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Podcast: Can upstart Cougars hang with the nationally ranked Huskies?

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Brigham Young Cougars defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi (90) celebrates a sack on McNeese State Cowboys quarterback James Tabary (4) in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

Brigham Young Cougars defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi (90) celebrates a sack on McNeese State Cowboys quarterback James Tabary (4) in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Editor's note: The following is a transcript of the eighth episode of Cougar Insiders — a podcast from Deseret News writers Dick Harmon, Jeff Call and Brandon Gurney. It's been edited for clarity.

Dick Harmon: On this episode of Cougar Insiders podcast, we're going to break down this Washington Husky game with BYU. BYU ranked No. 20th going in there. If they defeat the Huskies, how big would this month of September become for BYU? We're going to break that down, we're going to also talk about the McNeese State victory, kind of let you know what happened, what didn't happen, get our opinion on that, and we're going to make our weekly predictions. That and more on this week's edition of Cougar Insiders podcast.

Welcome to the Cougar Insiders podcast This is Dick Harmon, columnist for the Deseret News, along with Jeff Call, longtime beat writer, and Brandon Gurney, also a beat writer who kind of excels in recruiting things and helps us and does a great job. But fellows we saw, this past Saturday, BYU win an expected victory over McNeese State. We saw them climb in the rankings, going up five spots. We're seeing now a little bit more of what we know about BYU. They are a defensive team, they are an opportunistic team that can take turnovers and turn them into points, they're a team that looks like a power running team that's trying to pass the ball. Jeff, is that what we have here?

Jeff Call: Absolutely, yeah I mean I think that's what — we kind of knew going into the season that's what Jeff Grimes wanted to do was start up front with the offensive line. Be able to have a power run game and mix in the pass, and that's been, you know, up and down. There's been some good things, but I think, you know, BYU's not averaging very many yards per completion, I mean.

DH: 4.3, 4.7 — something like that.

JC: Something like that, yeah.

DH: But they're not trying to go deep very much at all.

JC: But when they have they've missed some opportunities. Tanner actually makes some pretty good passes and it has some drops and so I think yeah this is a team that relies on defense and we saw this coming. I think we're gonna see this throughout the year because I think BYU has really good special teams. Saw Corbin Kaufusi make a huge field goal block that kind of sparked BYU's second-quarter run, and then you've got a field goal kicker who is consistent. He can make long field goals. So you add that together — I mean, BYU's winning, but they're doing it differently than, you know, ranked teams you saw from BYU in years past where they're throwing all over the field and racking up a ton of points. This is just a different way to win games.

DH: We didn't expect they were going to be 3 and 1 at this point. I think I had them at maybe 2 and 3 you know at the end of September, Brandon Gurney, but they have turned into a defensive team. They've had eight turnovers that they've gained in these games. I think that's made a huge difference in the way they play, but the other thing is, ranked No. 20? Is this the 20th-ranked team in the country? A lot of people will say no. The people are saying that they're going to go up to Washington this week and play against the Washington team favored to win the Pac-12 and BYU doesn't have a chance. Once again, this is the same song we've heard all season long, except for the McNeese State game; they don't have chance.

Brandon Gurney: Yeah, it's hard to know if anyone's equal to its ranking at this time of the year, but if you're a team — and I've heard all the qualifications about Wisconsin — they weren't up for the game, they weren't looking at BYU. You know that could have been true, but they still beat them. They still went on the road and beat the No. 6 team that had its returning quarterback, that had a lot of returning players, a team that I think is going to be one of the Big Ten's top teams. Still, BYU beat that team. So absolutely BYU is a top 25 team right now, just based on that win by itself. Arizona — they handled Arizona. McNeese was meh. That's my reaction with McNeese State, just meh, whatever, you know. Washington — every instinct I have, no this is it, they're going to meet their maker, it's over, right? Kind of what I thought going into Wisconsin. So who knows with this team? With the way BYU's been able to play, I think they're going to keep it close, just with the style. It's hard for me to believe that this team is going to just get walloped on the road just because of the nature of football that they're putting forth together. And I think that defense is absolutely legit. I think that defense is good enough that they're going to stay in games. Corbin Kaufusi is an absolute game-changer. You look at the turnovers BYU's created — I want to go back and chart them because I want to know how many of those turnovers were caused by Corbin Kaufusi. I know at least one of them against McNeese State was, yeah that 6-9 guy, he disrupts everything. It's a very significant impact and when you look at BYU winning the turnover margin, you look at playmakers like Sione Takitaki and Corbin Kaufusi and the impact they're making and that's a big, big thing.

DH: Well this is a BYU team. You look at Wisconsin, were they the sixth-rated team in the country? If you look at rankings, I think September is a little early to tell who's ranked when and where. But if you go by that guideline, if you go by the rankings and the Associated Press, which are sportscasters and writers from throughout the country, they're saying that BYU is No. 20. But it's also a team, Jeff, that is still evolving. This is a team that I think can pass the ball, but they struggled to do it for a lot of different reasons. I think that they've really concentrated on the power blocking game and the run game. It's been very effective at times, I think in the game against McNeese State they came out, they threw a big bomb to Gunner Romney, which was just fractions of an inch away from being completed. They then tried a reverse pitch to Micah Simon, who dropped the ball. They kind of came out trying to do some funny things but you could almost sense it, that Jeff Grimes says OK we've done that, we're done with it now, we're gonna punch you in the mouth and we're going to run the ball and then the game completely changed.

JC: Yeah, you're exactly right, and I think you know that second quarter we saw BYU go up-tempo. And I think that's one of the things that Grimes wants to do is to mix things up. I mean we see a ton of movement on the line before the ball is snapped, we talked about that game, noticing linemen shifting and switching spots and things like that, setting up plays, and then you throw in that up-tempo kind of approach when you've been kinda going slow and then all of a sudden you go up tempo, that really impacted McNeese State. I don't think they were necessarily ready for it, or they weren't used to it. They're kind of lulled into a certain kind of way to play and all sudden BYU sped it up and it was effective. They scored on those four drives with that kind of style.

DH: Well, Jeff Grimes was asked on Coordinators' Corner today, what's the biggest sense of urgency or thing that he thinks can happen with this offense, and it was obvious — all of us in here know it, every fan knows it. It's the passing game. It's got to become better, and he pointed that out. Here's a cut from offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes:

Jeff Grimes: Anytime you can get a victory I think you gotta celebrate that and enjoy that. Not our best performance on offense, we just had the opportunity to make some plays. And we didn't. Plays that we had practiced countless times throughout the week. The first play of the game, you know, once again, we got someone wide open for a deep ball and we're not able to complete it. A couple of other times, we had guys open and either didn't have the protection or didn't make the throw, didn't make the right read. The reverse, which was something that we've practiced for some time, and we throw a bad pitch and put the ball on the ground. We have another fumble during the game and in traffic and just some sloppy play that I don't think is indicative of who we are as an offense. But we've just had a number of opportunities in these first four games for big plays in the passing game, some that have even gone probably unseen at times, maybe there was a guy open and the protection wasn't right, so the ball never got thrown, or it didn't get thrown in the place that we would have liked for it to be thrown. So there's plenty of blame to go around. But there's no question we've got to get better at throwing the football and hopefully better at completing some deep balls. But as I reminded our team in the locker room afterwards, every Saturday there are a lot of college football games and 50 percent of those teams lose the games. And so I think anytime you win you have to celebrate that and to some extent feel like you've moved ahead, and so I was pleased that we got the victory, but really didn't feel great about how we played the game, to be honest. There's too many mistakes. I've been on the side being at a smaller team that was a smaller school that was able to beat a bigger team or play them really well and then I've been at that bigger team, that team that was perceived to be a better program and lost, or almost lost in a very close game because you didn't take the other team seriously and so I don't think that was necessarily our problem on Saturday, and we're again certainly grateful to walk away with a victory.

DH: You know, Brandon Gurney, Jeff Grimes knows exactly what this offense needs to do. He knows what the next step is and you know what, I think it's going to make that step. It may not be this week, but I think it's coming.

BG: That was the big frustrating thing for fans and for everyone else. I'm going to touch on this on the message board topic because it's the permeating topic that keeps on going — why can't BYU throw the ball? It's exactly what you said — they try to. And I think you saw Kalani Sitake express frustration with the offense. Maybe not frustration, but concern in the postgame against McNeese State, where that was a game if you're not going to be able to do that against McNeese State, where you're finding yourself down 3-0, and we're saying, yeah, Corbin Kaufusi changed that game with that play — really? That's what the offense needs to jump-start against McNeese State? That's not really where you want to be. So far it hasn't been a problem, they've been able to be what they are and that's not the focal point of this team is for the offense to put up those points. But at the same time — you can't do it against McNeese State, I do believe that game is going to come where a defense just has them pinned. Where they can't rush the ball. Maybe it will come this week, maybe against Utah down the line, you have to believe it's going to come and Tanner's going to have to make plays. And if you're not making them against McNeese State, when are you going to make them? I mean, we're four games into the year. Is it going to come? I believe Tanner's largely what he is. I don't know if we're ever going to see that guy slinging the ball downfield. I do think the wide receivers, with them being so young and developing, maybe that's going to come along, because that's been a huge problem is just these guys dropping balls, plain and simple. You saw that pass to Gunner Romney, that was a good throw. That was a ball that Gunner probably should have come down with. But still, it's a problem and I don't know, we'll see if it's alleviated. I'm not anticipating. I think BYU is what it is. I don't think we're going to see that offense.

DH: Jeff, we sat in August and kind of looked at this team. We thought we knew what we had, what we could see for the limited practices that we've had. But now we've had four games under our belt. What's been the biggest surprise or the biggest pleasant thing that's stood out to you about this season so far? We're one-fourth of the way through, 25 percent, what do we have?

JC: Well, I think one thing that's been a pleasant surprise for BYU is Squally Canada. I think there were a lot of question marks going into the season about who was going to be the featured back, and Squally was a little banged up last week, we saw Lopini Katoa come in and have a really good game, but I think Squally, he's made some big plays. I mean, that Arizona game, you could say that, you know, that end of that game where he picked up those, I mean, obviously, the offensive line had a huge role in that. But the Wisconsin game, those two 40-yard runs were huge. So looking at it, I think there's a lot of people doubting Squally going into the season. And to see him play as well as he has has been a very pleasant surprise for BYU.

DH: I was asked by some radio people on another Salt Lake City station during the spring, you know what kind of an offense is this going to be? And I kind of threw this out there and they were kind of scratching their head, I said BYU wants to be a power run team. They want to be physical at the point of the attack and they want to run and pound the ball at people. And the host, it was David James, you know who's a great host, he says well who're they gonna get to run the ball? And I said well they have Squally — he hasn't proven that yet but I think that that's what they want to do. But, Brandon Gurney, we've seen him have some tremendous runs and some big holes open up.

BG: Yeah, but with what you've seen from Lopini Katoa I think you got to just credit the offensive line. I don't know if it matters who you put behind it. That offensive line is really opening the type of holes that we haven't seen for a number of years.

DH: And (Matt) Hadley looked good. Hadley looked fast.

BG: They're making everybody look good. I think Lopini Katoa is going to be a guy you're going to see more of because Squally's having problems catching the football and that's continued to be a big part in this offensive system. You saw Squally drop what should have been an easy touchdown, and he's dropped a number of passes. Lopini Katoa has kind of proven to be that guy. And I think as the season goes on, if Lopini proves to be as adept at running as Squally has, and by and large he has been, I think we can anticipate him seeing more and more reps from Squally.

DH: Jeff, we're getting into the rest of the story segment here. Tell us something behind the scenes, something we ought to know.

JC: Well, I think one thing that's kind of been underreported or maybe overlooked a little bit is the turnovers. Last year, that was a huge problem for BYU, as we know. I think you ended up 118 in the country in turnover margin, and after Saturday's performance they got four takeaways, gave up the ball once on a fumble by Squally. They're 12th in the country, and I know it's still early in the season, but to be 12th in the country at this point is a very positive thing. The way BYU plays, they need to hold on to the ball, and secure the ball. For the most part they've done a good job. And then to be able to have takeaways is so important for this team. And they've got to have guys that can step up and make the plays and be aggressive, and we saw that, a couple picks, couple fumble recoveries, and it made me start to wonder a little bit — you know, you see this trend around the country. You've got the Miami turnover chain, think of Boise State, you've got some sort of throne and sceptre. I don't know, what do you guys think? Should BYU implement something? Should they have like a turnover Cougar tail or something like that?

BG: Oh, please no.

DH: How about Cosmo's head that pops off?

JC: Put it on, put on the head? Yeah, I like that.

DH: It's kind of gimmicky, those things, but you're right. There ought to be something. I mean, this is a team that had 17 takeaways last year. Seventeen. They've got eight in four games. I mean, that's a big huge increase in what they do. Brandon Gurney, the cyberspace is out there, there are a lot of things that are going on. Tanner Mangum still finds himself right in the crosshairs every week, whether he does good or not. They're 3-1, they're ranked, but still the guy doesn't buy a lot of respect from some corners. But I think people are beginning to realize he's a game manager. They've turned him into a game manager. Don't make mistakes. Don't throw interceptions. Don't turn the ball over. Keep drives alive. Let's win ballgames. It may be ugly. It may not be 50-14 or something like that. But they're getting the job done.

BG: Yeah, I tried to do some crack research and scour the message boards — that's all people want to talk about. The BYU masochist tendency, it's still not gone. Fans like to complain, but it's kind of a justifiable thing. You want to see guys, and what I touched on before — you can't do it against McNeese State, who're you going to do it from? But I have to give credit to our editor, Kent Condon, great guy. You know, he brought up all the angst when (Ken) Niumatololo was looking to be a real possibility, BYU's no, we don't want to do the option and all that. What's BYU running right now? It's kind of an inverse option attack. It's a very plain, system-oriented, kind of boring — can I say that — attack that just relies on reads. Tanner Mangum is kind of an option quarterback, with what's been described and all that, he's doing a lot of his reads based on movements up front, a lot of kind of read options with the sprint-out handoff to the wide receivers and all that. And you're seeing why he won that quarterback job. And what do we hear every week? He's doing things that you guys don't realize he's doing. And I completely buy that. I absolutely buy that. Because you look at the productivity — when does BYU run that fly sweep where it's just like, oh, wow they were ready for that? Doesn't happen very often — at least it hasn't. Maybe will happen more and more as the tendencies become more and more exploited by opposing defenses, by capable defenses, Washington, Utah. But. …

DH: You want the fly sweep to work, but it's designed to spread those linebackers and defensive ends out a little bit and to force them to have to be running and run and run and run and have to cover that, and then you hit him with Squally Canada and some other things. So by design, Norm Chow once said to me, we were talking to him — they used to run the toss sweep, where they would throw to the backs out in the backfield just right behind the line of scrimmage, a little outlet safety block pass. And he said the reason we do that is to spread them from sideline to sideline so that we can do the things we want to do. A lot of times it wouldn't work but they had to cover it, they had to move, they had to be in position, and those linebacker alignments get tired of doing that after a while, they get tired of having to cover — it's kind of the philosophy of a Navy, it's kind of a philosophy of an Air Force is that you force people to do things they don't want to do, get them out of the comfort zone, then you hit him with something else. Kind of a punch, counterpunch thing. But it doesn't have to always get yards. Let's go to the recruiting trail. Brandon Gurney, what did you see this weekend? You were spread all over the place.

BG: Yeah, I was able to cover Timpview-Corner Canyon and I was able to see — not just this game, but I've been able to see a lot of the young recruits, and what's interesting is I've seen a lot of guys that BYU's offered maybe two or three years ago. And it's interesting to me to see how these kids, some of them pan out, some of them don't. And my first inclination is, why are you offering these kids so early? Because there's so many unknowns. But when you offer any kid there's an unknown, right? What are your thoughts, Dick, about offering a kid in eighth grade just based on potential? What can that potentially do to a kid? What are the benefits? And what are the pitfalls?

DH: Well, I think BYU has to do that because they've been criticized for a long, long time of not getting on kids and missing kids and parents come back and they're complaining, so I think there's been a concerted effort to get to these kids, get them recognized, get them an offer, at least be in their home and show their parents they care. BYU kind of has to do that because when they don't they really pay for it in criticism. On the other hand, you're right. You start giving a kid a little bit of love like that and it goes to their head, sometimes they do not work out hard and they don't perform and they think they've got it made and then you've got a situation on your hand like, now what are we going to do? And there's been cases that that's happened. But BYU is in a unique situation with the church, with the relationships they have with people, that they've got to connect with them early and sometimes eighth grade can be a little too early.

BG: Yeah it's a scary thing. But every offer's a risk if you break it down. I've talked about how BYU is not in the picture with too many top recruits in-state, and we're going to see one of the top recruits in-state — (Ty) Jones — performed for Washington this weekend. BYU was never really in the picture with him. I'd like to know what kind of strides BYU's making with a lot of guys. I know they have some momentum with some guys that they haven't had before based on the Wisconsin win, and that's a natural benefit to beating Wisconsin, but I think just retaining the top guys could be significant. A guy that I think BYU has to earmark, who's kind of going to be a bellwether recruit, in my mind as far as just what BYU's done and all that, is a kid named Noah Sewell from Orem. Younger brother of Penei Sewell, he's a fantastic football player. I think he's gonna pile up the offers. His mom works for BYU, a lot of standing there. You think with what BYU has done they can get a kid like that. To me that's gonna be my bellwether recruit this year.

DH: You've got Lance Reynolds that's coaching over there. You've got Lance Reynolds Jr., who's coaching over there. I said recruiting, but they're coaching. These guys are over there coaching. These are long, legacy-type BYU coaches that have been there, and they're right there in the Orem camp. Which makes you think why don't they turn a few of these kids, because Puka Nakua, unbelievable talent. And he's going to Southern Cal. Well, let's break down this Husky game. Jeff Call, the thing about the Huskies is they are good. They are fast. They are talented, on defense especially, I think that they have some of the things that really could give BYU problems. They have a good defensive line, they can apply pressure without maybe having to come and bring a linebacker or safety or corner on a blitz. They can stop the run, they're pretty good at it. They can cover in the secondary, they can get after receivers, knock them off the routes, play man on man, do a lot of different things. But offensively, I think Utah proved that they could be pushed around a little bit by a very physical defensive line. And that's what BYU has.

JC: Yeah, that's true. I think that first week of the season we both watched that Auburn-Washington game we came away really impressed with Washington and the physical style they play with and the speed they have, and this is probably going to be BYU's toughest test of the season so far. Dealing with that speed, playing up there in Husky Stadium. We've covered games up there — it gets loud, the fans get pretty raucous. I mean, it's gonna be a very difficult challenge for this team. But you know, I think we've talked about before, we alluded to the fact that the style of play that BYU has could keep them in the game. If they don't make mistakes they could keep it close.

DH: Brandon Gurney, BYU seems to play better on the road. Jeff and I go on those road trips, we see the support that they have, we've seen a tremendous effort at Wisconsin, we saw them rise up in Arizona in the desert, and I would assume that they're going to do the same thing — I don't know if they will win this game — but they will play very hard, I believe, because they're kind of disrespected. But at home it seems like they get patted on the back, they come in the tunnel, everybody loves them, they got wife and children and babies and mothers and fathers, and they just don't simply play very well at home. Or at least they don't seem to have the same fire and passion. Is this true?

BG: It seems to be. You just look at BYU's performances recently and, yeah. McNeese State, really? What was that? You're losing 3-0 after the first quarter? Really? Did you come out to play or you're just kind of getting yourself warm in the water? I don't know, but BYU's 17-point underdogs. I think they're gonna cover that. I think they're gonna be able to keep it close. I'm by no means going to say that they're going to win this game just because Washington is the most physical team I've seen this year. I've watched quite a bit of football and I can't think of a team that's more physical. Maybe Alabama, you know your obvious answer. But Washington, they're not really a Pac-12-style team at all. You're seeing consistency with them, and I think, with BYU now being validated as a team that's quite a bit different than the 4-9 team, I don't think they're going to catch them sleeping. So I'd be hard pressed to believe that BYU's going to come out of Seattle with a win. But I've been wrong in every single game this year except for the McNeese State, I did predict a McNeese State win, yeah me. So who knows? Who knows? But I do think that they'll keep it close. I think they'll show relatively well.

DH: Well. If you're interested in picking and prognostications and guessing about games, go to Deseretnews.com and look at the GridPicks. The GridPicks is a game that we're doing, you can sign up for it, you can be a weekly winner, you can win a gift card. Just go in there. There's 14 games. I pick those games, I choose those games, I tried to include a mixture of national games and then the Pac-12 and Mountain West that seem key. Just go there. that's DeseretNews.com GridPicks.

Our final word here — it's going to be an interesting trip, Jeff. You and I will be traveling to that game. We'll be leaving on Friday. I'll leave a little earlier because I've got a daughter that lives up there and two little grandkids that want to see their papa, but I will be there. It's always great to go to Seattle. It's a great city, kind of one of the more liberal cities in America next to Cal Berkeley. There's a lot of homeless people. If you go around that town. There's tents all over the place, but it is a fan base that is very fired up. Very proud of their Huskies. They expect to win this game. I think BYU will go in there and be physical and I think when you're physical and capable of being physical, that anything can happen. If you can ugly the game down, get some turnovers. That's BYU's best chance, I think, is to get some turnovers, keep the score close in the fourth quarter, see if they can outlast them and make a couple of plays.

JC: Yeah, and like I said, Husky Stadium is a tough place to play. Has a great view, one of the best views in college football. I've been up there for that game in 1996. BYU won 14 games that year. They lost one and that was at Washington. In 2008, we were up there for that game, I think Washington ended up going winless that year, and BYU needed to have a fortuitous penalty in their favor and a blocked kick to win that game.

DH: Jan Jorgensen, right?

JC: That's right. Jan Jorgensen. And I think BYU won 10 games that year. So it's a tough place to play. But like you said, I think BYU goes to this game having confidence, knowing that they can play well on the road. They've played before hostile crowds this year already and performed well, they've got that going for them. In the end it's going to come down to can they make plays? Can they do the things that they're supposed to do to keep this game close in the fourth quarter, and if that's the case, they get it close to the fourth quarter, anything can happen. But getting to that point's going to be hard but they can do it.

DH: Your final word.

BG: I want to give props to Ed Lamb. Is there a coach that had a worse preseason than Ed Lamb? I mean, from the Critchlow comments, to the Merrill Hoge thing, whatever that was, he kind of had a bad look. There were a lot of fans that were kind of down on him, maybe some media types. But who's in charge of the special teams? Ed Lamb. They have been phenomenal this year. Every week, I grade the team. I can't think of a lower grade that's justifiable than an A. The special teams have been outstanding — coverage units, punt units, punt return, they're getting yards on punt return, which isn't a typical thing for BYU, and then the kicker — holy cow — Skyler Southam — a 45-yard or 47-yarder last week? They have very good special teams which is always a very underrated aspect of any football team, and Ed Lamb's in charge of that, and he deserves a lot of props after a kind of an unusual, an unfortunate preseason for the guy, but I think he's validated how good of a coach he is, at least in that regard, with how the BYU special teams are performing.

DH: Well final word here, let's get some predictions from you guys. Think about it, don't take a lot of time, I'm going to call on you right now, let's go with Jeff Call.

JC: I'm gonna say Washington 31-17.

BG: I'm gonna go Washington 24, BYU 10.

DH: I'll go Washington 24, BYU 17.

BG: You're more optimistic.

DH: I am always optimistic.

BG: You're such a homer, Dick.

DH: Always that, and I'm accused of that, but I'll take it. Jeff Call, you've got an email for us.

JC: Yeah it's kind of a historic day for the Cougar Insiders podcast. We got our first email, you guys to have no idea what this email says.

BG: This isn't fair because Jeff's read it so he's been prepping the whole show.

JC: So I'm gonna read this. I'm just gonna read it and let you guys react to it. So this comes in from Don Miller. He says: Enjoyed the show this week. Couple of things. One of you made reference to the developing backfield, saying they had not been exploited this year. Against Cal there were two TD passes where the coverage was so bad, the receiver was open by 10-plus yards. Let's not get carried away. Second thing, I don't know why you guys are so kind in speaking about Mangum. To have the pivotal player on our team just a game manager trying to stay hidden and not make a mistake is disgraceful; 89 yards passing when we are running well. Therefore setting up the potential passing play as play action isn't acceptable. The missed play defense on the double pass shows how much they were worried about the run. The receiver ran by all the defense and on the same side of the field. Great win, great team effort. Lots of young fellows stepped up big. Great coaching. Love, love, love the hope and fun we're having, but Tanner is a joke. Basically always has been a joke with bad mechanics not checking more than one receiver. We may be fans, but don't take us lightly. We've studied the game as long as you and while it's hard to pull a winning quarterback, let's at least get the kid in the game for when injury and or frustration forces the move. Again, from Don Miller. Dick, your reaction?

DH: Well, Don Miller, I think he probably speaks for a lot of BYU fans. If you go and hear the way people talk, they believe that Tanner should be like something else. They want to see a Steve Young, Jim McMahon. They want to see somebody do something that they've seen done. The problem with this thinking, BYU fans, is that the times have changed. Defenses have changed. These are NFL-influenced defenses that are covering with a lot of zone blitzes and things like that, but you're not wrong in this aspect. It's not too much to ask that BYU find quarterbacks that can deliver the ball on time, the offensive lines that can protect a little bit better, the receivers that can go out and do things, because it's a circus that has to be put together and choreographed. That's not happening. It's in the process of happening, but it hasn't happened at BYU for a while. That's why they've run a Riley Nelson, that's why they've run a Taysom Hill, because they couldn't find the quarterbacks to do that. They're a hard commodity to get. Do they have them in their camp now? Maybe they do. But right now, I think going into this game, I think Tanner gives you the best opportunity to win against a veteran, big defensive team. We'll see what happens down the line, but that's how I see it.

BG: He mentioned the defense not getting exploited down the field, right? I believe that's been a big story and I maintain that. Maybe I was too absolute in saying they haven't been exploited. He gave two references — two, out of four games. I'm standing by my statement, Don. I believe the secondary's done a really good job of defending the long ball. They are not getting exploited down the field against some pretty good offenses. And I think that's been a significant byline for this season. Where you have a very young secondary that's doing largely a really, really good job of limiting big play opportunities. So I'm standing by that statement.

DH: Don't get too happy on us. Jeff, what do you think?

JC: I agree with Dick, I think what you said was right on. If you've been following BYU football for 30, 40 years, what you're seeing now is different than what you're used to. And again, BYU wins now in a different way, and you need to understand the times have changed, and you've got to adapt, and that's what BYU's trying to do. But he also pointed out that he's having fun. I mean, this is a lot better situation than BYU found themselves a year ago. And you've got to enjoy it while it lasts.

DH: 3-1. Ranked 20th. But still Tanner Mangum can't play very well. He can play better. But 3-1, ranked No. 20. There you go. Hey, listen, it's been fun. You've been listening to Cougar Insiders podcast here at Thanksgiving Point. We appreciate you being with us. We invite you to find this podcast, Cougar Insiders podcast, wherever you do find podcasts. Download and subscribe to it. Be a part of it. If you have any comments or questions and would like to write an email to us, you can do so at Cougarinsiders@deseretnews.com. Join us next week for this podcast. Cougar Insiders podcast. We'd love to have you with us. Thank you.