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January 22, 2014

Observations From Sitting Row 2

-- Spoiler alert: it's good

Some observations from that time I was lucky enough to sit second row for last fall's BYU-USU game.

- I always wondered if players really heard or paid attention to specific shouts from fans in the rows closest to the sidelines.  The answer to this, as I should have already realized, is a definite yes … assuming the crowd isn't cheering too noisily and/or in unison.  I noticed about eight or nine Y players flinch or look back at the crowd when hearing their name shouted down at them.  One of them even pointed at me in gratitude, if you hadn't heard.

- I'm not sure if this is the case at all road venues, but none of the Utah State fans around me took any shots at Coach Mendenhall.  Lots of players were heckled, obviously, but there were no, "You suck Mendenhall!" or, "What kind of name is Bronco, anyway?"  This surprised me, as Bronco seems to inspire major ire among all the non-BYU fans I know.  I figured he would receive the majority of the hate.

- Instead it was Mr. Kyle Van Noy who seemed to be the target of most fan distaste. (I suppose scoring on the first play of the game may have contributed to that.)  It was on this day that I also learned KVN does not mind jawing with hecklers.  My favorite of his back-and-forths?  After ignoring one troll for the entire first half, Van Noy finally engaged at the start of the third quarter.  At this point the fan's latest attempt to rile was based on his theory that Van Noy "sucked too bad" to be able to make any money in the pros.  Van Noy’s response that he would make more than the fan would at McDonalds was nothing out of the ordinary, but his mimic of a nerd pushing up his glasses -- for the mocker wore specs -- was comical to me.  I sopped it up.

I was this close to getting KVN's pick-six on camera.

- Vance "Moose" Bingham -- BYU's potential place-kicker of the future -- looked like a hobbit standing on the sideline with the rest of the players.  I can't talk too much crap because according to his Y bio he weighs about 10 more pounds than yours truly, but still the guy looked tiny compared to everyone else.  This leads us well into the next observation ...

- I'm surprised more players don't die on the football field.  Considering the size and speed with which players collide, and considering the head is often a principal target/battering ram within these collisions, and considering that mounds of people have died playing the seemingly less dangerous sport of baseball, I am legitimately surprised.  From my second-row perch I heard collisions like I'd never heard before.  One player got popped in the helmet and it sounded like a brick being dropped from a 20-story building.  Yeah, just like in Home Alone 2.  How do you keep playing live through that?

- Bronco Mendenhall is more LaVell-esque in his sideline demeanor than I ever realized.  With a lot of folded arms and pacing, consider him the anti-Harbaugh (but you already knew that).  Bronco's silence stands in contrast to the two non-stop talkers on the staff, defensive coordinator Coach Howell and offensive line Coach Tujague.  Tujague in particular screamed a lot of "Big blue, big blue!!" whenever the offense was to take the field.  I'm not sure what 'Big Blue' means but (sigh) I'm guessing it meant let's run a read-option dive up the middle.  (That or the offense enjoys mocking opponents' mascots prior to huddling?)

- Why does Mitch Mathews always touch the side of his pants after making a catch?  Are his pants falling down?  Are his hands programmed to go to his pockets to check his phone every second?  Does he have sticky glue smeared on the side of his pants?

- And yes, the Mathews high-top? buzz-cut? is just as confusing in person as on TV.

- I'm not sure if the crowd had gone comatose or what but I don't remember anyone clapping when Chuckie Keeton was helped off the field after his injury.  I'm not criticizing, just something I noticed. (I of course would have been in a state worse than coma had I watched the best quarterback in my team's entire existence leave with what looked to be, and was unfortunately, a very serious injury.)

- Jamal Williams may very well be the best BYU running back I ever see when it’s all said and done.

- I had forgotten how great blogs are for bragging about yourself in a not entirely veiled manner.  Did I mention that I got to sit on the 2nd row for a football game?  If not, look at this picture, count to five and remind yourself that I'm cooler than all your friends that haven't sat 2nd row.

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