Crowton Talks Injuries and Stanford at Tucanos Media Luncheon

PROVO -- BYU head coach Gary Crowton addressed local media this afternoon at the weekly Tucanos Football Media Luncheon. Crowton addressed the New Mexico game, the injury situation and talked about this week's opponent, Stanford.

"Well, it's good to stand up here after a win. That was a big win for us. New Mexico is a very good team, and played very well. It may not have been a high-scoring victory, but it was an important win for us. We're 1-0 in the league, right where we wanted to be heading in to this week's game."

"While we won the game, we lost some key players for a week or two. Matt Berry broke the bone in his little finger, a spiral fracture. He could be back for the San Diego State game, but probably Colorado State, or even past that. I'm being optimistic. So that we're clear, and there are no misunderstanding, or controversy, when Matt is healthy, he will be the starting quarterback. I think he's doing a tremendous job and working really hard. In the meantime, John Beck will start while Matt is out. When Matt is ready to go, he will be the starter."

"Also, Scott Jackson is looking pretty good. I would say that Scott Jackson is probable for this week. I know that Hanale (Vincent) did a good job in the game, and he will be very capable if Scott can't play. Fui Vakapuna will not play this week. He will be replaced by Fahu Tahi, with Kyle Wilson as his backup a fullback. Fahu looked really good in practice yesterday playing fullback."

"I'm not sure if Justin Jory will play in the game at this point. He might be ready to go, but if he's limping at all, I don't want to play him until the Air Force game. Philip Niu will get a lot of playing time as the second tight end."

"Stanford is a very good football team. It seems like every other year they have a great year, and last year they didn't have a good year. But this year they're 1-0. I think we have to be prepared for a really good football team. The quarterback they played, No. 5, he did a very good job. They played the other guy, the senior for about 10 plays. I'm not sure if he made it out of the first quarter. They do have very good speed and they are very athletic."

"I like where we are right now, winning that road game. That was a very good win for us."

Q: How much of the play calling are you delegating to Robbie Bosco and Todd Bradford?

A: "I like the system that we have. We're still trying to find ourselves. We're really young on offense, and we've played three really good defenses. Those are three of the toughest defenses on our schedule. There are some more tough one's on our schedule as well. UNLV, San Diego State and Utah are playing well right now. I think Todd and Robbie have done a great job. It takes a lot of pressure off of me and allows me to do other things. It gives me an opportunity to look at the whole game plan and be involved in a lot of other areas.

"There are a lot of demands for a coach at BYU that I didn't face when I was at Louisiana Tech. I like the way they are doing it, and I think the offense will continue to improve."

Q: Are you getting more involved in the defense?

"What I do with the defense is listen. I try and listen to what is going on defensively so I can communicate with Bronco what we are going to do in the kicking game or what we are going to do on fourth down. One comment he made is that we didn't need to be too aggressive down there (in New Mexico) lets make them earn it and you could see them making a few first downs coming out, hoping they'd make a mistake. And when he needed to, he blitzed them and stopped them on a key fourth down."

"I think the overall team concept on the coaching staff was very unified for the New Mexico game. It wasn't the prettiest win. You want to shut them down defensively and score 100 points offensively, but we didn't do it that way."

Q: Do you view Matt Payne as an offensive weapon?

A: "Yes. Another thing about Matt Payne is he is very good at fakes. He can run so fast, and he's big and strong. We did a lot of punt fakes last year. If they start putting a lot of pressure on us the punt fake is always an option. He is a very good weapon. And in the New Mexico game, against the wind, he punted great, pushing that ball inside the 20 five or six times. I think he's as good as there is in the country because he can kick and punt. He kicked off well."

Q: What challenges does Stanford pose offensively? Defensively?

A: "They're very athletic. They have some skill guys that can really run. They're trying to run the Florida offense, Steve Spurrier's offense, so they can move the ball well. So if they can isolate you and handle protections, they can get the match ups they want outside."

"Defensively their line gets a real good push without blitzing people, so they have guys in coverage. And when they do blitz, they have a good scheme because of the push of the line even if the backers don't get you the line can get up in your face."

"They did a real good job against San Jose State. They caused three turnovers. It was 10 to nothing and all of the sudden it was 21-10. They were able to turn it around quickly. They're pretty athletic in their secondary. They have safeties that can really run and their corners are athletic."

Q: What concerns do you have with Stanford's pass offense with the trouble you had covering New Mexico on a couple of plays?

A: "When you play a lot of man defense and you blitz a lot, you are vulnerable over the top. But we have pretty good cover guys. One time Jernaro turned the wrong way and his guy got open, but the quarterback overthrew him. Another time on the half-back pass they got behind us. Those are just things we have to work on, trying to recognize what they're doing. I think our defense has the ability to zone it up and not play man-to-man if we needed to. If they are throwing it up, we don't have to be locked up man-on-man."

Q: What is Marcus Whalen's role going to be in the game?

A: "I don't know at this point. Reynaldo Brathwaite is playing very well, and he's very versatile. Rey's a poised player. He can take the direct snap. He's comfortable with that. He has very good vision and understanding. He brings a lot to the table. Kind of like Luke (Staley) did. They are different style of runners. Rey has outside speed. He can cut back. Marcus is a little bit more of a punishing runner. We'll probably start out with Rey and work Marcus in and see how it goes. Hopefully, they'll give us a good one-two punch. I'm very happy with what Rey's done. He's given us that versatility. He runs well and can catch the ball out of the backfield."

Q: Do you have an advantage playing three games over Stanford, which has played only one game?

A: "The advantage is we probably know our team a little bit better. But they did do a scrimmage against a Division II or IAA team, so they've actually gone against somebody else. So they've really played two. They've had a week to prepare. They have been able to watch all three of our games because they have been on T.V. And they're not beat up because they haven't had to play two or three physical games in a row. I don't know if it's an advantage or disadvantage. I'm hoping we have the advantage, but you can look at it both ways."

Q: Will Stanford have a hard time preparing because of the change at quarterback?

A: "I'm sure they were preparing for Matt Berry up until this week, but they still have a whole week to prepare for John Beck. And John really is a pocket passer. He just has more scrambling capabilities. I think he's going to be a really good pocket passer. He's not like Lance Pendleton. Lance was more of a runner who could pass a little bit. John can really throw the football when he settles down."

Q: Are you concerned with throwing too much at John this week?

A: "I put a lot in on Monday and I took a lot out on Tuesday, and I usually do that. What I like to do is put everything in that I see might work and then after we go through it on the first day and take everything out that wasn't clean or I don't think will improve. John has got a real good feel for things. He's a very intelligent quarterback. He picks things up fast. I don't ever feel like he's overwhelmed."