B&W Spring game: Analysis from the cheap seats

There stood head coach Gary Crowton, arms folded, wearing a blue windbreaker and cap, about 10 feet into the field watching and silently evaluating both teams from behind the line of scrimmage.

While two assistant coaches, Bronco Mendenhall and Todd Bradford, matched wits trying to look good without fully unleashing their dogs of gridiron war, Crowton was making mental notes of individual stand out performers and undoubtedly visualizing his vamped up offense come fall.

Offensively, he has to be pleased with the progress, ever-emerging poise and efficiency of his starting signal-caller, Matt Berry, who leads BYU this fall against one of its most challenging college football schedules ever.

Defensively, there is no doubt BYU will field a defense that may well match BYU's offense in fan popularity and appeal because of its aggressive, gambling and tenacious nature.

Based on Saturday's game, question marks remain about the quality and depth of the Cougar offensive line this fall. Even with a restrained defensive scheme, the quarterbacks spent too much time running from blitzing defenders.

************* RECRUITS COME CALLING: Unknown to Crowton et al, there were other particularly interested observers. Would-be recruits or family representatives were on hand as well.

The brother of a highly recruited player who signed with Utah out of high school told TotalBlueSports.com he was checking BYU out because his brother (currently on a mission) confirmed a strong desire to transfer to BYU immediately after his mission. For obvious reasons, we are withholding all other information that would signal to Utah who that missionary/player might be.

I asked a BYU defensive coach after the game about another impressive-looking specimen of a spectator, inquiring if he played football. Yes, I learned, he was a coveted JC defensive end who also wants in at Provo.

Whether scholarships would be available for them or not, the word is out: BYU football is on the rise and is definitely a program that great athletes want to be part of.

************* REVIVAL OF BYU RUNNING DAYS: A simple analysis of the play-calling trends Saturday are revealing in that Crowton has a stable of impressive workhorses that provides a deep and balanced running attack BYU has not had for years - if ever.

The depth was evident in the number of running plays called Saturday by Mendenhall and Bradford:

1st quarter: 8 running and 12 passing plays. 2nd quarter: 8 running and 14 passing plays. 3rd quarter: 11 running and 11 passing plays. 4th quarter: 5 running and 12* passing plays

* 4th quarter stats skewed by White Team's mad dash at the end of the game with majority of passes to try and tie the game.

************* TBS SHINE AWARDS Blue Team Offense: Matt Berry (9-16 for 95 yards passing, 1 for 8-yards running and one touchdown); and Jackson Browne (2-4 for 69 yards passing and 4-13 yards running -- a freshman walk-on no one expected much from); Rey Braithwaite (4-37 running); Jason Kukahiko (3-32 receiving); Breyon Jones (2-70 receiving).

Blue Team Defense: Nick DiPadova (1.5 sacks); Dipadova joined four other players with three tackles apiece - Josh Brandon; Corby Hodgkiss; Quinn Gooch; and Colby Buckwoldt.

White Team Offense: Todd Mortensen (5-8 for 69 yards passing, 4-24 yards running and one touchdown); Thomas Stancil (8-40 yards running); Fahu Tahi (5-32 running); Matt Smith (3-50 receiving); Toby Christensen (2-27 yards receiving); and Brett Cooper (2-18 yards receiving).

White Team Defense: Jared Meibos (3 tackles,1/2 sack and one QB hurry); Levi Madarieta (2 tackles and 1/2 sack); Others with two tackles apiece included Kip Nielsen; K.C. Bills; and Daniel Marquardt. Also, Nathan Kolbaba had one sack.

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