BYU Football Top 100: No. 17 Phil Odle, First Great Receiver
BYU Football will kick off the 2019 season in just 17 days!
Wide Receivers are often what can make or break a team. While no team can rely on just one receiver, it is nice to have a guy that if a 50/50 ball is thrown, the receiver will actually come down with the ball 85% of the time. Some names that come to mind for BYU Football that have done this include Cody Hoffman, Austin Collie and Mitch Matthews.
While each of these players was never the most important player on their team, they were a crucial part of the team that helped the Cougars win multiple games while playing.
Today's player in the countdown was the first great receiver for the Cougars and can be credited with starting to make the pass offense look possible.
No. 17 Phil Odle - Wide Receiver - 1965-1967
Back in 1965, for many teams the idea of passing the ball was almost a trick play if not on a third and long or a desperate two minute offense kind of situation. BYU Football was in a rut of being average to below average since... well always. They needed to try something new and Tommy Hudspeth, along with Lavell Edwards tried to experiment with passing the ball more.
Virgil Carter was the quarterback at the time, and he was asked to throw the ball more than just about any other team at the time. While those numbers would not compare to even an average team today, throwing 25-30 times in a game was unheard of.
As great as Carter was, it would not have meant much if his guys couldn't get open and catch the ball. Phil Odle was the receiver that got open.
Of Carters 1789 pass yards in 1965, 921 of them were caught by Phil Odle. 1966 was almost the same story. Odle was the go to receiver and he made the pass first offense work. If Odle wasn't able to get open or had a lot of drops, perhaps the offensive experiment by Hudspeth and Edwards would have been put on hold.
At the time, Odle's statistics were among the best in college football. However, when compared to other receivers in the Top 100, he doesn't quite meet the standards of the best. During his career, Odle caught 183 passes for 2,558 yards and 24 Touchdowns. That is a 14.0 yards per catch average, also really high for the time period. He only fumbled the ball twice during his career as well. Overall, he would be a great player to have even today, especially when you consider that the Cougars haven't had a 900 yard receiver in quite a while.
Memorable Moments B+
Back in the mid 1960's unless a team was a nine win team or a team that was nationally ranked, there just wasn't bowl games. Even though the Cougars were pretty good, without bowl games, the amount of memorable moments was limited for Odle. He did have some really nice games though with all three touchdowns in 1965 against a good Kansas State team, had the final touchdowns in close wins against Utah and Arizona and had a 242 yard game against Western Michigan.
The most memorable part of Odle's game is his change in the game. I can only imagine what it must have been like going to BYU games in the mid 1960's and seeing a team actually pass the ball on about 40% of the plays. Half of those plays went to Odle, making him a permanent part of BYU Football history.