Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

We've got the beat

On this week's Fully Invested audio show, BYU beat writer Jeff Call and former BYU beat writer Darnell Dickson share their insights on the 2011 season. We also hear from BYU center Houston Reynolds. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fully Invested returns

The Fully Invested audio show is back. This week we talk BYU's Independence Day, preview magazines, the season opener at Ole Miss and give you a dose of Cougar Kool-Aid.

Click here for a link to download this week's show.

Friday, June 17, 2011

We're back ...

The Cougar Zone is being resurrected. The slumber was indeed too long. I have left my position as a sports editor and now work a day job at the local newspaper. I'm hoping this will free up my time and my creativity writing-wise for The Cougar Zone.
The main thing I'm bringing back is the audio show. I hope to expand it down the line into a full scale daily BYU sports talk show. Something fully focused on BYU football and men's basketball without all the nonsense that drives me (and you) nuts on Utah's sports radio stations.
Should be fun.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Change of plans for BYU's D-Line players?

One of the anticipated strengths of the 2009 BYU defense became a question mark this spring with the announcements that nose tackle Russell Tialavea and defensive end Ian Dulan would serve LDS missions.
While defensive end is still well stocked with talent, Tialavea's departure was a huge concern, with little depth or talent behind him.
Internet rumors have been swirling this week with 1280 The Zone radio host Hans Olsen stating that Tialavea was late putting his papers in and may play this season. Then came a CougarBoard post citing a top BYU defensive player claiming that Tialavea is taking a hard look at putting off his mission and playing this fall.
What gives all of that credibility is head coach Bronco Mendenhall's statements on ESPN's College Football Live program Thursday.
After stating that seven starters return on defense, Mendenhall said this: "Still a few mission plans pending, which at BYU is something you always have to consider. Based on what those plans are, we might need a little but more help at defensive line."
That sounds like Tialavea and possibly Dulan are wavering about the timing of their church service.
Having one or both of them back would be a huge coup for the Cougar defense and BYU's hopes in 2009.
With only one year to play, it would actually make sense for Tialavea to play this year and leave in early 2010 with his career wrapped up. (And maybe with a BCS bowl game to boot.)
Stay tuned to this one.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer survival kit

Obsessed with BYU football? You're not alone. But when you're among those who can't get enough Cougar coverage, the dogs days of summer can be brutal. Once fall camp begins, Cougar Cravings are easily filled between Greg Wrubell's audio interview posts on and the plethora of print and online coverage from the Trib, the D-News and the Daily Herald.
But today, with fall camp still weeks away, there's a derth of BYU football news for fans. Thus, I present my annual Summer Survival Kit for Cougar Nation.

BYU football: 2009 Summer Survival Kit
Video games
The list: NCAA Football 2010 (released on Tuesday, July 14), or any previous version.
Instructions: Play out the 2010 season, replaying games if you lose them the first time around.
The list: Last Miracle for LaVell, Remember the Titans, Rudy, We Are Marshall, Invincible, Brian's Song, BYU highlight videos (2006, 07, 08).
Instructions: Watch each movie 1-2 times during the summer as needed to fill your football fix. Almost all are good for a few man tears. Add in Friday Night Lights (fast forward the bad parts), the Waterboy or other football movies as desired.
The list: Cougarmania, Tales from the BYU Sidelines, Bleachers, Rolling with the Tide.
Instructions: Read tidbits of the first two as needed to satisfy cravings. For a quick read, grab John Grisham's Bleachers for a great football tale with some outstanding game play-by-play. BYU beat writer Jeff Call serves up a fun tale in Rolling with the Tide, following a QB from the mission field to Snow College to Alabama.
The list: 2009 season previews by Phil Steele, Lindy's, Athlon and Sporting News.
Instructions: Read, re-read and peruse as needed. The downside is each contains very little BYU info in the grand scheme.

The list: Recorded games from the 2008 BYU season, plus replays from the summer on the Mtn. and other recorded football games as needed. The Big 10 Network is great if you simply want to watch football.
Instructions: Watch and re-watch games to get your football fix. The first half of the 2008 game with UCLA is great one, along with the final quarter of the Washington game. Both the UNLV and CSU games provided thrilling endings.

Lather, rinse and repeat these with these items as necessary. Good luck. And remember, August isn't too far away.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

No reason for pessimistic outlook on 2009 season

A few weeks ago, I got a visit from a good friend. Like me, he's a BYU graduate and a sports editor at a daily newspaper in the western United States. As we visited, he informed me that even though he lives a good distance from Provo, he'd purchased season tickets.
He followed that announcement with something like this: "After last season, I'm totally pumped for this year."
That line took me by surprise. After all, last season left me with a completely different taste. I told him as much.
"I just told my wife that I'm done with the Cougars," I said. "Last season was so disappointing that I'm just not excited about BYU football this year. I'm really planning to give up the obsessing, the summerlong Internet searching for stories, etc."
And at that point, those were really my intentions. Usually, by late May, I am fullbore in BYU football mode. But I wasn't feeling it this year.
Then my friend's words started to swirl around my head. That's when I remembered reading numerous posts on CougarBoard and other sites last summer where fans said that 2008 would be a great year, but not THE year they were really looking forward to. That was 2009, when the top skill players on offense and the bulk of the defense would be returning.
2009 would be BYU's year to make a run at the BCS, they wrote. 2008 would simply be a good primer.
Of course, most of Cougar Nation shrugged off those arguments, consummed lethal quantities of Cougar Kool-Aid and anticipated our 13-0 run to glory.
When TCU annhiliated BYU last Oct. 13, the Quest for Perfection in the Win-Loss column was over. And by the time the Cougars limped off the Las Vegas Bowl field with a dismal loss to a mediocre Arizona team, the air was all but deflated from the BYU fan base.
But why? Why the pessimism?
Was last year disappointing? Sure. But only because of too lofty expectations.
Ten-and-three ain't bad, especially when two of those losses came on the road to teams ranked Nos. 2 and 7, respectively, in the final AP poll. And with the talent returning, 2009 should be special.
Yet, ask a BYU fan how the Cougars will fare this season and you'll hear "eight-and-four" or "maybe nine-and-three if we're lucky."
Truth be told, BYU should go 11-1 this season. Oklahoma is the only game on the slate that looks like a certain loss. With TCU and Utah at home, BYU should prevail. Same with Florida State.
Max Hall is a senior. Harvey Unga is healthy. There is a host of young talent at receiver and on the O-line.
The defense is experienced and should be strong as long as a few players step up at defensive tackle and in the secondary.
And 11-1 could be good enough for a BCS berth if BYU can at least have a respectable showing against the Sooners.
So hang those heads no longer. Rise and shout. Drink some Cougar Kool-Aid.
It's going to be a special year for Bronco's Boys. Let the Quest for 11-1 begin!