No. 60 Byron Frisch – Defensive End – 1996-1999
Other articles in this countdown have mentioned how the 1996-1999 period was an awkward time for BYU Football. 1996 was an excellent season having BYU go 14-1, but the next three seasons saw the Cougars finish 6-5, 9-5 and 8-4. For most teams, these records would be good, or even a goal but at that time BYU was sort of like Ohio State today where anything more than two losses was considered a bad season.
During this time, BYU needed quite a bit of help on the defense. They weren’t scoring 40 points per game like they were in the mid 80’s and early 90’s and Byron Frisch was the answer that they got. Frisch played all four seasons while at BYU, but his impact came from 1997-1999 when he was needed the most. He can be responsible for helping BYU win at least six games that without his play may have gone down as losses.
A defensive end has one primary responsibility, contain and pressure. If a defensive end can keep quarterbacks and running backs between the hashes, more times than not that play isn’t going to go too well for the offense. Watching highlights during his time at BYU, not only did Frisch contain the outside, he forces players to run in the opposite direction. His one problem that I was able to diagnose is that sometimes he would go for the sack or bite on the fake prematurely and then allow a big play on the outside.
During Frisch’s career he totalled 204 tackles including 52.5 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks, five forces fumbles and three fumble recoveries. His 20.5 sacks rank him seventh all time for BYU during his career. The most impressive statistic is his consistency. Over his career he averaged between 44-57 tackles per season. The reason this is so impressive is because normally players have one break out season before defenses begin to take notice and change their gameplan around that player. Obviously that happened with Frisch playing all four years but it didn’t matter he still got the stats.
Memorable Moments C+
When a player gets his tackles in the backfield for 25% of his overall tackles that is pretty memorable. When you’re seventh all time in sacks that is pretty memorable. Causing five fumbles is also pretty memorable. I’ve watched highlights of games and can say though that there aren’t any huge moment plays for Frisch. His fumble recoveries and big sacks normally came in smaller games or blowouts. The exception seems to be Arizona State in 1997 where he had eight tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. I couldn’t find that game to watch, but BYU won the game by three points making that Frisch’s most memorable game.