And They Chanted, "Logan, Logan, Logan"

He may not be the biggest guy out on the football field, but what BYU cornerback Brian Logan may lack in size he makes up for with gritty toughness and good cover skills. Many opponents challenged him at the beginning of the season, but those challenges gradually dropped off as the season progressed.

When BYU played Oklahoma in Cowboy Stadium, it was David meeting Goliath. However, facing the gridiron Goliaths is nothing new to Brian Logan, who comes in at 5 feet 6 inches and 176 pounds. In fact, he's become very efficient at slaying those challenge placed before him.

"You know, I think Brian has been a tremendous pass defender all year long," said teammate and safety Andrew Rich. "It's kind of interesting. Opposing teams saw that he was shorter and a lot of teams tried to exploit that and attacked him. But he's been in position with every stride and has played exceptionally well. Now teams don't attack him as much because they know he's a great player."

"Well, being a religious person I have to first thank God for everything he's given me," said Logan. "It's kind of shocking, and like I said at the beginning of the year, I have to kind of pinch myself that I'm here having this kind of success."

Logan led the Mountain West Conference and was second in the nation this season with 14 pass breakups, and he also had three interceptions. For his accomplishments, Logan was recently named an honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated.

"I remember Coach Anae came up to me and said, ‘Congratulations on being named an honorable All-American,'" said an excited Logan. "I was like, ‘What are you talking about?' He said, ‘Yeah, you've been named an honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated.' I was like, ‘Coach, I barely made honorable mention for our conference, so what do you mean All-American?' Then Coach Anae said, ‘Do you have your phone with you?' I said yes and then he said, ‘Let me see it and I'll show you.' So he took me to the website and showed me, and I was like ‘wow,' and it really shocked me."

"It's based on statistics," said Coach Mendenhall. "[Logan's] towards the top of the nation in passes defended, which was unheard of. He's another player that's not little but short. He plays really well, and as I've mentioned at the beginning of the year, he's played better than any field corner we've had since I've been the head coach here at BYU. He's really been a great asset to our team."


Brian Logan records a pass breakup against Air Force

Although he received recognition from a national source in Sports Illustrated, Logan was a bit disappointed that he didn't receive higher honors from the Mountain West Conference.

"Not to take anything away from the other guys in our conference, but I was kind of disappointed in getting honorable mention for our conference," Logan said. "I was a little disappointed because for me to get honorable mention All-American while other corners in our conference weren't selected makes me feel like I was a little overlooked. Having the year that I had and getting honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated did help me with my confidence and it did make me feel good."

Logan feels he's come a long way since he first put on his blue and white BYU jersey. It wasn't all glorious and exciting, and there were bumps along the way.

"Looking back from day one, I struggled," Logan said. "As you know from the field corner position, we were all rotating. It was me, Robbie [Buckner] and Corby [Eason] and I finally got the starting spot the last week. I feel like I've made strides at the beginning of the season. Coach Hill really changed up the defense by having us play more cover-two rather than other types of coverages other people are used to playing. I'm more used to playing a cover-two, and now I can be more myself and could play more comfortable in my technique and make tackles for losses and things like that. After we made the switch, things started to slow down for me at this level."

Because the cornerback position is traditionally the hardest position for BYU to recruit, Coach Mendenhall has stated that his staff will look more at the junior college ranks to help compensate the need.

"Yes, there will be more emphasis there," Coach Mendenhall said. "There won't be many junior college players that we recruit as you know, but if I were to say at what position we might look, [cornerback] would be one."

Defensive coordinator Jaime Hill shared one of the crucial aspects of playing cornerback.

"The most important thing a cornerback can have is a short memory," said Coach Hill. "That's the first thing you have to have to be a good cornerback, is a short memory. "You need to have a short memory and you can't be afraid to make a play."

"A perfect example of that is when we played against Colorado State," Logan recalled with a laugh in his voice. "I remember I got that interception at the beginning of the game and then got a pass breakup. After that I got another pass breakup, then got that tip ball for an interception for Andrew Rich, and right after that I got beat for two touchdowns. Then after that I made a key play on a third down. So good or bad, you have to have a short memory when you play cornerback. Just like Coach Hill always says to us, you have to play like it's your last play."

Having a short memory, of course, isn't the only thing needed to be a successful corner.

"You can't play passive and you have to be a good, solid tackler," Coach Hill said. "You have to be able to put your body in a good position, and if you get a chance to make a play, then make a play."

"What I love about Brian is how well he tackles and how aggressive he is," Rich said. "He's fearless, and you look at a guy like that on the field and think, ‘Wow, he's not scared or nervous and is always ready for a big game or a big play.' We're grateful to have him around and thankful that he chose to come to BYU because he's made this defense a lot better. He's one of the best field corners that I've seen since I've been here, and you have to remember that I've watched BYU football too for many years, so he's up there."

What Logan brings to the cornerback position is that needed speed and transition ability that has made a vulnerable position successful.

"We'll we're talking more about transitional phase, whether it be downfield or turn-around," said Coach Hill. "You have to have good feet and you have to be fast, and you have to understand the game and know what the offense is trying to do. Then with that you need to know what your scheme and philosophy are. Those things will vary depending on the type of offense you're running against. Every game is different and everyone runs different stuff. We may run the same coverage call, but the concept of how we're running the coverage might be different game by game."

Rich feels Logan brings more than just quickness, speed or athleticism to the defensive backs.

"I think he definitely brings excitement to the corps," said Rich. "He plays with a lot of emotion and a lot of passion and that becomes contagious. I think that's really contagious and a lot of guys have caught onto that. He loves to play and he brings that aspect to the defense that we need. I don't know where we would be without him and I'm just so happy he's here. I'm just fortunate that I get another year to play with him and it's great."

For Logan, being a successful cornerback boils down to good old-fashioned hard work.

"For me, to be a good cornerback, it takes a lot of hard work," said Logan. "It takes a lot of film study and trying to get better at something that might be your weakness. Something that I learned from my uncle was he told that everyday when you go out to practice you need to focus on something that you need to get better at. So Monday I would come out and say, ‘Okay, I'm going to work on my footwork and Tuesday I'm going to work on my hip turn' and things like that. I didn't want to just settle but always try and get better."

During the game against Utah at LaVell Edwards Stadium, Logan suffered a major cramp and spend a while on the ground as trainers attended to him. It was then that he heard approximately 64,000 fans chanting "Logan, Logan, Logan."

"That was a crazy experience," said Logan with a smile. "I was cramping really bad and I remember the training staff was with me and I didn't want to get up. I remember my eyes were closed and I was squinting my eyes and I was holding onto the trainer's hand because it hurt so badly. Then I heard the crowd chanting my name and as soon as I hear that I thought, ‘Is this really happening?' After I heard the crowd I thought to myself, ‘I gotta get up. I gotta get up.' I got up and tried to play it cool but had to walk all the way across the field. When I got to the middle of the field and the crowd was still chanting, I'm not going to lie, I had to smile. I had to smile, and that will be one of the biggest memories I'll always take with me ... I don't think I'll ever forget that."


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