4 reasons BYU could lose opener at UConn

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Jamaal Williams, shown here in the 2013 BYU season opener against Virginia, will miss the UConn game because of an honor code violation. (BYU Photo)

Jamaal Williams, shown here in the 2013 BYU season opener against Virginia, will miss the UConn game because of an Honor Code violation. (BYU Photo)

With the Cougars opening on the road, against a supposedly inferior opponent, on the East Coast, it got me thinking about that old quote from Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

If you’re like me, you’ve probably had your memory of last season’s opener against Virginia scrubbed clean, “Men in Black” style. But are the Cougars in for a repeat of last year? Below are a few reasons why the Cougars could be leaving Connecticut with their proverbial tails between their legs, 0–1.

Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson

1. Practice!?! We’re talking about PRACTICE!

A favorite pastime of mine is to troll the Internet on a day after Bronco announces he’s canceled a practice like he did last week to take the team to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie. The shockwaves that reverberate across Cougar Nation are almost laughable.

But do they have a point? Should Bronco be utilizing every minute of practice time allotted to him by the NCAA to help prepare his team for the season? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know I’m still scarred from seeing Vanilla Ice do this in the last Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie. So at the very least, Bronco should have better judgment on what movie he takes his team to see.

Cody Hoffman

Cody Hoffman

2. Top players M.I.A.

Last season, the Cougars were without the services of their top receiver, Cody Hoffman, for the season opener against Virginia. Hoffman missed the game with a strained hamstring, and the Cougar offense struggled that day to find any continuity.

This season we already know that the Cougars will be without receivers Nick Kurtz and Devon Blackmon, but most notably Jamaal Williams will be serving a one-game suspension against the Huskies. The BYU coaches have been touting the team’s depth this season and that depth will be put to the test a week from Friday, 5 p.m.

Connecticut_Huskies_20133. Unfamiliar opponent

When BYU travels to UConn to face the Huskies on Aug. 29, it will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools. This could be both a blessing and a curse for the Cougars.

On one hand, UConn won’t have the experience of playing against Robert Anae’s go-fast, go-hard, hurry up offense — so the BYU offense could catch the Huskies off guard.

But on the other hand, BYU could struggle against unfamiliar defensive schemes and stadium environments, like they did last year at Virginia.

Scott Stadium was temporarily closed during the 2013 BYU/Virginia game because of lightning.

Scott Stadium was temporarily closed during the 2013 BYU/Virginia game because of lightning. (BYU Photo)

4. Unpredictable weather

There are lots of things that coaches can do to simulate game-day environment. They can pump in loud music, practice against the other team’s scheme, and sequester them from their loved ones. One thing they can’t do is prepare the team to play in a monsoon.

Last season against Virginia, the game was delayed by two hours because of lightning and second half rains made the Cougars and Cavaliers look like they were the Keystone Cops playing football.

I’m not predicting the Cougars and Huskies will be playing in a downpour, but I’m also not, not predicting it either.

The game will be played smack dab in the middle of hurricane season on the East Coast, and if you factor in El Niño, the rains could be coming down like the second half of “Noah.” If there’s one thing I’ve learned about El Niño over the years is it’s Spanish for “The Niño!”

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Jon Eyre has worked in marketing communications at a number of high tech companies in Utah Valley for the past nine years. He is a 2003 graduate of BYU, and worked as a graduate assistant for the school's Sports Information Department for the 2003 and 2004 football seasons. When he isn't working, Jon spends his time scouring the internet searching for obscure indie bands, trying to decipher the meaning of Lost, or hanging out with his wife and three children.

4 Comments

  1. AvatarGftc32 Reply

    5 reasons I disagree:

    1. Mendenhall gives his teams breaks from practice all the time both preseason and post season. He’s been good in openers and bowl games, so I’m not worried.

    2. While continuity was a problem at Virginia, most of it was on a freak game delay and a wet field. It’s hard to play a game, stop for hours, and then continue playing.

    3. I’m far less concerned about an unfamiliar opponent than I am about them still not naming a starting QB. QB skill and style is what Mendenhall needs to know in order to game plan.

    4. We’re still hung up on lasts years weather? It was a fluke that affected multiple week 1 games. Then we had a storm that nearly cancelled the game in Provo the following week. I’m not worried that weather is going to affect us like it did last year.

  2. AvatarMarksvt Reply

    Reasons, I’m not worried

    1. UConn, is starting a new QB which they haven’t even named yet.
    2. UConn, doesn’t have the athletes that Virginia has, not even close.
    3. UConn, lost to a division 2 school last year.
    4. UConn, has a new head coach.
    5. Vegas has BYU by 16 on their field.
    6. Taysom and Co. have more weapons than last year even, with suspensions.
    7.The offense has a year of experience and will be more comfortable with the schemes.
    8. The O-line is better than last year.
    9. The Defensive backs have depth and all the players that were injured last year are ready.

  3. AvatarPhatAv8r Reply

    Seriously?

    This is so lame.

    1. Practice? Everything I hear is that they are well on track, the focus of practices is going to change drastically this week as they get into using the people who will play at UConn rather than checking out ‘what they got’ on the bench in various situations. And ALL teams, Alabama and Florida State included take ‘days off’.

    2. MIA players – really, two unknown, untested players are going to be our downfall? JW is going to be missed, but with the way Hine has played, Algie, and Taysom’s wheels, I don’t see all the hand wringing… we have plenty of receivers for Taysom to give UConn a headache, I expect Terrance Houk might be one of them and a big surprise, not to mention Apo.

    3. Oh who cares, until UConn joined the ACC they were just another team on the score feeder we laughed at… they aren’t a superpower, we know that, they aren’t Texas, we know that, and we haven’t played in their stadium… we know that… but the Virgina loss was a result of weather and one badly tipped pass…. nothing else.

    4. If lightning strikes twice by giving UConn the edge with home field and the weather, then I think you’ll see Bronco and Anae both much more prepared for it.

    I don’t see it, none of these four reasons make sense… Now, if you had said

    #1 – Taysom Hill and Christian Stewart placed on TSA watchlist and denied boarding the plane… yeah, we might have a problem.

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