Guest commentary: BYU football fans should focus on those who will play

By Ken Driggs, For the Deseret News

Published: Sun, Aug. 31, 2014, 10:05 a.m. MDT

 BYU running back Adam Hine (28) runs with the ball during a football game against the Connecticut Huskies at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. BYU won 35-10.

BYU running back Adam Hine (28) runs with the ball during a football game against the Connecticut Huskies at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. BYU won 35-10.

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

In the resounding win over Connecticut, once again BYU fans were reminded that pregame focus needs to be on those who will be playing in the game, not on those who will not play.

In the weeks leading up to the season opener for the Cougars, much of the fan chatter focused on the injuries and possible suspensions of key players. Even the ESPN telecast got into the act, as the short prelude to the kickoff included a listing of those who would not be donning pads for the contest.

It was as though the absence of key players was like a hockey match, where an infraction would send a contestant to the penalty box with no replacement.

There have been times in the past when the potential absence of a key player or players consumed BYU fans' anxieties prior to critical games. Who can forget the picture of star running back Harvey Unga on the sidelines, rooting for his unheralded teammate Bryan Kariya who exploded for big plays in the 2009 monumental upset over Oklahoma in the Jerry Jones Palace? Who saw that coming?

At the team fireside the night before the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl against the speedy Oregon Ducks, the buzz in the cultural hall at the beautiful stake building was about the two key Cougar defensive backs, and if they would suit up the next night.

Sure enough, the two players did not compete in the game, but John Beck led the Cougars to a dominating 38-8 victory.

I think we could learn a lot from the old sage LaVell Edwards. When he was asked during a recruiting season about the star recruits who did not choose BYU, he responded that he liked to concentrate on those who did sign with BYU, and would be wearing the blue and white.

As the fans watched Michael Davis, Jordan Preator, Travis Tuiloma, Adam Hine, Terenn Houk and Mitchell Juergens perform well in the win over the Huskies, nerves were calmed, fears were allayed and hope was renewed.

Taysom Hill had a spectacular game, and the supporting cast performance was good enough to give credence to the offseason predictions of a good year for the Cougars. Now, what about those Longhorns?

Ken Driggs of Mesa, Ariz., is a BYU graduate and served as Cosmo in the ’60s. Contact him at kkdriggs@gmail.com.

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1. Real Bass
Idaho Falls, ID,
Aug. 31, 2014

Bronco is responsible for the intrigue. Who is playing is not like the call of who will be the next bishop.. Other teams announce suspensions for "violation of team rules.". Why can't we.

Injuries are another story. The healing process and keeping the other team guessing are reasons to play injuries closer to the vest. But like making Uconn kick off again when the ball went out of bounds instead of taking the ball at the 35, his handling of public statements and the press leave heads shaking.

2. ds7
American Fork, UT,
Aug. 31, 2014

the easiest thing to do is suspend a player. BYU has become the "university of silly suspensions"...

3. worf
Mcallen, TX,
Aug. 31, 2014

Trust the coaching staff, and let them handle team rules.

4. BYUalum
South Jordan, UT,
Aug. 31, 2014

Some people just don't get it; BYU is a private university with an honor code that most on the outside world can't wrap their heads around. Therefore, those in charge choose not to divulge the details of every single decision that they make. And they don't have to put themselves or their players through that kind of scrutiny.

Having attended BYU, I understand the high bar set to attend there. That Honor Code actually helps define one's life later after graduation as well as while attending college there. It continues to be frustrating for the outside crowd who want to know all the nitty, gritty details. It just isn't going to happen! Just try to learn to go with the flow!

Go Cougars!

5. flatlander
Omaha, NE,
Aug. 31, 2014

Seems that Bronco brings this on by playing with the press on who is playing and who is under suspension. He does not need to get into detail. A simple announcement at the beginning of the week that the following players will not be suiting up ends all the speculation. His way puts a burden on the poor players who then get asked about it at the fireside.