Rise and Shout, "THREE-AND-OUT"

As opposing offenses take the field at LaVell Edwards Stadium, I would love to hear fans in the stands erupt in support of our Cougar defense, with a rip-roaring rumble, "THREE AND OUT! THREE AND OUT! THREE AND OUT!"

If the crowd became an effective 12th man for the Cougar defense, this chant would start when the opposing quarterback huddles with his team. Maybe someone doesn't hear his play call clearly. All you need is one offensive player to miss one letter or number on a play, and you've got 10 guys running one play and one guy running another.

Offense penalties or miscues often occur under such adverse conditions. Since the center is also calling audibles on blocking, high-decible fan noise can muck things up for a visiting offense at different points.

In the absence of much to cheer about right now in our offense, BYU fans can cheer and celebrate for our starring dynamic defense. From all appearances, it does not appear to be a one-year wonder. Bronco Mendenhall, an avid horseman, has the horsepower he needs. The newest craze and passtime for Cougar faithful is to closely watch for and monitor defensive line play and blitzes from unexpected places and formations.

Air Force lives and dies with discipline ball control and they did it again yesterday. Our stellar defense did the job again, but an ineffective offense did-in the Cougars yet again. They cannot live without moving the chains.

The offense will rebound sometime later this season. Meanwhile, it sure is fun to see an explosive and exciting defense at BYU play well enough to beat every team they have faced this year. As the Cougar reputation spreads, it might becomes a mental barrier for opponents expect to punt more and gain fewer first downs against BYU.

It is fun to see Manaia Brown and C.J. Ah You get back into playing shape. One of my favorite was watching Manaia do his bull rush and "launch" the center or guard back into the lap of the quarterback or running, even blocking that one PAT of Stanford's. Once he gets healthy and can play most of the downs, BYU's chances of increasing its percent of "three and out" or "six and out" defensive series against other teams will increase.

Yesterday, Manaia had the most tackles and assists of all the defensive linemen. He ended the game with six tackles; two solo and four assisted tackles. He trailed only Aaron Francisco (11) and Mike Tanner (9) in tackles. Folks, he's just getting started. Last week was the FIRST week (including fall camp) he was able to participate in all full contract practices and drills all season.

His lateral speed and tackle of loss of the Falcons running back from behind is a thing to behold. At least three times yesterday he ran into Chance Harridge, less than a split second after he pitched the ball. And he's only a sophomore! No team can run an effective offense with a 315-pound defensive tackle with attitude, in the middle of its backfield, not for long. Since both Manaia and C.J., also a sophomore, are getting stronger, with the other defenders really getting after it, I think we fans should simply watch for, and expect, more "three and outs" and "six and outs" from the other team's offense.

Why not tell the opposing team that is what we expect? Tell them every time they huddle or approach the line of scrimmage. Give them a reminder that Bronco and friends will not allow them to do what they planned to do on offense.

Kiss goodbye to BYU's out-dated "bend-but-don't-break" defense. In the old days, other teams kind of knew what they would get with the BYU defense that allowed teams to move between the red zones, but then stiffened. That era is over, folks.

Bronco's mantra is "manage the risk." We gave up one big screen play to UNM, but otherwise, it was a dogfight for the Lobos to move the chains.

It is not reasonable to expect Bronco or any other coach to eliminate all risk. The opponent is going to get a few big plays on us, once in awhile. Playing a strong early schedule, Bronco is a gambler, but not a wild one. He calculates odds, and then is decisive, winning most gambles, but losing a few. Makes for exciting football, on defense no less.

Since we will give up a few big plays on defense, that is another reason to increase our percent of "three and outs" or "six and outs." Cougar home fans can help the cause, but adding a new factor to the confusion that Bronco's sets, shifts, and blitzes put on the other team.

Rise and shout, Cougar fans, in unison with shouts of THREE-AND-OUT" at opportune times (some Cougar fans don't know when to make noise and when to be quiet -- noise on defense, quiet on offense, folks) and with sufficient decibles to give the opposing quarterback fits.

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