BYU Must Be More Offensive Against Boise State

<b>TODD WATKINS</b>

With a decisive defeat by USC still fresh on his mind, BYU head coach Gary Crowton pointed out the positives of the losing effort as building blocks for their upcoming game against the high-scoring Boise State Broncos this Friday in front of another nationally televised ESPN audience.

The undefeated Broncos (3-0) are currently ranked No. 21 and are the defending Western Athletic Conference champions. The have defeated Idaho, Oregon State and fellow WAC member UTEP in convincing fashion so far this season.

"We need to score more than 10 points to beat these guys, I can promise you that," Crowton said, alluding to the 10 point totals they have scored in losing efforts against USC and Stanford. "What they do is that they use a variety of personnel groups in a variety of different formations. They have a very good pass(ing) game. They have a very good quarterback and he's mobile.

Crowton talked a little about the importance of team confidence headed into the Boise State game in which the Cougars are 20-point underdogs. "Their team is very confident and that's what we're trying to do with this team. Because their offense scores so many points, we really need to do well offensively and pick it up. We need to continue to get on the winning side like we did against Notre Dame and I think we can. I can see some development with our freshmen and sophomores and that's a very good thing."

Despite the loss to No. 1 ranked USC, Crowton's takeaway from that game provided some interesting insights. "We came away very healthy from the USC game. I was encouraged by a lot of the things that happened. I'm disappointed with the loss obviously. I thought our defense played well at times, but they got tired toward the end from being on the field too long. Offense showed spurts at times.

"It was great to see John (Beck) finish a game," Crowton continued. "I thought that John's confidence was starting to build as the game went on. He game out of the game very healthy. He took no big hits. He remained very aggressive and positive throughout the entire game. I think you'll continue to see him develop more and more as he's able to play more and more in complete games. I liked the look in his eye and the competitive nature that he showed at the end of the game," he said.

He also commented on two other key contributors. "Todd Watkins did some good things and we're going to try and get him the ball some more. Matt Payne continues to get better. He'll continue to help us with field position.

Crowton seemed particularly pleased with the overall team effort. "I thought our composure was much better than it was against Stanford. We went in and continued to play hard even when things didn't go our way. They scored some late touchdowns, but we were in that game for the most part. I saw our freshmen, sophomores and JC transfers develop into BYU football players. We need to continue to develop them with every game."

He added that true freshman running back Raymond Hudson "was real wide-eyed and excited to get in the game. He had a couple of running plays and did well in pass protection. I'm just going to try and get him in more and more every week. Hopefully he'll continue to develop," Crowton said.

Returning his focus to Boise State, Crowton said, "I feel that we match up well against these guys. I'm excited about some of the match ups we have and we'll see how we do with those match ups on Friday. I feel like we can run the ball against these guys if we want to. They're very good up front and it will be a challenge." He added the Broncos' quarterback "Zabrinsky is a little more mobile. He's the same sort of guy as they had last year. You look at the tape and he's the same prototype."

Crowton also noted the effectiveness of their defense. "Boise State plays a lot of man coverage. They want to put a lot of pressure on you by putting a lot of men upfront. They really try to take away the run. They're a team that tries to get you to throw the football. They put a lot of guys upfront and try to get to the passer. That's what their forte has been."

He also downplayed any advantage the Broncos' blue field turf would play in the game. "It's blue turf … I just don't want any birds landing in there thinking it's a lake," Crowton joked. "Seriously, it's a unique place to play. Because the field is blue and that they wear all blue, it's harder to pick them up. They can get lost easier. I was talking to the Georgia Tech coach who played them in a bowl game up there and he expressed that to me. It's very noisy for having only 31,000 people. The seats are right on top of the field, so it's really loud up there. This (game) will be much louder than at Stanford."

One thing Crowton does not want to do is come even close to a repeat performance from last year when the Broncos blasted the Cougars at home. "I can't think of too many positives (from that game). We snapped the ball over the kicker's head, twice. We had an interception returned for a touchdown against us. We gave up two touchdowns on out routes because we missed tackles. I didn't feel like we played a very good game last year."

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