One of the highlights of the annual Athlon Sports college football preview is the section that accompanies each team page and allows opposing coaches to anonymously dish, or diss, on various programs throughout the country.
The printed editions hit newsstands in June at the cost of $11.99 per copy. The Intermountain West region edition features BYU quarterback Jaren Hall and Utah QB Cam Rising on the cover, along with Colorado safety Isaiah Lewis.
recently, Athlon posted the “Scouting the Cougars” segment on its free websitewith some additional commentary.
Full disclosure: I write the BYU preview article for the magazine, along with the depth chart, rising star and other features, and have done so the past three years. However, I am not involved in the “what anonymous coaches are saying” segment and am not told the identity of those coaches.
Here’s what the anonymous coaches said about the Cougars this year:
On last year’s 10-3 record
“Kalani (Sitake) has changed the identity of this program. If they didn’t get the Big 12 invite, it is possible he could’ve gone and found a Power Five job after last season. The biggest criticism is that their success was riding the hot hand (Zach Wilson), but they came back and looked great last season, too.”
On BYU’s investment in program
“They’re investing in the program in ways they’ve needed to for a long, long time. It looks like the administration knows they have a really great staff and head coach, and they want it to look Power Five for the first time. It’s way overdue.”
On the upcoming season
“They’ve got one year left as an independent, and when they have that schedule, you notice them drift week to week. They play to the level of their competition, which is good and bad.”
On incumbent starting quarterback Jaren Hall
“The quarterback is another legit guy, fits their system, makes smart throws. But I think they’re going to have to push him a little bit because they’re missing the back (Tyler Allgeier), and it’s gonna hurt at first.”
On BYU’s future in Big 12
“One thing to watch for in the long term is how they recruit and develop their lines and their team speed. They play Power Five (schools) every year, but most of this roster will carry over to the Big 12. So you need better, physical line play. They used to have a reputation for much nastier linemen, honestly. So that team speed will be important because they need to get ready to come into a league where everyone’s just as big, or bigger, and probably faster.”
The Cougars opens the 2022 season on Sept. 3 at South Florida.