Eye on the Y: For true success, BYU will need to overcome slow starts

The Cougars are a perfect 3-0 — but still have some issues to fix

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars fullback Masen Wake (13) is taken down by the Arizona defense in football action between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Arizona State Sun Devils at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.

So far, BYU football fought its way back into a national ranking and a 3-0 start. But, if the Cougars hope to continue their success, they’re going to have to start producing offensively a lot earlier.

With the exception of Saturday’s super quick touchdown (which was a result of good special teams play), we’ve already seen it in all three games: BYU struggles to even get first downs and ends up punting the first couple or few drives away, but by midway the second quarter, the Cougars start firing on all cylinders.

That won’t work forever.

As we saw on Saturday, teams are capable of making it close late in the game. Add in the extreme physicality of the game, which resulted in multiple injuries — luckily most were just minor — and you won’t want to be having to test your depth towards the end of the game when you could have put it away earlier.

Sure, the Cougars have gotten through one of the most challenging potions of the schedule already seemingly unscathed, but anything can happen at any time.

The BYU defense has been steady throughout three games, giving up just 16, 17 and 17 points against Arizona, Utah and Arizona State, respectively.

If the defense can continue to be as dominating as it has been, and the offense can pick up sooner, then expect the Cougars to be inching towards a Top 10 spot in the coming weeks.

Of what’s left of the 2021 schedule, I’d say BYU’s toughest games are Virginia, Baylor and USC. If they can squeak out wins against those teams, I guess anything is possible for this BYU squad.

Quick hits

• For those that have been too enthralled with football, BYU men’s basketball recently released its non-conference schedule. Here’s the breakdown.

• A Utah fan wore a shirt with former BYU quarterback Max Hall’s mugshot with a tasteless message on it to the Utah game. Here’s how fans responded and how Hall’s recovery journey is going.

• BYU getting into the Big 12 was huge, and Tom Holmoe was the man to get it done. This is the story of how Holmoe made this monumental move happen.

Other voices

• For those keeping up with what uniforms BYU will wear at each game, here’s the latest for the USF game, from FanNation.

• BYU to the Fiesta Bowl? That’s what Brett McMurphy thinks can happen if the Cougars continue their success. Here’s all of McMurphy’s 2021 college football bowl projections.

• In his second NFL game, Zach Wilson threw four interceptions and was booed by fans. Here’s his response to the disastrous day.