Lessons Learned from Two Halves of Football

During last Saturday's Air Force game, BYU fans wondered what happened in their looker room at halftime that spurred the Cougars to explode for 319 passing yards, 38 points and four touchdowns in a single half of football.

BYU managed a mere three points in the first half before sophomore quarterback John Beck lit up the Colorado sky last Saturday afternoon.

"I think I just calmed down," Beck said. "The first half I knew what was going on and I was seeing things really well. I think I was just a little to antsy to get the ball to my guys instead of just relaxing, playing and throwing the ball well.

"You know, I was just thinking a little too much about it because I was seeing it so good. In the second half, coach Crowton sat me down and said, ‘Just play. Don't play trying not to make mistakes. Just play.' I think that's what it was; I was just trying to play my best game possible and not make any mistakes … and by doing that I was not playing my best," Beck added.

Throughout the season, Crowton had been trying to teach his football team a few lessons that can‘t be viewed on film or drawn up on a chalkboard. But it finally "clicked" in the hearts and minds of his football squad during the second half of the Air Force game.

"He (Crowton) said at half time, 'I've seen you guys practice and I know you have the talent. Just play your game and I promise you will do good.' So we came out that second half and having that big long touch was a big booster for us and we all just clicked," Beck continued.

Beck admitted his quest for perfection led to him being overly cautious, hindering his growth and opportunities for earlier success.

"There's still some plays in that second half I wish I could have back and just fix them, but that's just part of being a quarterback. You're going to make mistakes, but you just got to try and minimize those mistakes while you're playing football," he said.

"I think the more you play the better you learn what works for you. When I'm out there trying to make every play perfect and trying not to make mistakes, I tend to make mistakes. Now I just know I should just go out there and just play football."

Beck continued, "It's good though. The thing that I feel confident about is I'm learning about myself and what I have to do to for myself to play my best for my teammates. Is how I'm reacting helping them play better or is it not helping them. I'm learning a lot about my teammates and myself."

From those two halves of football last weekend, Beck feels he has grown both mentally and emotionally. "Now the goal is to get two halves like that second half," Beck said.

Beck noted, "That's why football is fun. As an offensive unit, we had so much fun that second half. We were in the huddle laughing, motivating each other and we found a very good happy medium of being confident and also being focused. We were having fun and we were focused. Now the key is to just try to keep ourselves in that zone offensively, and that's what coach Crowton said."

Beck and the BYU offense took Crowton's advice to heart and it resulted in their most impressive offensive outing all season. "This team believes in coach Crowton. During that (Air Force) game when we had that fourth down situation by the end zone, everyone was just trying to shout their opinions, me included, of what plays to run.

Coach Crowton said, 'No, I know what to do. I got this.' Then everybody just shut their mouths. Coach gave us the play and we scored. In times like that, that's when we gain a lot of confidence and faith in coach Crowton. Right now, if we can just keep having halves like we did that second one, I know we are going in the right direction."

Beck continued, "When I was making my decision to come here, one of the main reasons I did come to BYU was not only because it was an exceptional University run by the Church … but I was extremely excited to play for coach Crowton; being a pupil of his and him teaching me about being a quarterback, about football, and about life."

"I feel like I've been highly blessed because I've been coached by such a good person like coach Crowton. I have faith in him and I believe a lot in coach Crowton. We, as a team, want him here. We don't even think about things like that. We can't think about what's going to happen to him or anything like that. We just go out there and play football," Beck concluded.

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