Anyone see that coming? Eccentric, quirky coach Mike Leach brought his Air Raid attack to LaVell Edwards Stadium on Thursday night, and left without posting a single touchdown. It was the first time since 2006 that a Leach-coached team failed to score a TD (one TD was called back, negated by a holding call; A 47-yard pass that moved the ball inside the BYU 5 was also brought back by a holding call).
Of course, there’s plenty in the Tribune this morning on the game:
* Here’s the later version of my game story, which includes quotes from coach Bronco Mendenhall.
* Here is a notebook, topped by fans’ reactions to the new video boards.
* Tribune columnist Kurt Kragthorpe’s thoughts on the performance of Brandon Doman’s offense are here.
* And here’s a sidebar from the Tribune’s Jack Wang on how the Cougar defense shut down WSU after a rocky start.
Speaking of Leach, he didn’t emerge from the locker room to talk to reporters until about a half-hour after the game had ended. Not cool, when folks are on deadline.
I witnessed a funny exchange between the BYU alum and some fans before the game. Leach walked over to a guy and said, ‘Hey, what happened to Tacos, Too?’ The fan asked Leach what he was talking about.
"An eating place, Tacos, Too," Leach said. "Loved that place. Went there all the time. Guess it went out of business."
"Yeah, guess so," said the fan.
And with that, Leach headed off to the locker room.
Last Saturday, in a teleconference, Leach responded to a question I asked about what he gleaned from legendary BYU coach LaVell Edwards with plenty of praise for Edwards and the offense he installed in the 1970s and 1980s.
"I think offensively, we may look more BYU than BYU does, if you reflect on the LaVell Edwards days. You know what I mean?" Leach said. "I mean, there are plays that we run .... and we don’t run them exactly, but we got them from the golden days back there at BYU when LaVell Edwards was there."
Apparently, BYU players were not amused by that "more BYU than BYU does" comment, although Leach was clearly talking about BYU 20 years ago, not now.
"Overall, some stuff was said during the week, and it was clearly evident tonight that BYU looked like BYU, and the other team was the other team. So I was happy with our performance tonight," quarterback Riley Nelson said. "... When an opposing team comes in and says ‘we are going to look more like BYU than BYU will,’ I mean, how are you supposed to take that?"
Regarding receiver Skyler Ridley, who filled in for Cody Hoffman when Hoffman left the game with a left quadriceps contusion, Nelson said: "He’s a tough sucker."
I will have more comments from Nelson, linebacker Brandon Ogletree, cornerback Jordan Johnson and tight end Kaneakua Friel in later posts.
Here are a few postgame comments from Mendenhall, courtesy of BYU sports information:
"I thought they gave a really great effort. I thought our team played hard and physical. I liked the competitive nature of our team, and I liked the tempo. It was a nice way to start the season and to kick off the 2012 season. It was a cool atmosphere with the fans, and it was just a cool, cool night to for our players to play football."
"Riley is competitive and so tough. He has great leadership and that suits him really well. He demands respect, and when it’s hurry up, he gets everyone to the line and pushes the ball forward."
On Washington State:
"I thought WSU was a quality opponent. They have a good coaching staff and a good team. But our team was hungry."
On playing well in the opener:
"I was impressed with our team in general. I like their mindset: in the way they started, the way they took the field, and the way they finished. The players did a great job executing their assignments. ... Anytime you have experienced players, you hope to put them in critical situations where they make plays. It was fun to watch this team play tonight. Again, hungry is a great way to describe them."
On the running game:
"I liked the hard-nose running of Jamal Williams at the end. I liked what he brought to the team."
A few more notes from the game:
* BYU has held opponents to less than 300 total yards in seven straight games; WSU’s 224 yards is the lowest in that streak.
* Taysom Hill (first touchdown pass), Ezekiel Ansah (first tackle), Uona Kaveinga (first interception), Skyler Ridley (first catch, first touchdown), JD Falslev (first rushing attempt) and Williams (first rushing attempt) recorded career firsts on Thursday night, but perhaps lost in the shuffle was the fact that defensive end Remington Peck recorded his first sack.
* Cody Hoffman has caught a pass in 20 straight games and 26 of his 27 career games.
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