I said it in our previous newsletter this week, but the last few days have made it clear that it needs to be repeated: When things aren't going well, people come out of the woodward (shoutout Nick Miller and if you don't understand that reference then shame on you) to pile on.
Think about it. We see it everywhere.
When you lose a huge client, obviously you're going to be fired as a result.
When you argue with your girlfriend, obviously you are on the verge of breaking up.
When the check engine light is one, obviously it's going to be a $10,000 repair.
Do those worse case scenarios happen sometimes? Yup. They sure do.
But more often than not, the worst case scenario isn't what actually comes to fruition. Usually, things aren't as bad as they seem in the moment and time ultimately proves that to be true.
This concept is especially true in sports.
When Zach Wilson throws an interception, obviously the Jets are going to start looking to replace him.
When Chris Brooks gets two carries and only gains three yards, obviously the offensive line sucks and Brooks was overrated.
When the defense gives up a big play, obviously Ilaisa Tuiaki didn't have his team prepared and the talent on the field is just not very good.
Sometimes those kinds of thoughts end up being true. Most of the time, there is a whole lot more context that nobody cares to look into or discuss.
This is human nature. In every aspect of life, it's easier to be negative and talk about the doom and gloom than it is to be positive and find the good. To quote a lovely LDS primary song - If you don't believe it, go and watch the news.
Negative is easy. Negative sells. Negative resonates with everyone because everyone wants to avoid the worst- case scenario.
With that preface set, please allow me to change the direction of where you thought this was going to go: This is not a plea about being a positive BYU fan. If you want to be negative, be negative. If you want to be positive, pat yourself on the back for making the right decision, and be positive. But ultimately, it doesn't make a lick of difference to me whether you want to be negative or positive.
Instead, this is an article calling out the negative thinking to hopefully illustrate that things aren't actually as bad as people make them out to be.
Scenario 1: Something happened with Spencer Fano that caused him to immediately leave the BYU game last week, decide to go to Utah, and replace BYU with Clemson on his wish list.
This rumor has run WILD over the last week, seriously, wild. I can't tell you how many people have reached out to me - publicly and privately - saying 'I heard such and such about so and so and now BYU doesn't stand a chance and I sure hope this doesn't impact his brother too.'
Now, I'm not a tabloid reporter so I'm not going to sit here and delve into what did or didn't happen. Why? Because I don't care.
Why don't I care? Because the Fanos aren't making their decision based on whether or not someone said something about their seats or not on Saturday. Even if what happened at LES is completely true, do you really think that literal years of recruiting and relationship building was just undone in a matter of minutes because of something that happened in the middle of a game?
Get real, folks. And use your logic when you hear these kids of rumors.
Fano eliminated BYU without talking to a position coach? To Kalani? To his brother on the roster?
Come on, guys.
Spence Fano may or may not choose BYU, I don't know. But I can promise you that the decision wasn't made because of something that did or didn't happen over a ticket situation on Saturday afternoon. No reason to make a mountain out of molehill just because this negative story seems to resonate at a time when the defense isn't playing well.
Scenario 2: BYU gave up 52 to Arkansas and 28 to Notre Dame and this is 2017 all over again.
I've heard this comment many times this week too. But guys, it's insanity.
BYU didn't lose to UMass and ECU this last week, they lost to Notre Dame and Arkansas.
No, things aren't perfect in Cougar Town, nobody is arguing that it is. But a loss to Notre Dame and a loss to Arkansas and now things are suddenly as bad as the worst season in 50 years of BYU football?
Can we please keep our complaining on planet earth, at least?
No less than seven people have sent me some variation of the phrase, "I can't believe Kalani let it get to this point again" this week.
My response to all of you with that thought in your minds: What point is that?
BYU is 4-3 and Kalani has already stepped in and started to make changes on the defensive side of the ball. If he comes out this week and the team responds to those changes, BYU will move to 5-3 and have some confidence going into a November with a lighter - but still challenging - schedule. At that point, BYU could still VERY easily end up 10-3 after a bowl season. If that happens, we're talking about one of the best three-year runs of BYU football in the history of BYU football.
So, what point has Kalani let it get to?
I get it, people hate the defensive scheme and have for a while. It's clearly time for a change and Kalani recognizes that too, so he's making a change.
But this mindset reminds me of something that former New York Jet Bart Scott said yesterday while discussing Elijah Moore's reported trade request. Moore, a talented wide receiver, wants to be traded from the Jets even though the Jets are 4-2 for the first time since the Nixon administration (don't fact check me on that).
"Everyone says they want to win, but they want to win their way," Scott said while about Moore's decision.
Folks, the same could be said about BYU football over the last few years. BYU went 11-1 and then 10-3, and people complained about the defense. There are only a handful of instances in BYU's history where they went 21-4 over a 25-game stretch.
But the defense wasn't elite - or even very good sometimes - and therefore, Kalani was letting something get to 2017 levels again?
BYU fans want to win, but they want to win their way, I guess.
Here is out I see it, folks. Kalani went 21-4 over 25 games. This year, he started 2-0 with a major win over a then-Top 10 team who booty-smacked BYU a year ago. Since then, BYU is 2-3 with a trio of very frustrating losses to very talented P5 teams. In those five games, Kalani has already made very real and very tangible changes to the defense that we will see on Saturday.
That's a head coach doing his damn job. And five games to make changes? That's pretty darn quick.
If you want to complain that he should have made changes last year, then you aren't actually about winning - you're about winning the way you want to win. I didn't always love watching that 2021 defense either, but I sure loved winning football games. And Kalani was winning a lot of football games.
So, when you hear this complaint or maybe this complain crops up in your own head, just ask yourself... are you complaining about the last five games? Or are you complaining about the last three years? Because if it's the latter, you don't actually care about winning, you care about winning your way.
(I can already hear the angry responses being typed out that say something like 'I knew this would be a problem so I complained a year ago because the offense actually won those games despite of the defense.' Before you hit send, please go check a box score and write down some tally-marks and then re-think your opinion.)
Scenario 3: Hugh Freeze talked about BYU being a huge game for Liberty so obviously that means they are more motivated than BYU.
I heard the speech too. I think it's a really cool milestone for Liberty. I wrote about the speech and about the speech that Freeze gave in 2019 that was pretty similar. This is a big game for Liberty and it is a milestone for their program.
But in terms of speeches to fire you up and motivate you, that was pretty damn soft.
And we didn't even hear what Kalani is saying to his team.
So everyone, just get real here.
Be negative. Be positive. I don't care. But be smart, folks.