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2003 PREVIEW: BYU Cougars

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There was no way anyone could've predicted what happened to BYU in 2002. How did this offensive machine become so lousy so fast? After blowing up everyone in 2001, the Cougar offense sputtered and coughed with an ineffective passing attack and an average ground game. Yes, BYU had to replace quarterback Brandon Doman and Doak Walker winner Luke Staley, but it had good players ready to step in and take over. Nine points against ?! THREE against ?! Six against Utah? To quote Fred Willard in A Mighty Wind, wha happened?

Team Information
Head coach: Gary Crowton
3rd year: 20-11
6th year overall: 38-21
Returning O Lettermen: 22
Returning D Lettermen: 26
Lettermen Lost: 14
Ten Best Players
1. CB , Sr.
2. DE , Jr.
3. RB Marcus Whalen, Jr.
4. P/PK , Jr.
5. LB , Sr.
6. S , Jr.
7. C , Sr.
8. S Kip Nielsen, Sr.
9. DE , Sr.
10. QB Matt Berry, Soph.
2003 Schedule
8/28
9/6 at USC
9/13 at
9/20
9/27
10/4 at San Diego St.
10/9
10/18 at
10/25 at
10/31
11/15 at
11/22
Quarterback was ineffective, so the Cougars relied on several freshmen to run the offense. Running back Marcus Whalen was nicked up and didn't turn into Staley, and the receivers were average at best. Will it be any better this season? A little, but don't expect the ridiculous production of a few years ago. So all is doom and gloom again for the Cougars, right? Wrong, and it'll be because of something totally foreign to most people who know BYU football. With eleven starters and cornerback returning to the defense, BYU might actually start winning some slugfests. No, the Cougars aren't going to challenge Oklahoma for the title of America's best defense, but this is a very experienced, very good D with great depth and tons of promise. If it can come together and finally slow down someone's running game, BYU could be a factor in the Mountain West race, even without an offense that lights up a scoreboard like a pinball machine. The Schedule: It's not great, but the Cougars have a couple of chances to make a statement. Depending on how far along the offense is, BYU could potentially lose all three of its opening game against , at USC and at New Mexico. New Mexico is a nasty team and could pound the still suspect Cougar run defense into submission. The good news is that , and Utah all have to come to Provo. Playing and won't be a picnic. Best Offensive Player: Senior RB Marcus Whalen. He's big with great hands, good power, and tremendous speed. Now he has to stay healthy and give the Cougars the big-time weapon they were hoping to get last year. Best Defensive Player: Senior CB Jenaro Gilford. He played with a gimpy knee last season, but he wasn't nearly as effective as he was as a sophomore. Now he appears to be 100% and should once again be one of the top cover-corners in the Mountain West. Key player to a successful season: The offense needs playmakers to emerge with the most pressing area of concern being the receivers. It's filled with several good players, but few gamebreakers, so deep threat and experienced slot man have to turn in huge campaigns. The season will be a success if: BYU wins the Mountain West conference. Why not? The defense should be so strong that all the offense has to do is not screw up. If the O becomes nasty again, there's no reason to shoot for anything lower than a league championship. Key game: Sept. 13 at New Mexico. This will be a big test to see how strong the BYU defense is. If DonTrell Moore and the running game gets going and steamrolls the Cougars, it might be a here-we-go-again feeling for the run defense. If BYU can come out of this with a win, it'll be over its biggest Mountain West road obstacle. 2002 Fun Stats:
  • BYU averaged 46.8 points per game in 2001 and 22.7 in 2002.
  • Penalties: BYU 99 for 779 yards - Opponents 58 for 500
  • First quarter scoring: Opponents 71 - BYU 33
  • Second quarter scoring: Opponents 115 - BYU 109
    2003 Recruiting Class
    Star of the Class
    Ofa Mohetau OL 6-3 320 Fr. Euless, (Trinity HS)

    Matt Ah You LB 6-0 230 Fr. Cedar Hills, (Lone Peak HS)
    Aaron Attig DB 6-3 190 Fr. Logandale, Nev. (Moapa Valley HS)
    Brett Denney DL 6-4 255 Fr. Thornton, Colo. (Legacy HS)
    David Nixon LB 6-3 200 Fr. College Station, (A&M Consolidated)
    Philip Niu TE 6-5 240 Fr. Gilbert, Ariz. (Highland HS)
    Mitch Payne K/P 6-3 185 Fr. North Ogden, (Weber HS)
    Dallas Reynolds OL 6-5 310 Fr. Provo, (Timpview HS)
    *Brian Soi DL 6-4 295 Fr. Provo, (Timpview HS)
    Jason Speredon OL 6-5 275 Fr. West Valley City, (Granger HS)
    Dan Van Sweden TE 6-3 210 Fr. West Point, (Northridge HS)
    Walt Williams DB 6-0 170 Jr. Miami, Fla. (Eastern JC)
    R.J. Willing OL 6-4 290 Fr. Kahuku, (Kamehameha HS)
    *Potential Instant Impact Players

  • Tagged: Georgia Tech, Boise State, Arizona, Stanford, Hawaii, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, Air Force, Wyoming, Utah, UNLV, Brigham Young, New Mexico, Colorado State

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