Now I know what you’re thinking, how are they going to win 10 games? BYU is in a rut anyone who follows the program can see it right in front of them. The last three seasons have all finished with the same result: 8-5. The program has been through it’s highs and lows over these three years, 2013’s 8-5 was considered successful because of the difficulty of the schedule while 2014’s has been considered a failure because of the expectations that rose up after starting 4-0 and immediately came crashing back when Taysom Hill was once injured against Utah State.
But this season is different. BYU will win 10 games this year for three reasons.
The first is Taysom Hill, the darkhorse Heisman candidate is back for his senior year and hungrier then ever. BYU has always performed best when a senior quarterback is at the helm. Recent examples include BYU finishing with an 11-2 record in 2006 when John Beck was a senior and again in 2009 with Max Hall. Having an experience leader at the most important position on the football field makes a night and day difference with the confidence of the team. Look at what happened after he was injured last year, the wheels fell off and BYU fell flat on their faces with an 0-4 skid after one of the best starts in program history.
Of course, there is the concern that will be injured. Two of his last three season have been finished early because of freak injuries. There will be a few things that will effect that: Brian Suite is no longer a Utah State Aggie, in fact, BYU doesn’t play Utah State until the last game of the season, so following trends, he would be able to at least make it through the first 11 games of the season. Now another more serious reason is the hiring of strength and conditioning coach Frank Wintrich.
The second reason is Frank Wintrich. This is arguably one of the most important hire that BYU has made in years. Frank is the only coach on staff who works with the team year round and is able to monitor players progress closer than any other coaches on the staff. It’s been well documented how his philosophy of football specific training has been drastically different from what you’d expect to find in a football weight room. Wintrich is focusing on making athletes faster and more explosive. Gone are the days of players trying to power clean over 300 pounds, but instead they are now seeing how far they can throw an eight-pound medicine ball. Players receive the same benefits while putting less strain on their bodies. He has the track record at his previous jobs by lowering the amount of soft tissue injuries that teams have suffered under his watch.
BYU suffered an abnormal number of injuries last year and there was already a noticeable difference through spring camp with just one major injury in an MCL sprain to Sae Tautu during the spring scrimmage. To be able to avoid any sort of injury makes a huge difference in how the team will perform throughout the season. Through the first four games, BYU had almost no significant injuries, but starting with Utah State BYU lost for a significant period: Taysom Hill, Craig Bills, Alani Fua, Jordan Johnson, Jamaal Williams, Algie Brown, Bronson Kaufusi, Fred Warner, Adam Hine, and Dallin Leavitt, among others. Losing that number of key contributors is absolutely detrimental to a teams success, and if injuries can be cut back like expected there will be a huge difference in how BYU plays through the middle and back half of their schedule.
The third is Bronco Mendenhall. The man is a defensive genius and is back at the helm leading the defense, and hopefully to the success that has been the norm under a Mendenhall-led defense.
The front seven, one of the most vital parts of a 3-4 defense is back and is more experienced. Bronson Kaufusi is moving back to defensive end and has the potential to put up some incredible numbers off the edge. The secondary is the most volatile part of the defense as said by Mendenhall himself, but he will make sure that his players are prepared, assignment sound, and don’t make any mistakes.
There will be no more finger pointing, no more missed assignments, no more lack of execution. The scheme is perfect and it will be run to a T and because of that, BYU will be making a significant leap forward on the defense this year.
You can call me blue goggled, naive or that my claims are asinine. Mark it down, BYU will win a minimum of 10 games this season.