BYU football: Elisa Toyaki’s defense | Opinion

Elisa Toyaki It takes a lot of heat, especially when the BYU offense looks so cool.

The defensive coordinator prepares for his seventh season as he calls the blows for an old friend and head coach Kalani Setaki. While landings and fireworks keep fans ready to attack, his band plays a different rhythm – with a different goal.

Aaron RodrikTuiaki’s attack is designed to increase the chances of scoring while the Tuiaki defense tries to reduce the same goals shared by the opponent.

Some days are better than others, but overall, BYU’s 21-4 record over the past two seasons is a reflection on defense, just as attacking, although it’s sometimes hard to see.

The most important numbers don’t lie.

In 16 of the Cougars’ 21 wins between 2020 and 2021, Toyaki’s defense allowed 20 points or less — including victories over Utah No. 21 (16), Arizona State No. 19 (17), Washington State (19), Arizona ( 16), Boise State (17), San Diego State (14) and Utah (20).

When the defense allowed 21 or more points during the same time, whether healthy or riddled with injuries and handcuffs, the BYU is 5-4. Those four defeats were 14th at Coastal Carolina (22-17), and eventual Big 12 champion Baylor (38-24), Boise State (26-17) and UAB (31-28).

Do more with less


University of British Columbia defensive coordinator Elisa Toyaki gives a thumbs up to his players during a break in a football practice at Brigham Young University in Provo on Thursday, August 10, 2017.

Kelsey Brunner, Desert News

It’s safe to say that Tuiaki has done a lot more with less than any defensive coordinator in the country — especially when you consider BYU’s major casualty chain, the tighter schedule and work around the departing and returning missionaries.

Again, not all of the jewels in his shop are diamonds, but he made several defensive displays that maintained their luster during the ups and downs of college football. This is how you can score a 21-4 record, including a 6-1 mark against Power Five opponents last season.

The game that made the quarterback Zach Wilson It was the goal of the NFL Friday night in Houston, Oct. 16 on ESPN. With COVID-19 limiting the number of teams playing games in 2020, BYU is left to enjoy plenty of TV spotlight for itself.

Houston dominated early and led 20-14 in the first half. The home team scored again just minutes into the third quarter. But as the nation prepared to watch penalty shootouts on attack, Toyaki’s defense thumped and closed in on Houston the rest of the way, while Wilson and attack scored 29 unanswered to win 43-26.

A few weeks later, BYU smashed into blue grass in Boise, Idaho, choking the Cougars No. 21 Broncos defense to three points through three quarters, while offense stuck Boise State with its worst home loss since 1996 in 51-17 erase.

Later in 2020, the Cougars traveled to 14th place in Coastal Carolina to play in Toyaki received a notice three days ago To prepare for one of the country’s most unique and bizarre crimes that averaged 38.7 points.


Boise State quarterback Kid Finnegan is sacked by Brigham University defensive line Uriah Liatwa during the game on Friday, November 6, 2020, in Boise, Idaho.

Steve Conner, news agency

BYU struggled to stop running. Coast pounced 54 times for 282 yards and three touchdowns. But that’s all they recorded. The Cougars kept them to a season low by 22 points and fell within a yard of winning when Dax Millen She was saved before the goal line as time expired.

Another test for Tuiaki came at the Boca Raton Bowl against a Big 12 opponent in Central Florida. The Knights featured quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who led the nation in assists and overall attack and averaged 44.3 points.

again, while Crime dominated the highlightsTuiaki’s defense held the UCF by 23 points — 21 points below its average — in a convincing 49-23 Cougar win.

Stronger opponents, stronger performance

Last season, against the most P5 opponents in school history (seven) the defense answered the bell repeatedly.

Hayden Livingston’s fourth quarter objection and sophomore Keenan Bailey’s interference 17 So much for Arizona To beat them in the season opener in Las Vegas. The Cougars caught the wildcats to 16 points in a 24-16 win.


The BYU defense celebrates a missed field goal by the Arizona Wildcats during the Vegas Kickoff Classic in Las Vegas on Saturday, September 4, 2021. BYU won 24-16.

Jeffrey D. Allred, The Desert News

A week later against the 21st seed Utah, the defense kept Utes’ 10,000-yard pass Charlie Brewer in the backcourt, while firing him twice and forcing two turns. BYU Utah held to 2 of 9 only in third place. The Cougars celebrated running back Micah Bernard for fourth and second on the BYU 8-yard streak in the second quarter and celebrated when Utes turned the ball down with the last possession of the game.

Tuiaki’s defense Keep calm Utah in the attackwhile BYU quarterback Jaren Hall, who was playing with broken ribs, delivers on attack in a 26-17 win.

No. 19 Arizona suffered the same fate after a week. The Cougars’ stubborn defense chased Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels through the night, intercepting him twice, sending him off twice and, with the help of a boisterous crowd, making it difficult for him to run a play.

Upon takeover in the fourth quarter, Arizona State was penalized with four “false start” fouls in a 27-17 defeat. The win was beautiful, but the Cougars’ defense left the field feeling a bit sad knowing Bailey lost the season with a knee injury.

BYU traveled to Logan and Aggies grabbed seven points in the second half In a 34-20 win. New quarterback Jacob Conover replaced the injured Baylor Romney just before the break. The Cougars defense held out against a Utah State team that went on to finish 11-3 and ranked 24th in the AP Top 25 Final.

Three weeks later, against the Pac-12 leader in touchdown passes, BYU defense kept Jayden DeLaura out of the end zone and Washington State held at 19 points At home in a 21-19 win.

The coolest hour, the worst first half

Tuiaki’s best hour came after BYU’s worst first half in program history against Virginia and the former Cougars defense coordinator and head coach. Bronco Mendenhall.

The Cavaliers caught BYU tired in defense and scored 35 points in the second quarter to lead 42-38 in the first half. The full house at Laville Edwards Stadium sat stunned, but Toyaki didn’t panic. Instead, he tweaked the game plan to use more people in defense in the second half. He replaced more to keep new legs on the field, and decided to let eight defenders cover passes and dash with three.

Adjustments, despite losing on Tyler Allgeier’s five touchdown night, kept the Cavaliers on just seven points in the second half, while BYU exploded for a grueling 66-49 victory.

“I dropped eight and won the match for us,” Setaki told Deseret News. “And that was Elisa Toyaki’s idea. I think people need to respect him a bit more now.”

Even during the USC regular season finale, when the Trojans collected one of their best offensive nights of the season, it was the defense game that decided BYU’s victory.

Caleb Hayes Deal with the future of USC Gary Bryant Jr. On the 10-yard line from the Cougars with 38 seconds to play. Bryant needed six yards down for the first time, and Hayes held him until five and BYU took possession of the football.

In Independence’s defeat to UAB, where the Cougars’ defense is exhausted by injuries, they Only 10 points allowed after halftimHad it not been for Samson Nacua to find the Blazers’ 28-yard line with 3:36 to play, BYU would have been close to winning the game.

It’s not perfect, but it wins

Don’t get me wrong, Cougars’ defense isn’t perfect. no defense and Baylor loss Last year Tuiaki showed where he should go to compete in the Big 12 on a weekly basis – BYU has to be bigger, stronger, faster and deeper.


Baylor Dillon Doyle celebrates alongside his teammate after scoring a goal against BYU on Saturday, October 16, 2021, in Waco, Texas.

Ron Jenkins, The Associated Press

There will definitely be more heat on Tuiaki this fall, including the September 3 season opener in steamy Tampa, Florida, against South Florida.

He’s not sexy in defence. It’s like being the guitarist in a rock band. Everyone is watching everyone on stage, but for the band to reach their mark, the bass guitar must be played, or else the songs will be off.

With Billy, Peyton Willgar back from injury and a sophomore Ben Bywater Ready for the second season, the defense will be centered by midfielders. The high school is decked out with returning freshmen, including Hayes, Malik Moore and D’Angelo Mandell, and Tyler Batty leads a defensive line that Tuiaki thinks could steal the show.

BYU’s impressive run over the last 25 games has cemented the Cougars in the national election, filled stadium seats, and players recruited into the NFL and Big 12 took notice. In an attack-based program, it’s easy for a defense to be a little defensive. Give credit where he deserves it and for Tuiaki, he gets it done – beside the ball.

It’s not perfect. The Cougars can put more pressure on the quarterback and be more efficient in their third defeats, but they’re good enough to be 21-4 over the past two seasons and that record can help keep him cool when the camp heat begins on August 3 and the heat from fan expectations returns without a hitch. Doubt on September 3.

Dave McCann is a contributor to Deseret News and is the studio host of “After More Review”, co-host of “Countdown to Kickoff” and “Postgame Show” and stage host for BYUtv.


BYU defensive coordinator Elisa Toyaki mobilizes his forces during the game against South Georgia.