"Fan Speak" with Coach Crowton

BYU head coach Gary Crowton answers questions from TBS subscribers. Among the topics covered by the coach are: redshirting players expected to contribute in the future, progress of injured Cougars, recruiting needs, and game preparation for BYU's breakfast bash with New Mexico.

Welcome to another TBS edition of "Fan Speak" where BYU's head football coach Gary Crowton answers questions from the most die hard of BYU fans across the country.

Kicking off the Q&A session all the way from the west coast in Roseburg, Oregon, is Steve Smith who asked, "Coach, of all this years red shirts, which players do you get the most excited about and think will have the biggest impact next year?"

Crowton responded: "Well, if they go on missions, I'm not quite sure who is going to go on a mission, but Isley Filiaga defensively. He might go on a mission first but he's going to be an impact player for us at some point. Michael Reed I think will be a very good player for us, and Ray Feinga will be a good player for us next year. Then there are a couple guys hurting, Michael Morris and Joe Griffin. As I'm looking at the defensive side of it, you know we're playing a lot of guys right now that are out there and we haven't had a lot of guys red shirt people defensively so there will be some new faces out there on defense."

Rex McBride from Burbank, California, asked, "Coach, could you summarize the basics of what you teach our QB's about the pre-snap read of the number of DL's, LB's or DB's in the box ?"

Crowton replied: "Well, one thing we try to do is first understand our offense so much they don't have to think about our offense, and once that happens then as we read the defenses we have certain plays that have certain reads. I usually have four reads: I have an "area" read, a "direction" read, an "object/receiver" read and a "progression" read. As we go through the certain plays, they have to try and recognize the defense and get through those reads as quickly as possible. Try to keep it simple, try to keep it consistent and the better they can see things the faster they can get the ball to the open guys."

Next question from Rex, "Give us several examples of when a play would be changed by the QB at the line of scrimmage based on the defense showing too many/too few in the box for the original play called in the huddle."

Crowton answered: "Some of our plays are run pass options based on what the defense does, so if we came out there and the safety is down, we might change to a pass. If the safety is high we might change it to a run. There are things like that. Sometimes if we think they are going to blitz us and overload a side we might audible for protection or audible the route."

Scott Paul of Potomac, Maryland, asked: "Coach, boxers or briefs? Just kidding!"

While TBS was reading the rest of the question, Crowton laughed and cut in with this reply: "When I was younger. . .When I was younger I started out in briefs and ended up in boxers and then I got married and it's changed again."

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Lest you think that your new editor has some perverse preoccupation with other people's unmentionables, please be advised that this questions was a comical reference to an identical question issued to a presidential candidate at MTV's Rock the Vote several elections ago. In certain political, media and entertainment circles the question is something of a running joke. TBS would like to acknowledge that Coach Crowton had the savvy to not only recognize the humorous nature of the inquiry but also respond in kind!]

Continuing with Scott's question, "How much time will the 1's on offense spend going against the 1's on defense to help the offense prepare for New Mexico?"

Crowton gathered his composure and replied: "Every Monday we go 3's on 3's, 2's on 2's and 1's on 1's to try and develop our younger players, and also to have the team speed. Then also everyday in practice after that Monday on Tuesday and Wednesday we always have a segment where were pass skeli's are 1's on 1's, 2's on 2's and 3's on 3's and we alternate in there so everybody can develop and we have that competitive element in our team speed."

Scott Paul also asked, "How different is Coach Mendenhall's scheme from coach Long's scheme?"

The coach replied: "The schemes are very similar, if not the same. The way they [BYU defensive coaches] implement it is based on our personnel, which is different than New Mexico's personnel, and a little bit of personality between coach Mendenhall and coach Long."

Garry Montierth of Fremont, California, asked: "Coach from your experience, what are the pro's and con's of calling plays from the sidelines instead of from the booth. How do you compensate for the con's?"

Coach Crowton replied: "Well, when you call it from the sidelines you have to rely a little bit on your spotters, and right now Coach Reynolds and Coach Empey are outstanding spotters for us. Coach Bradford on the sidelines does an outstanding job of deciphering any information up there and then getting me in the direction that those guys have recommended."

Tyler Tippetts from Las Vegas, Nevada asked, "Will we see Moa get the ball anytime soon?"

Crowton grinned: "Well, Moa's forte isn't running the ball but there might be a chance here or there down the road and he's a tremendous blocker for the guy behind him. You just never know, you'll just have to wait and see.

TBS asked a follow up question, "Is he under 280 pounds yet?"

"I think he's about 280," chuckled Crowton. "He tells me he's 280 or 279. I think he was 290 at one point."

Tippetts also asked: "And during the BYU vs UofU game, what do you think about letting the Polynesians on the team come out of the tunnel doing a Maori Haka war dance? You have plenty of Poly players and fans that would love that!"

Crowton chuckled: "Right now we're not thinking about Utah at all. We're just focusing on the University of New Mexico."

Garry Montierth of Fremont, California, asked, "Do the QB's, RB's and receivers occasionally practice with cold and wet footballs to simulate cold and wet game time conditions?"

Crowton said: "Well right now we're out here and it's raining a little bit and it's wet, and will do that on occasion. It just depends on the day. Most of the time you want to practice in the best situation, the best environmental situation so we can focus on our assignments our footwork and our technique, but every week that week I try to find a time where we can go out and get used to the element."

Montierth also asked: "What about purposely "slippery" footballs to simulate new(er) footballs? What are the rules governing the "preconditioning" of the game balls?"

Crowton replied: "What we usually do with those new football is they have a film over them, and we usually let the quarterbacks throw them in practice for a week or two to get that off and then save them for the game day. That's able to just kind of break them in where the quarterbacks like them when the game starts. As far as when the weather is bad, I usually don't use the game balls because you don't want them to get wet because it ruins them and they become to slick for the game when they dry up, but like today when we come out we use older balls and the managers will try and keep them wiped down just like they do in the game so it's more game realistic."

Barry Humphreys from Morehead City, North Carolina, asked the question, "Because of the Lobos' propensity for heavy blitzing, will you be relying more on John's ability to audible to the correct play to counteract the blitz or will you be calling more plays that are directly designed to counter the blitz?"

Crowton said: "We have a plan for that. There's a little of both and there's other options where you can keep more in to protect or get guys out quicker and have them look for the ball faster. We'll probably mix it up a little bit in those areas, but John [Beck's] feet and his ability will be a factor in this [UNM] game also."

Jared Goulding from Terre Haute, Indiana, asked, "How are players like K.C. Bills, Michael Morris, Joe Griffin, and Phil Niu progressing in their rehab from season-ending injuries?"

Crowton said, "Kevin Morris, our athletic trainer is doing an outstanding job in place of George Curtis who has done a great job for years, but Kevin Morris, our new trainer, is doing an outstanding job and those guys [Bills, Morris, Griffin and Niu] are right on track to able to come out and help us next year, hopefully for spring practice."

Michael Smith from Phoenix, Arizona, asked the coach, "Approximately how many scholarships do we have this off-season?"

Crowton responded: "We will have between 15 and 20. It's just hard to tell but somewhere in that neighborhood."

Smith also asked, "What positions will you be concentrating on?"

Crowton said: "Mostly the defensive side, a linemen or two. Maybe a skill guy here and there."

Smith followed up with, "And will you be recruiting any JC players to plug any immediate holes, like last year?"

Crowton replied: "We are looking at some. Maybe bring an offensive linemen here and maybe some on defense but right now it's a little to early to tell because we're focused on the season."

Mark Pedersen of Atlanta, Georgia, asks: "Coach, we know you can't disclose names because of NCAA rules, but are you recruiting any players under the radar that you consider to be 'diamonds in the rough', like Ibrahim Rashada of last year's class? And if so, at what position(s)?"

Crowton said: "Yes, there's always a good chance for those guys developing into outstanding players. We feel like we're onto a real good recruiting class this year. There's been names that we have and there's a lot of LDS kids in there and there's a few non-LDS kids that we feel like will contribute to this class, and if things go well we feel like we will have a very good recruiting year."

James Dickson of Roy, Utah wondered, "Coach, how much time is spent working with the players who are red-shirting?"

Crowton said, "Like I said earlier, we spend a lot of time on our individual players and in our meetings, and I make sure they develop on Mondays, especially on Mondays, and then in our skeli's during our Tuesday and Thursday practices."

Kyle Harward from Centerville, Utah, asked: "Recently a story appeared that said Eddie Scipio had not heard from any BYU coaches. Can you comment on Eddie, is he coming back, why has he not been contacted, etc.?"

Crowton replied: "I can not comment because he is a re-recruit athlete at this time. All I can say is we are still recruiting him and obviously academics is the issue."

Paul Stahmann of Belvidere, Illinois, asked: "Coach, how often are Pro scouts on campus watching the seniors? What are they saying about Payne, Poppinga, Denney, Nua, Francisco, and Young?"

Crowton responded, "I would say three to four days a week we have pro-scouts here and they all think they are prospects."

Jim Barrus from Meeteetse, Wyoming, asked: "Coach, could you comment on the progress of Hudson as a running back and Reed as a red shirt freshmen? I am interested to know what your assessment is of their progress this year and if they will be contributors for next years team?"

Crowton said: "Hudson's developing and he's learning. He got some experience during the San Diego State game and we hope for him to continue to develop, and at some point we think he will be able to help us and be a really good football player for this university."

Sean Stohl from Beaverton, Oregon, had the following: "Coach, you still got your mojo going on! When looking at the state of the BYU football program and the team right now, how does the team now compare with what you had envisioned 4 years down the road from when you first accepted the job?"

Crowton said, "Well I felt like following a legend like coach Edwards, we had some good talent but there was going to be a transitional stage, and we've gone through that transitional stage and were on our way coming out that, and I still feel my ‘mojo'." Crowton chuckled, "I've never lost my ‘mojo' even though it might not have been evident in some of our games. Our confidence level as a team and as a program is on the up rise."

Stohl also asked, "Do you feel that the pieces of the puzzle are in place now with what you had envisioned from a coaching staff and team personnel standpoint?"

Crowton said: "I do. We still need to develop. We still have a lot of work to do to get to where we want to go, but we're on the right track."

Rob Hemming from Idaho Falls, Idaho had the final word: "Coach Crowton we are behind you all the way and we're frustrated with you about all of the wild rumors floating around, concerning the future of the program. Do you have any information to reassure us that you'll be coaching here after the end of this year?"

Crowton concluded, "I'm very happy here at BYU and I love this university."

The winner of this week's "best response" from Coach Crowton goes to Scott Paul. We wish to thank Head Coach Crowton for taking the time to answer BYU fan's questions for the week. We will finish up the final chapter of this years "Fan Speak" prior to the University of Utah game next week.

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