah first — which has held up so far — with CSU second, followed by San Diego State and New Mexico.
COUGAR NOTES: The 14 points scored in the third quarter at Boise State are tied for the most in the league and it is a second-half trend that continued last Saturday with 14 fourth-quarter points at CSU.
BECKONED BOMBS: Crowton said quarterback John Beck throws the deep ball better than anybody he's coached in his career. "He will continue to get better as he gains experience and works on timing with his receivers," Crowton said. "John has the best deep arm I've ever been around." Crowton said he didn't want Beck to throw deep just to Todd Watkins. "I think you saw that in this last game when he noticed CSU's safety roll toward helping cover Watkins and John turn and hit Austin Collie for a touchdown. I think, however, if he'd gone to Todd, he would have also scored because he had beaten the safety and was also open."
WEARING SHELLS: More than any time in Crowton's tenure, the Cougars are practicing in light gear, going with shells (helmets and shoulder pads), or just helmets, jerseys and shorts without any pads. Crowton said he has adjusted his workouts to deal with different game schedules which include Friday night games.
Curtis Brown said practicing light is different but he finds it OK because BYU's problems haven't been with being physical but rather making mental mistakes that are being corrected in light workouts with timing and placement. Ben Cahoon, MVP of the Canadian Football League, told equipment manager Mick Hill, Montreal never wore pads in practice once two-a-days were finished in summer camp.