Crowton Cautious about Overconfidence for Stanford

With a memorable and much-needed win against the storied Notre Dame team last Saturday, BYU head coach <b>Gary Crowton</b> prepares for this week's Pac-10 foe Stanford with a few quarterbacks in mind.

After losing his two top signal callers and finishing the 2003 season with walk-on quarterback Jackson Brown and now with starter John Beck's shoulder injury last week against Notre Dame, Crowton understands and fully appreciates the importance of developing and preparing multiple quarterbacks better than most coaches.

"You got to use them all. I just had a feeling. You just look at John (Beck) and he's playing great and it's the first quarter (Notre Dame) and then he's hurt. We're up ten to nothing and the next thing you know, he's out. Fortunately, it wasn't a very serious injury. I think, at the most, he'll miss one game if he misses that. With the challenging schedule like we have and the good defenses that we're facing, you've got to have two or three quarterbacks ready," said Crowton.

Since Beck's injury, every Cougar quarterback stepped up their preparation mode for Stanford. "Well, today is just the same as yesterday. Going in with Matt getting all the reps and Jason (Beck) getting all the back up reps. John (Beck) is doing some things, trying to get better. He's getting closer, but he's still not quite there yet," Crowton said.

Beck, he said, is doing "a little bit but not a lot; nothing hard, just trying to get the rotation back. He's done everything from meetings to all the run game, but he just can't throw it hard yet and I don't want him to yet. The longer we wait, the better off his shoulder will be. I don't want to hurry it too fast because I felt like I hurried Matt Berry last year. I want to make sure he's ready to go," he added.

Crowton is cautious not to put Berry into a situation that might hinder his development after the trials and tribulations Berry experienced last season.

"He's (Berry) done good. I was a little bit worried in the game with his confidence because of what he's been through last year with the injuries and throwing a lot of interceptions late in the year. But I felt like he did well. I think he'll get better at it. It's good to get that game experience.

"It was really good for him to get that last pass completion (Todd Watkins) which sealed the win. It gave him a lot of confidence to get that ball because he didn't throw many over the top because of the injury to his hand and that gave him confidence. Hopefully, that will just keep adding and, like I said earlier, we're going to need two or three quarterbacks for this challenging schedule that we have. We're going to need those guys to be ready," said Crowton.

Berry prepared for Stanford by focusing on improving his rhythm and timing with first team wide receivers and tight ends, and polishing up on hand-offs and snaps with center Lance Reynolds, Jr..

Crowton addressed the issue: "Well there had been a little bit (fumble exchange problems) because Lance Reynolds is left handed and all the other centers are right handed. We had a good day yesterday with the center exchange and we've been working hard on it. I think we'll be fine for the game," he said.

Crowton also made sure and new No. 2 quarterback Jason Beck recognized the importance and urgency of his upgraded status for this weekend's game. If needed, his redshirt year will be set aside is he called to action.

"He's (Jason Beck) doing well. He's confident, he's aggressive and he studies hard. We walked in there yesterday and studied extra film just to make sure he's got it down. He's preparing very well and, if he gets that opportunity, I expect him to do well," his head coach said.

Crowton admits that preparing for Stanford has been a little tough simply because Stanford didn't show much in their thrashing last Saturday of San Jose State University. There were, however, several things the team worked on to increase their chances for a road victory in Palo Alto, Calif.

"It's kind of hard to tell what they're (Stanford) going to do because they won the game big and didn't have to show a lot in that last game especially on defense," Crowton admitted. "We feel like turnovers will be a big key. Hopefully we do a good job on that. From an offensive standpoint we're looking at turnovers, penalties, drop balls and sacks. We want to eliminate those or have as few of those (sacks)."

After reviewing game film on his offensive line performance in the Notre Dame game, Crowton said, "I think its (offensive line) making progress. It's not where I want it to be, but they're working hard, I can tell you that. They're really working hard."

Crowton added, "We're getting there. I actually thought last week they did a decent job for the most part. We had a few sacks in there, but that's a team thing – not just offensive line. I feel like we're further along right now than we were last year at this time.

He pointed out that BYU's running game will be an important factor if the Cougars are to be successful in Palo Alto.

"We feel like we are going to be very physical in our run game and they're (Stanford) pretty good against the run. They did a good job, but we just have to stay with it. We can't just abandon the run if it's not working. We have to stay with it kind of like last time. We didn't get many yards-per-carry, but we stayed with it and it helped us because we use play action stuff," said Crowton.

Notre Dame turned to its passing game after BYU shut down their running attack for a 39-year-low. Crowton feels Stanford will go to the pass first.

"Some teams come in wanting to throw the ball and then you hold them to 11 yards rushing and it's not as impressive. When a team comes in and wants to rush the ball and then you hold them; that's why I was very pleased with our defense in doing that.

"Stanford, I think, is going to want to throw the ball a little more. I don't know how much they are going to want to rush the ball based on what they've seen us do against Notre Dame. I'm suspecting they're going to try and rush the ball, but I think they've got a good pass plan," Crowton continued. "The other thing is, defensively, we just got keep putting pressure, disrupt their offense and stop the run"

After upsetting Notre Dame, BYU's football team got a confidence boost that Crowton wants to build upon, but he cautioned the team to remain focused on the task at hand.

"They're excited. I worry about them getting too excited. (It was a) big win over a very storied football team that was favored to beat us by a touchdown, or whatever it was," he said. "It's helped us gain some momentum, a little bit of confidence, but now they can't get overconfident. They can't feel like we're already good enough now … We have to work it one game at a time. If they stay focused like that, just one game at a time, I think we'll go in there (Stanford) and play well. I've been a little worried about having that little extra high-thinking they're better than they really are. They still have a lot of work ahead of them," Crowton concluded.

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