It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.
In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2018, Athlon asked coaches in the Mountain West to talk anonymously about their opponents.
Note: These scouting reports come directly from coaching staffs and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.
Mountain West Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2018
"The defense has been their weakness."
"The option system they use only works when you can’t take control of field position and score quick. They gave up big plays and put themselves in a bad position on offense. They’re not built to fight back."
"The talent level has declined somewhat, it’s noticeable compared to previous years."
"Still the class of the league, although San Diego State is catching up with their own style."
"Harsin feels like as much of a ‘lifer’ coach as you can have in this era. He knows that program so well, knows how to compete in the margins with the big P5s, knows how to bring in talent."
"It’s Brett Rypien’s team now, how he goes is how they end up."
"Their defense is solid. If the offense catches fire they can make a run at a New Year's Six bowl again."
"A really talented team, but a really inconsistent one."
"Mike Bobo can recruit and the school has invested in the program in a big time way. They want to be a Boise State, but it hasn’t worked out yet."
"K.J. Carta-Samuels was a huge get. Bobo is a QB coach through and through, so maybe that can jump start their offense."
"They turn over a lot. At time their defense looked too vanilla, then sometimes they seemed to confuse themselves."
"One of the best single season turnarounds I’ve ever seen."
"Jeff Tedford hit all the right notes, especially with the quarterback [Marcus McMaryion]. Watching the kid on film you could see that he was a transfer and didn’t have total command of the book but he looks like a longtime system guy."
"If they fall off some it’s because of their defense, losing the DC and most of their front. But the offense should be a level better."
"You can spot the roster issues they’ve got right now and you could really see it down the stretch last season."
"They’re changing their defense again and they’ve got to replace everyone in their offensive backfield."
"Nick Rolovich can recruit but they’ve had so much turnover it’s not as easy developing recruits. They’ve got big gaps at key positions like cornerback."
"On offense they’ll look more like June Jones than last year."
"Another rebuilding team that looked tremendously different at the end of the year."
"Bringing Jeff Casteel in as DC was a really sharp move; the talent available in this conference works well for 3-3 fronts."
"They got in the groove on offense and can score quick, they can get to the open space and hit chunk plays."
"They forecast as a shootout team, but you can still push them around up front on defense."
"No one knows what to expect with the amount of off-field stuff going around. I think most coaches expected Bob [Davie] to be fired."
"On the field we don’t expect them to stay with the base option with the new OC [Magee]. They’ll spread out more and work the receivers more, which should work well for them."
"They’ve got more skill position talent than most traditional option teams."
San Diego State
"A powerhouse program for the conference, they can seriously challenge Boise in a way that other teams can’t, at least not year in, year out."
"At this point we just assume they’ll replace Rashaad Penny with another guy and keep plugging."
"On defense they’re more versatile and bigger than what you get at our level."
"They can match up with Power 5 teams, just look at how they beat Stanford."
San Jose State
"Still rebuilding across the board but now they’ve got a core group of guys on that offense they can build around."
"There’s talent, just not experience, but they’ve got enough proof of concept to recruit to."
"Their offense looked functional for Year 1."
"You can see what they’re doing and what they want to be. Right now that’s what you want in a Year 2 total rebuild. And it was a total rebuild for sure."
"Everyone talked about the opening loss to Howard and forgot about them, but we saw a program headed in the right direction, especially on offense."
"Armani Rogers is a great talent at quarterback, they just don’t have the bodies on defense yet."
"They’ve got a lot of team speed and could sneak up on some other programs in the conference if they aren’t careful."
"Matt Wells is a great program builder. The smartest thing they’ve done is stick by him and his staff during this recent downturn."
"The defense was young last season, but also less aggressive. They were missing their usual attitude."
"The sleeper program in the conference. They’re deep enough on both sides to challenge Boise for the conference."
Related: Mountain West Predictions for 2018
"They could easily be a better team this season even with losing a NFL quarterback [Josh Allen]."
"I think Allen’s development might have overshadowed the bigger plan for Craig Bohl is trying to do there."
"The defense has been better and more disciplined each season since he got there."
"They create turnovers better than anyone in the league. Even with Allen this was a defensive team, they won’t change that."