Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Couple of Mornings After: BYU vs UCF from Jake

Four games into this season and one thing is pretty clear about this football team: This is not BYU football as we have known it.

In the last ten years we haven’t had a defense this athletic, an offense this inconsistent and a special teams unit that, well, is somewhat special. We hope that the offense will catch up in the coming weeks but at least we know that our defense will show up when we need it to.

At this point I think every BYU fan has to eat their slice of humble pie and accept the fact that everyone was 100% wrong with their expectations of the offense. I won't go into detail about what people were saying, but most of us were wrong.

The funny part is this offseason BYU did everything that we the fans wanted them to do. We wanted Robert Anae gone and we got it. We wanted Brandon Doman as the offensive coordinator and we got that too. I’m not saying that those moves were bad ones, but they obviously didn’t make everything perfect.

Why are we struggling on offense? I could write a masters thesis on this subject, but I’ll just try and shed some light on what I think could be causing some problems.

"So I'm NOT as bad as fans said?"
Even though we all hated him, Robert Anae had a good offensive system. He learned his stuff under the tutelage of Mike Leach at Texas Tech. That being said, dear Robert couldn’t game plan or play call for his life. He got out-coached on a regular basis and that’s what ultimately what led to his demise. But like I said, the system that he brought over with him from Tech was a good one.

When you have an offensive coordinator that was formerly an offensive line coach, you have someone who knows how that unit works, inside and out. In all of the years that Anae was at the helm, the one thing we could count on year in and year out was that we would have a rock solid offensive line. Anae built his plays from the perspective of an O-line coach.

This year we have Brandon Doman who played three years in the NFL as a backup QB then made his transition to coach the same position in the college game. He knows the quarterback position and what needs to happen for them to succeed.

It’s possible that Doman focused a little too much on developing a high-flying downfield attack without putting a lot of his time into how things would work up front. Maybe that’s why we are seeing so many running plays blown up in the backfield and miss-communication on blitz protection.

I understand that the offensive line isn’t 100% and our running backs are sub par at best, but the offensive coaches knew what kind of talent they had coming into the season. It’s not their job to make sure we know how much we need a better running back. They need to utilize the talent that they have and go from there.

Like any new coach, Doman will have his struggles with the new offense, but I trust that he and Mark Weber, the offensive line coach, will figure things out.

I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time talking about Jake Heaps but I will say this. Every single time he goes back to pass, I get this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that something really bad is going to happen.

This same exact things would happen back in 2002-2003 when Matt Berry would throw the ball. The sad thing is Jake has the potential to be as good as, if not better than, Max Hall or John Beck. As of right now, he’s just a head case. I can’t figure out if he is overthinking everything or if he isn’t thinking at all.

The biggest problem with Jake is his inability to put touch on his passes. He needs to take some time and watch a couple of Boise State game tapes. Jake could learn a thing or two from Kellen Moore on how to throw a catchable ball.

This is by far, the most entertaining defense that BYU has produced in the last 20 years. Last week I made the trek out to Provo and despite the fact that we got embarrassed, I came away knowing that we have a crazy athletic defense.

Before every game I have a ritual where I go down to the east sideline and watch BYU warm up. I have been doing this for the last three years and what I saw last Saturday was a defense that is bigger and faster than any BYU defense I have ever witnessed.

This is manifest in their play on the field as well. There are certain years when BYU has touted amazing athletes but for some reason it never really showed up on game day. These guys are for real. Kyle Van Noy is a freak of nature. If you watch that sack that he had on the last series, you don’t even see him on the screen then he flies into the backfield to take down one of the fastest QBs in Division I football. And that’s just one play.

My favorite aspect of this defense is the way they smack people in the mouth. Every game we have seen at least three or four hits we have seen hits that are highlight worthy. Just think about the last four games and try to count how many players the BYU defense has knocked out of the game for at least one play. By my count there are at least 12.

The defense isn’t perfect by any means, but they play hard and they are fun to watch. Even if they give up a big play they are still laying people out and causing turnovers.

Play of day goes to Cody Hoffman, not for his 93-yard kickoff return that ended a 13-year drought for he Cougars. On J.J. DiLuigi’s 18 yard touchdown run, Hoffman has a textbook block that allowed J.J. to cut up the field and into the end zone. Most wide outs will get lazy with their blocking technique but Cody stuck with it. It’s the little things like making a key block or running a good rout that will make a difference for this offense.

Posted by Jake
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