BYU vs. Air Force: Q&A Queue

With game day approaching against the high-flying and undefeated Air Force Falcons, <b></b> tackles some questions inquiring BYU minds want answers to.

Is Crowton treating the game against Air Force differently?

He is more focused and intense than usual. This is a very important game that will clearly determine how the Cougars will end the season. The practices this week have been noticeably more intense.

With a huge O-line and some quality backs, why does BYU have such a hard time running the ball? Does the offense practice run-blocking during the week?

The easy and best answer for BYU's deficiencies in the run game last week would be the absence of Scott Jackson. Jackson is very vital to the running attack. BYU head coach Gary Crowton, and some of the offensive linemen, mentioned that although Hanale Vincent may have made the correct blocking assignments calls, they may have been hesitant to follow those calls. If you hesitate even for an instant as an offensive line, you'll get beat every time.

That doesn't explain the first three games of the season in which the offensive line has struggled opening holes in short yardage situations. It may have something to do with the caliber of the first three opposing defensive fronts, coupled with inexperience. We feel the line will get better and look for them to improve significantly this week.

Could Justin Williams or Matt Ah You see some time with Lawrence Cowan and Bryant Atkinson out?

Absolutely. Ah You was mentioned as the seventh linebacker when Atkinson went out with an injury. Now, with Cowan out, Ah You may see playing time.

How likely is BYU to sign top wide receiver Austin Collie?

Collie will likely wait until close to LOI date to make his decision. He told a Stanford website he is leaning toward the Cardinal. Anything can change. While BYU and Stanford are his only real candidates right now, look for some other top-tier Pac-10 schools to make some noise and pique Collie's interest.

Do the coaches coach the offense and defense during the game on the sidelines?

Absolutely. The instruction continues throughout the game as players gather with coaches on the sidelines receiving instruction and making adjustments.

Have any football recruits taken their visits yet?

Official visits generally happen in January. Some recruits have visited unofficially without any financial assistance from the school. Players are invited to games periodically and we're not aware of any official visits that have occurred thus far in the season.

Does the team practice running the ball much at practice? It seems they haven't been prepared to run the ball that well during the last couple of games.

Crowton has said that they didn't game plan for a lot of runs during the week prior to the Stanford game, but indicated the offensive game plan will be much more balanced this week against Air Force.

Is Marcus Whalen ready to go 100%?

When we last saw him on Wednesday, he was practicing with full contact and looked good to go.

Did Reynaldo Brathwaite use up all his energy against New Mexico?

Brathwaite wasn't 100% against Stanford because of a slightly injured knee. He won't be 100% this week and Crowton said that Thomas Stancil will see some playing time subbing for Brathwaite.

Will Naufahu Tahi ever regain his freshman form?

Crowton mentioned that Tahi is regaining his pre-mission skills and attitude. He feels that Tahi was a little soft coming off his mission. Speed isn't Tahi's biggest asset. Aggressive running and consistently falling forward are his strengths – and he's slowly regaining this.

Is Stancil too small to be an effective Division I running back?

No, there are a number of other similarly-sized college running backs doing well elsewhere. Stancil is about the same size as Dominique Dorsey, one of UNLV's top running backs.

What is the status of Quinn Gooch?

Gooch is at practice everyday, slowly rehabbing his ACL on the sideline. Watching him workout, it looks like he's getting ready to play at the end of the season. That is not likely, however, unless he is absolutely needed. Gooch played really well during the spring and was expected to see significant playing time this year. Gooch will be a very good player once he fully recovers from his injuries – if he can stay healthy.

Gooch is already running on his ACL and is looking great. He says that he should be completely healthy again by the middle of November, but will most likely redshirt.

Why so many illegal formation penalties?

I don't have the answer to this $64,000 question. These penalties are mental errors. Having these penalties in every game after four games is frustrating and inexcusable.

Who is likely to play center on the offensive line next season?

Hanale Vincent will be back for his senior year. It appears likely that both Ofa Mohetau and Jake Kuresa may be back next season to play offensive guard. Eddie Keeleand Cade McGiven will man the tackle slots, unless Taitusi Lutui signs with BYU. Scott Young will start next season and he's a possible candidate as well.

Will the coaches put some protection packages for John Beck to check off to this week?

With Scott Jackson back and Beck slowly gaining experience, this is likely.

Will BYU be hurt not having a true offensive coordinator? In a way, the duties are Crowton's; in another way they're Robbie Bosco's; and yet in another way they're Todd Bradford's? What gives?

We will know more as this season unfolds. Crowton says Bosco is calling the plays with input from Bradford upstairs. In critical situations, it seems Crowton makes the calls. We don't know what exactly happens during a game.

Last year, the defense looked ineffective, in large part, due to their propensity to read and react instead of just firing off on their assignments. They also looked slow and not aggressive. Could this be the same thing that's going on with the offensive line?

Possibly. If an offensive lineman isn't sure about his assignment and hesitates, even for a second, he will get beaten. This has happened a lot so far this season, especially with the freshmen. It should improve with Jackson back at center this week.

Are the formations the offense plays out of giving away too much? Against Stanford, it seemed every time we were in the shotgun we passed and every time Beck was under center, we ran.

It happened a lot, but not all the time. It was a good guess last week that every down would be a pass regardless of the formation. It's something I personally haven't seen that much this year except for the Stanford game.

When is Matt Berry coming back?

Not before the Colorado State game. Crowton is telling Berry to watch tape of and just concentrate on the Colorado State game because that's when he's likely to return.

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