September 13, 2012
BYU looked a little too much like BYU
45-13, a blow out and dominant performance
right? There were some players that looked really good and made a bunch of big plays, but overall BYU took a step backward from week one on Saturday, and hopefully will be able to get back to top form in time for the rivalry game this Saturday.
Once again the run blocking up front was very disappointing. Even more disappointing than it was against Washington State because of the expectation against an FCS opponent. I certainly did not expect BYU to pass the ball more times than they did run in this game. I'm not saying the play calling was bad, Doman had to call pass plays because the run game was disastrous. The Cougars average 3rd down to go distance was 6.7 yards, which explains BYU having to punt 5 times. Weber State beat BYU in time of possession by three and a half minutes, and had the two leading rushers in the game on their team. Michael Alisa's rush yardage tally is likely not too far off from his yards after contact, and that is not a good sign when you've only faced two WSU defenses. BYU finished the game with a respectable number of rushing yards, thanks to good blocking on Falslev's long run and the athleticism of the running backs.
I do have some good things to say about the running game. Alisa is a great running back and Foote is very solid as well. Williams had some nice runs, and Lasike really looked good when he trucked a would-be tackler. I thought we would see Hine get a carry in this game, hopefully we'll get a chance to see him run some this season. It seems to me that we are best running the ball out of the shotgun formation off tackle. Spreading the defense out that way does seem to fit the skill set of this team, a mobile quarterback, athletic receivers that demand a lot of attention, a fast running back, and a poor run blocking offensive line. I also saw some things that I really liked running off tackle out of double tight end sets, which also fits BYU well with the depth that the Cougars have at tight end. It seems that the Cougars experience the most success running off tackle on the right side of the line, where Braden Hansen and Braden Brown are.
As good and deep as our running backs are, one could make a case for Taysom Hill being the second best running back on the team. What an athlete. Taysom showed some nice accuracy on a perfect pass to Mahina that almost went for a score. On the limited number of fade routes that I have seen Taysom throw he has underthrown each one. He is probably having a hard time dialing in division 1 receiver speed going down the sideline. He certainly has the arm to get it there, he's just finessing it a bit much. Lark didn't finesse his deep post route that he threw to Hoffman, and the master of judging deep balls couldn't quite judge it. Hoffman obviously not quite accustomed to Lark's arm strength, but Lark looked good other than his under thrown ball on 3rd and long on a deep out to Kuresa. It was a great read and well timed, Lark just threw it in the dirt. Lark looked very comfortable in the pocket and made good decisions distributing the ball. Riley battled some consistency issues with his accuracy early on, but he made good decisions and had a nice game for having to play such a one dimensional game. Nelson only tucked and ran 3 times in the game so that was very encouraging. I felt that his feet were much too happy against Washington State, that was a very important improvement to make in week 2. Riley is really good at putting the ball where his receivers can make a play on it over the defensive back, as weak as his arm is, he has always been very accurate that way.
And make plays they did. Hoffman is so good. I heard ananalyst say last week that you'll see quarterbacks fumble the ball in the opening weeks because they aren't accustomed to any contact from their green jerseys in camp. Hoffman was in a similar situation with his shortened camp that was already lacking physicality, and only playing in the first quarter against Washington State. I don't anticipate any future problems of Hoffman fumbling the ball. Kuresa really had a nice game, he got his Hoffman on and made a really nice play over a defensive back himself. He made a tough catch in a tight space on a low throw from Lark for a first down. He and Ridley are showing how deep this wide receiver corps is. It was good to see Matthews get a catch after all of the work he put in over the offseason. I was surprised that he wasn't able to elevate and make a play on Lark's deep ball in the end zone,his timing might have just been off so that he wasn't able to jump up and get it, hopefully he can get comfortable on those plays to utilize his height.
Friel has really impressed catching the ball the last two games. He is very Pitta-esque in how consistently he catches the ball in tight confines. He is a fantastic combination of height, size, hands, and athleticism. He has struggled with holding calls on run plays the last two games, which he really needs to clean up as the competition gets stiffer, especially as Wilson and Holt continue to get back to pre-injury form and nip on his heels for the starting job. Wilson made a nice catch downfield, and that safety experienced first-hand how difficult it is to tackle somebody who is that big moving that fast. Wilson looks like he is back to 100%, he is really running well.
Weber State also ran really well, which was almost assurprising as the offenses inability to run. The secondary was great defending the pass, and the front 7 was fantastic putting pressure on the quarterback.But the run defense was underwhelming against an FCS opponent. My expectations might be a bit high, BYU did hold Weber State scoreless until about the 5 minute mark in the third quarter, and it was probably mostly 2nd team players on the field at that point. But with how deep this linebacking corps is I was very surprised to see Weber State have so much success running the ball in the second half of the game, and while the starters were on the field in the first half as well.
It was a step backward in some critical areas, but some of the credit does need to go to Weber State and how physical they are for an FCS team, and not every game can be BYU's best game. We learned some good things about depth, the team gained some valuable experience, and they certainly learned some things that need to be improved upon as rivalry week moves closer to the big game this Saturday.
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