Note to Coach Crowton: "All This Too Shall Pass…"

Amid the furor and fury from fans understandably upset over the Cougars loss to Stanford last Saturday, it's a good thing BYU head coach <b>Gary Crowton</b> wasn't around during the era of the guillotine. His head would have been lopped off already based on some of the virulent fan reaction we have read.

Count us among those that remain very firmly ensconced on Gary Crowton's bandwagon, lap belt securely fastened.

The Stanford loss was a bitter pill to swallow and Crowton deserves the lion's share of the blame as the chief Cougar in charge of a whimpering – rather than a roaring – offense.

That said, we are not even close to thinking about vacating our hot bandwagon seat. We believe the entire college football world will be singing the praises of Crowton and his merry band of Cougars next year when they make BYU's first serious challenge for a national championship candidacy since 1996. That is barring major injuries, of course.

Setting 2004 aside for the moment, it is imperative for Crowton to immediately shake the bushes and light a searing fire that actually burns a hole in the collective backsides of all his offensive coaches and players.

The offensive players must know, believe and execute their plan as efficiently and effectively as possible. They are making their coaches, team and themselves look bad. Inexperience aside, they must get the job done. No excuses accepted.

Aside from a few questionable calls, we don't fault the game plan or game-calling during games for the losses. Simply, the offensive players as a group lack the fire, intensity and pride that is obvious from watching BYU's revitalized defense under Bronco Mendenhall. It's all about coaching strategy and tactics now.

Apart from Mendenhall, the same defensive coaches are in place from last year, yet an entirely different mindset pervades. It has everything to do with the intensity, attitude, respect and pride Mendenhall has instilled among his defensive coaches and players.

After last Saturday's performance, BYU's defense is now ranked No. 12 nationally, according to official NCAA statistics. BYU's benign offense, meanwhile, is ranked No. 83.

It's time for Coach Crowton to get hopping mad and let his entire offense see his fire, competitiveness and passion like never before.

It's time to raise the level of accountability among offensive coaches and let them know future performance reviews and job security is really on the line. In much the same way Crowton's future was positively impacted by the graceful retirement of Ken Schmidt and Mendenhall's hiring, the same level of scrutiny must happen on the offensive side with his coaches.

It's time, as Crowton has wisely done, to stop making excuses for the failings and foibles of others and himself. Stanford played as many freshmen as BYU and still won. The Cougars have the inside track to win the MWC title this year with Colorado State in Provo.

Now is the time for all Cougars – coaches, players and fans – to rally their support of a team hobbled by some significant injuries, but is still good enough to win its own conference.

The loss to USC was greeted with pride and chest-pounding by fans that recognize how good this BYU team can be when it truly believes. The BYU defense has attained that high-level state of mind. They know their defense can play and compete with any offense in the country at their own game. Considering the fact the Mendenhall has worked such wonders in just over six months is a testament of his coaching and motivational skills.

It's time for Crowton and his assistants to do the same to get the Cougar offense on nearly the same playing field as its defensive counterparts -- much sooner than later.

A lot is at stake: Major national recruits are seriously looking at BYU now in unprecedented numbers. Crowton has, to his great credit, all the of-the-field indicators of a strong and vibrant program that mean the most to university board trustees – with impressive academic support programs, graduation rates and significantly lower Honor Code violations.

There is much for Crowton to be proud of and he knows, better than anyone else, how much better his football program can be. More importantly, the success of the football program also helps recruiting for other Cougar sports as well.

Premature calls for Crowton's head by ill-informed fans will only hurt BYU's recruiting efforts. Three major basketball recruits were on official visits during the Stanford game along with the top wide receiver recruit on an unofficial visit. You have to wonder what their takeaway from the game or the impact on future decisions on whether to play for BYU.

One thing is for certain: BYU's football program is not broke; it simply needs a much-needed tune up and realignment on its offensive forward thrust engines.

The Cougars are really not as far off the track as some might imagine, but they don't have much time to make all the necessary repairs and adjustments.

Five consecutive Mountain West Conference games are up next in Air Force, San Diego State, Colorado State, Wyoming and UNLV. Now is as good a time for BYU's once-vaunted offense to show its long-awaited countenance again.

Finally, as impressive as the Cougar defense has been this season, they still have a number of areas they can and must improve in. OK, that's our feeble attempt at being balanced, but all things considered, that is appropriately proportionate…

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