Sunday, April 20, 2014

BYU football notebook: Taysom Hill treating bowl game like any other game

By Jeff Call, Deseret News

Published: Tue, Dec. 24 6:15 p.m. MST

 Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) fights out of the arms of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days (32) during a game at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday, October 12, 2013.

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) fights out of the arms of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days (32) during a game at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday, October 12, 2013.

(Matt Gade, Deseret News)

SAN FRANCISCO — It’s taken BYU sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill a long time to finally play in his first bowl game.

But as he leads the Cougars against Washington in the Fight Hunger Bowl Friday, he doesn’t look at it that way.

“I haven’t really thought about it in that regard because to me, it’s another football game,” said Hill, who signed with Stanford in 2009 before transferring to BYU after his mission in 2012. “Especially being an independent, we’re playing different conferences all the time, so there’s not that much difference for myself. I’m treating this just like any other game. I want (to win) it just like I wanted the other ones. My preparation will be the same.”

Hill started two games last season as a freshman before suffering a season-ending knee injury. But he did make the trip to San Diego with his team to watch the Poinsettia Bowl.

In that game, the Cougars won, although the offense struggled and the defense had to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

This season, BYU has sputtered at times against good defensive teams.

“In those games we need to execute at a higher level,” Hill said. “We’re playing better competition and good, quality defenses in those games. Again, that’s no excuse. When we make little mistakes against a quality defense, we don’t see the success. Our emphasis will be executing, making sure nobody’s making mistakes, and fulfilling their individual assignments on every play. If we do that, we’re going to be hard to beat.”

FEEDING THE HUNGRY: Both BYU and Washington will be serving the people of San Francisco on Christmas Day.

As part of the bowl game activities, the two teams will be distributing food to the needy in the area.

Cougar coach Bronco Mendenhall said the Fight Hunger Bowl’s mission lines up well with the BYU football program’s mission.

“It seems to be a fantastic fit for us,” Mendenhall said, referring to the service opportunities the bowl game affords.

“It’s a meaningful, eye-opening experience. It’s something these kids will remember for the rest of their lives,” Fight Hunger Bowl executive director Gary Cavalli said of feeding the hungry. “For every ticket sold for this game, we donate a meal to a family in San Francisco. Over the years, we’ve provided 300,000 meals.”

HISTORY TO BE MADE: The Fight Hunger Bowl is set to be the first-ever FBS game featuring two female officials.

The Conference USA crew assigned to the Fight Hunger Bowl will feature both head linesman Maia Chaka and line judge Sarah Thomas. Thomas became the first female official in college football in 2007. She was the first to work a bowl game, in 2009, at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Mendenhall has coached in games featuring a female official before.

“I don’t remember any difference in performance, positively or negatively,” he said. “I know now there’s two (female officials). I think when you ask me afterwards, I won’t notice a difference.”

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1. BYUfaninWashSt
Everett, WA,
Dec. 24, 2013

The fans will be treating it like any other game as well. We expect to lose, but a win would be a nice surprise. BYU has shown they can win games they are expected to win and they lose the games they are expected to lose. Since BYU never makes any special preparations, business as usual, we can expect another loss, especially since UW is favored to win.

2. BYUalum
South Jordan, UT,
Dec. 24, 2013

I am not as pessimistic as BYUfaninWash. I think Taysom Hill's comment meant he is keeping this game in perspective. He is a VERY competitive and passionate football player. To him, he is playing the next football game, and HE WANTS TO WIN! Also, perhaps he is saying he is not so caught up in all the hype surrounding a Bowl Game and all the gifts, etc. He is focused on football.

I wish them well. I just want them to come out ready to go on offense with good play calling and take control of the game early. We love BYU as do many others. They will have a good following....crowd-wise at the game.

Go Cougars!

3. poyman
Lincoln City, OR,
Dec. 25, 2013

"Treat it like any other game?" I think that was the mantra going into Wisconsin and ND... Didn't workout too well as I recall...

Perhaps when we are scheduled to play an elite program we shouldn't approach it as... "Business As Usual"... Because it really isn't... It's huge.

If Hill could show that he is capable of spotting and making good throws to second and third option receivers then that statement would make alot more sense.

I love the Huskies and I think that they are probably the second toughest team that we will have played this year (behind Wisconsin)... If there isn't a different game plan (particularly on the Offensive side of the ball) then this will be a very long evening for the Cougars who I have favored in my "Pick Em" options... Please don't make me look bad... I am 5 of 6 right now and in the top 10 in a couple of groups (one of them with the big bad ute fans).

4. Cinci Man
FT MITCHELL, KY,
Dec. 25, 2013

If this is treated as just another game, this could be difficult to watch. Taysom Hill and Robert Anae need to not just 'execute', they need to 'execute' a greater variety of plays. May I suggest that the QB run is not the best choice of play. Whatever happened to the days of the passes to tight ends up the seams, passes over the middle to backs slipping through the line, crossing patterns by wide receivers, short slants to the inside mixed with flare outs and button hooks, and screen passes? Ah well, it's just another game. Go Cougars!

5. Meckofahess
Salt Lake City, UT,
Dec. 25, 2013

"Business as Usual" is the mantra of Coach Mendenhall. As long as he is at BYU, the team will never do anything special for the big games - that's why they lose most of them. That said, he brings a lot of other good things to the team (firesides, building character, etc). As an avid BYU fan, I've decided to be content with mediocrity as far as the win-loss record is concerned. Go Cougs!