The Cougars’ need for restructuring isn’t too surprising. They lost a nine-man senior class that Schneck said might be the biggest in program history, and among that group were devastating weapons like national player of the year Ted Ferrin, Andrew Harding and Corey Gunderson.
BYU also realized that when the irresistible force meets the immoveable object, it isn’t always a draw.
“You take the No. 1 offense in the country last year and you put it up against the No. 1 defense, and we couldn’t perform,” said BYU head coach Matt Schneck of his encounter with CSU in the semifinals. “So the reality is we’re obviously good enough that we had a very respectable season, and nobody is going to cry too much finishing up third, but our goals are typically a little more lofty than that.”
Schneck admits that with the experience he had on offense, he allowed his players to freelance on most possessions. As the Cougars enter 2013, the coaching staff – and new offensive coordinator Elliot Grow – will be pulling back on the reins.
“When you have players with those types of strengths, you let them go with it,” said Schneck. “That can be a good thing and at times it can be a challenging thing. When you go up against a great defense like CSU had, they start to take away some of those options from you, and all of sudden you start to realize that had we been playing in a system the entire year, things would have been a little bit different. We’re going to mix things up as we go into this year. You’ll see more system play from our offense.”
And there was also something to be said for playing as the defending champion.
“Coming off a championship, until you’ve experienced it, you don’t know what to expect,” Schneck said. “Having a target on our back the entire year was important because we were always getting the opposition’s best game. And there may have been a little bit of arrogance. We were still a very good team, but came up a little bit short. What we’ve experienced from all of this is the coaches have matured and the guys realize that these things don’t come to us on a silver platter.”