John "the Quarter" Beck

After so many down years, BYU is back to campaigning for the Davey O'Brien Award, which goes to the nation's best quarterback. BYU has dubbed its latest gunslinger the Quarter-Beck. If John Beck were to take home some post-season hardware, it would be the first such honor for a Cougar QB since Ty Detmer won the O'Brien Award 15 years ago.

John Beck has been named the Mountain West Conference's Offensive Player of the Week for the third time in four weeks. The latest rash of conference accolades doubles the number MWC Offensive Player of the Week honors Beck received during his first three years.. This latest nomination comes on the heels of Beck breaking the conference record for career touchdown passes with 59 career TD tosses.

"I thought our team did really well and I was happy to see our team put up over 40 points on the score board," said Beck. "There were a few plays during the game that I wish I could have hit. I had that one slant to Mike [Reed] and that one to Dan [Coats] that I was trying to get out there quickly because they put on the blitz. I mean, it would have been a lot easier on him if I had put it out there in front, but aside from those two plays I felt that our team was pretty efficient all the way around. I think that showed by the score on the scoreboard."

"I think John feels like he can throw the ball into anything right now," said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall on BYUCougars.com. "That's the great thing for your quarterback to feel, and I don't intend to get in his way."

Despite a few miscues, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound Mesa, Arizona product completed 16 of 21 attempts for a total of 267 yards against San Diego State. He has a season-high four touchdowns in less than three quarters of play. The Davey O'Brien Award candidate finished the game with a career-high efficiency rating of 245.9. The efficiency rating was the highest for a BYU quarterback since former BYU quarterback and current USC assistant coach Steve Sarkisian posted a 260.8 rating against Rice in 1996.

"They [BYU] had a good game plan against us, and we were facing a great QB and an excellent offense," San Diego State head coach Chuck Long said. "We had a lot of young secondary in there, some of them learning for the first time. What a baptism that is—playing against one of the best QB's in the country."

In regards to his long term plans, Beck would like to one day follow Sarkisian into the coaching fraternity.

"Well, we will find out someday," said Beck about the idea of coaching. "I think that is what I want to do when my football days are over with. I definitely want to stay with football in some way when my [playing] days are over with."

However, in looking back and seeing how much his college coaches have sacrificed, Beck feels that coaching in the NFL would be more attractive, but he has not ruled out in possibly coming back to BYU if the opportunity presents itself.

"You know what, I think wherever I have the opportunity," said Beck about where he'd like to coach. "Honestly, looking back I don't know if I would want to coach at the college level. I see these college coaches and they have a tough job because they're away from their families a lot. For how much time I already had to spend away at the college level and wanting to go on at the next level, if I can succeed at that, I'm sure there will already be a lot time I will miss out with my wife and kids. I'm not really sure I would want to come back to a situation were I would miss out even more later on."

On the season, Beck currently leads the MWC and ranks fifth nationally with an average of 302.0 yards of total offense per game. He also leads the league with 310.6 yards passing per game and ranks 12th nationally in pass efficiency with a 164.0 rating. Beck admits his recent success has come by way of a long and difficult process.

"I think it's just a lot of work that goes into it," smiled Beck. "I don't believe what happens just happens. I think there was a lot of hard work that went into it and I think about it everyday on how I can become a better quarterback. I think of ways how I can improve. You know it was tough for me because most incoming quarterbacks will redshirt and then sit a year behind somebody. Then they'll get a chance to play at either their sophomore or junior year. My chance came right out from when I got here, and it was tough not playing football for a couple of years going into it. Most guys coming in out of high school and go into college still have the football mentality, and at least are still in the mode of playing football.

"I was away from football for a few years, and although those first couple of years playing quarterback at BYU were pretty tough, it made it possible for me to find any possible way to work harder to become better. You know there are some people who might think that I was a freshman and I was going to struggle. Because I was out there starting I wasn't going to allow myself to just say, ‘Oh I'm a freshman and that's what happens.' Instead I was saying, ‘What can I do to improve so I can be better the next time I go out there?' So even though I was a freshman, I didn't play like one. Throughout my freshman and sophomore years, I was trying to find ways not to play like a freshman or sophomore. I wanted to play like a senior, and as I've taken that approach every single year it's really helped me coming into this last year. The whole time I've worked I knew that something like this would happen."

During his junior year, Beck began to see his years of personal development begin to pay off. Surrounded by quality talent and now enjoying his second year within the same offensive scheme, Beck did not expect the anything less of BYU's offense than their current domination.

"We had spurts of it last year where the offense really was unstoppable no matter who we were facing," Beck said. "You look at Cal this year and they've only lost a couple of guys on defense from last year, and no body really on offense except a center and one lineman. They've got a new quarterback but it's mostly the same Cal team we faced in the bowl game, and we had three 90-yard plus drives against them and now their 8th in the nation. I think we knew the whole time that this offense was going to come to this, and now it's right here at our finger tips. We just can't let it fall and have to keep executing and executing."

With every game Beck inches closer and closer to passing another BYU QB great. Following the SDSU game, Beck had 8,689 total career passing yards to Jim McMahon's 9,536 passing yards. Through five games, he has connected on nearly 70 percent of his passes, completing 121-for-175 for a league-best 1,553 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The Cougar offense is averaging 44.7 points per contests. While on the other side of the ball, the Cougar defense is holding opponents to just 13.7 points per game at LaVell Edwards Stadium, and holds the best BYU scoring defense average through six games since 1988.

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