Saturday, September 13, 2008

Classic Cougar Football

It’s that time of year again when the football fans get excited because football will be playing for the next 4 months. The BYU Cougars have got off to a great start this year beating some good teams. I grew up in a household where the Cougars football team was the favorite sports team in the family. I have many fond memories waking up on a cool autumn morning hearing my Mom playing the BYU school song on the radio while making us a great breakfast for game day. I wanted to spend a few minutes sharing some more of my favorite BYU football memories while growing up.

On every Saturday during the fall, we would wake up and enjoy my Mom’s breakfast and then go outside to do our weekly chores in the garden and in the yard, before the game started in the afternoon. The games usually started at about 1 in the afternoon so we would prepare hoagie sandwiches and chips while settling into our regular places on the couches. My Dad would go get his old radio and set up in the TV room because he preferred listening to Paul James rather than the TV announcers. I can still hear Paul James in my mind when I think of these fun days from many years ago. It drove my brother and me crazy because the radio announcing came a few seconds after the play on TV. We begged to turn the radio off and listen to the TV, but my Dad was probably the biggest fan of Paul James in the land of the Cougars.

The game was finally ready to begin. Once that kickoff was underway it was time to enjoy 3 hours of watching the greatest team on the planet. We loved to watch not only because they are BYU, but also because they had the best passing attack in football. LaVell Edwards was the coach back then and he loved the pass play. He had long passes, short passes, and shotgun formations. It was fun to see the long passes for touchdowns. It was fun to watch LaVell on the sidelines. We all know his famous facial expressions of frowns and no smiles. He took the game very seriously and knew not to get too excited and not get too upset. He was the most even keeled coach I had ever seen. His record over the years proved that his approach to the game worked.

The players (especially the quarterbacks) that he recruited and coached went on to have great careers in the NFL. He coached Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Marcus Wilson, Ty Detmer, and many others. Many referred to LaVell’s system and BYU as a quarterback factory and indeed it was. There were also great receivers; Glen Kowzlowski, Todd Christensen, Matt Belini, and others. They had countless amazing catches over the years. They had great defenses with one of my favorites being the defensive lineman Jason Buck.
It was a fun time for me growing up to be able to watch the awesome coaching and the great players on the Cougars football team. They had many great years and even received the national championship in 1984. Over the years they went to many Holiday Bowls and other bowl games and won the majority of them. Who can forget the incredible comeback led by Jim McMahon in the 1980 Holiday Bowl against SMU or the 1984 Holiday Bowl against Michigan that earned them the national title that year. The Las Vegas bowl brought some excitement last year when BYU blocked the field goal attempt by UCLA in the final seconds of that game.

The players may have changed over the years and now BYU has a young new coach, but they still have a passing game and a winning tradition. When you watch this year think of the great winning tradition and all the great games over the years and know that you are watching one of the greatest teams ever to play the game.

Just be thankful that you don’t have to listen to Paul James on the radio during every game.

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