2013 BYU Preview – Offense
CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - BYU Cougar Offense
Preview 2013 - Offense
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The offense wasn't consistent, but it started to find something that worked towards the end of the regular season blowing up in three of the final four games, but it helped that Idaho and New Mexico State were part of the mix. This year, offensive coordinator Robert Anae's attack has a lot of nice pieces, but they all have to come together. Taysom Hill is a dangerous quarterback with great running skills, but he has to be healthy after suffering a knee injury. The line has the potential to be solid with a nice base to work with, and Jamaal Williams is a nice back who should lead a decent ground attack. The strength by far is the receiving corps thanks to the return of All-America candidate Cody Hoffman, who's coming off a 100-catch season and in range to become the school's all-time leading receiver.
Star of the offense: Senior WR Cody Hoffman
Passing: Taysom Hill
42-71, 425 yds, 4 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Jamaal Williams
166 carries, 775 yds, 12 TD
Receiving: Cody Hoffman
100 catches, 1,248 yds, 11 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior OT Michael Yeck
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RB Jamaal Williams
Best pro prospect: Hoffman
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Hoffman, 2) QB Taysom Hill, 3) OT Ryker Mathews
Strength of the offense: Receiver, Running Back Depth
Weakness of the offense: Experienced Quarterback, Pass Protection
The Cougar offense appears to have found something in true sophomore Taysom Hill, who stepped in mid-year and ran for 143 yards in the win over Hawaii and finished with 336 rushing yards and four scores before getting knocked out for the year with a knee injury. At 6-2 and 218 pounds he has decent size and a nice passing arm, completing 59% of his passes for 425 yards and four touchdowns with two picks, but it's his running and playmaking ability that sets him apart from the pack.
At 6-3 and 209 pounds, sophomore Ammon Olsen was the 2008 Gatorade Utah Player of the Year throwing for 36 touchdowns and running for 860 yards and 11 scores, and with his size and athleticism he can be used in a variety of ways. A scout teamer last season, he's ready for the No. 2 job and should be like a bigger version of Hill.
6-5, 249-pound senior Jason Munns was wanted by USC back when it was USC, and he got the full court press from Nebraska, Oregon and other big programs, too. However, he hasn't done anything yet for the Cougars after suffering a knee injury early on and appearing in just two games last season. He has the size and the arm, but he can't stay healthy, missing time this spring with a concussion.
Watch Out For … Billy Green might not be an elite of the elite recruit, but he's a good prospect out of Seattle with 6-2, 196-pound size and excellent passing skills. He got to school early, and if he can step up this fall, the coaching staff won't be afraid to put him in the mix.
Strength: Mobility. It's been a change in attitude and focus with the BYU quarterbacks. Passing is still the key, but there are better runners than even last year when Riley Nelson and James Lark could take off. Hill is a terrific runner and Olsen can move well enough to move the chains.
Weakness: Experience and health. Can Hill come back roaring after his knee injury? Olsen doesn't have any experience and Munns hasn't had any luck whatsoever staying healthy.
Outlook: The Cougar passing game was painfully inefficient and inconsistent throughout last season with Riley Nelson throwing too many interceptions and with the offense bogging down way too easily. Hill should add a spark with his speed and running skills, while Olsen is an interesting prospect with nice upside. This isn't going to be the BYU of old throwing it, but the quarterback situation should be stronger than last season with a little more time.
Unit Rating: 7
The Cougar running game got very young very fast with true sophomore Jamaal Williams taking over the reins and leading the team with 775 yards and 12 scores averaging 4.7 yards per carry. A slippery 6-0 and 190 pounds, he tore off three 100-yard games with a 155-yard, two score day against Hawaii on just 15 carries to go along with back-to-back century marks against Georgia Tech and Idaho with five scores against the two. Also a good receiver, he caught 27 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown in his record-setting season. Fast, he's great in the open field with home-run hitting potential, but he's not going to be a workhorse. He'll be backed up by Adam Hine, a 6-1, 202-pound speedster who was never right last year, but when he's healthy he can be a speedster who can break off big yards in chunks.
Bringing more thump is the 6-1, 220-pound senior Michael Alisa, a banger who bulked up a bit but still has decent quickness and speed. He had an ankle injury a few years ago and suffered a broken arm last season, but he still finished third on the team with 222 yards and a score. He's not going to break off anything big, but he can catch and can be a decent inside runner. 6-0, 227-pound former rugby player Paul Lasike is another tough guy who can pound a bit, running for 129 yards and two scores. Used a little like a fullback, he can get physical and is never afraid to provide the big pop.
In an H-Back role, 6-0, 244-pound bruiser Iona Pritchard is a physical hitter who came back from a knee injury to act like a fullback as a blocker and occasional rusher, but he's not a receiver.
Watch Out For … AJ Moore is back and ready to roll after serving a mission, and he should play a big role. The 5-9, 200-pound Moore is a quick all-around back who can catch a little bit while also zipping in and out as a runner.
Strength: Quickness. Williams is a fast darter who can move in and out of traffic without a problem. A one-cut and go back, he's excellent at finding the hole and getting through it in a hurry, and Hine, when healthy, can do the same thing when he's right.
Weakness: Big plays. Williams came up with a few, but the most dangerous runner was quarterback Taysom Hill, who joined receiver JD Falsev as the only Cougars to average more than five yards per pop.
Outlook: The backfield has the potential to be fantastic if everyone is healthy and all the parts are working. Alisa is a talent with all the tools, but he needs to be able to show he can handle the work on a consistent basis along with the speedy combination of Williams and Hine. Hill might be the most dangerous runner, but the backs can do their part.
Unit Rating: 6.5
The Cougars have a superstar in senior Cody Hoffman, who put off the NFL for another year in an attempt to lead the team in receiving for a third straight year. He upped his game in a big way following up a 61-catch 2011 with 100 grabs for 1,248 yards and 11 scores highlighted by a special finishing kick cranking out 44 catches and four straight 100-yard games in his final four games. He destroyed New Mexico State with 12 catches for 182 yards and five touchdowns, and ripped up Idaho for nine catches for 108 yards and three scores. At 6-4 and 215 pounds he's big with nice speed and athleticism. A matchup nightmare, he can connect on the big play and come up with a slew of short-range grabs across the middle, too. Working as his understudy is the massive 6-6, 213-pound Mitch Mathews, a promising sophomore who got his feet wet last season with two catches for 27 yards in his limited time.
6-0, 182-pound senior Skyler Ridley turned in a nice season as a complementary target catching 20 passes for 206 yards and a score, coming up with a touchdown against Washington State in the opener, disappearing for a while, and then turning into a key part of the plan late in the year with 11 grabs in the final three games of the regular season. He's a good, smart route runner, while 6-3, 206-pound junior Ross Apo stepped up to finish third in on the team with a rock-steady 31 catches for 311 yards and a touchdown. He didn't explode and he didn't come up with any big plays outside of a 55-yarder against Idaho, but he was always good for three catches per game and became extremely reliable. He has the side, speed and ability to come up big with all the attention paid to Hoffman on the other side.
Returning to the slot is 5-8, 184-pound senior JD Falsev, the team's second-leading receiver with 37 catches for 274 yards and two scores as a good short-range target. He wasn't consistent, but he managed to use his quickness to find the seams and get open on a regular basis. Fast, he's a good punt returner and a steady, but not spectacular, receiver.
Junior Brett Thompson is a decent-sized 6-3, 220-pound receiving tight end who'll work at the Y combining with 6-5, 250-pound senior Kaneakua Friel, who started every game last season at tight end finishing fourth on the team with 30 catches for 308 yards and five scores. Friel isn't a deep threat, but he finished second on the team in touchdown catches. H's a good hitter who'll occasionally be used as an H-Back and a pure blocker.
Watch Out For … the freshmen. Talon Shumway is a 6-3, 200-pound big-time talent who was wanted by Oregon, UCLA and others in the Pac-12 after catching 72 passes for 1,049 yards and 16 scores last season. 6-2, 180-pound Michael Davis is instantly one of the team's fastest players with California state champion-level speed.
Strength: Hoffman. A phenomenal all-around talent, "The Hoff" will become the school's all-time leading receiver this year as long as he stays healthy. There's plenty of experience and skill around him, but it all starts with the No. 1 guy who'll come up with ten catches a game.
Weakness: Big play secondary targets. There's no excuse for BYU receivers to not average well over 13 yards a catch, but even Hoffman averaged a pedestrian 12.5 yards per play. It's a function of the short-to-midrange passing attack, but it would be a huge help if someone could blow the top off a secondary.
Outlook: The receiving corps was terrific last year and should a bigger plus this season with Hoffman an All-America candidate and Falsev, Apo and Friel all excellent complementary playmakers. If would be nice if there was more field stretching, but it's a deep group that should allow the quarterbacks to spread the ball around.
Unit Rating: 8
The line struggled way too much to protect the mobile quarterbacks and it didn't do enough for the ground game, and now it has to go on without Braden Brown at right tackle and Braden Hansen at right guard and center. However, a veteran like is back led by sophomore Ryker Mathews, who took over the left tackle job and started all 13 games. A great get for the program, he has the 6-6, 292-pound size and tremendous ability and great movement. Now he has to become more consistent and better in pass protection, but he has a great frame and the length to become special.
Next to Mathews at left guard is 6-2, 305-pound junior Solomone Kafu, who took over the gig in the fifth game of the season and turned in a steady year as one of the team's better, stronger run blockers. He'll work in a rotation with the massive Tui Crichton, a 6-3, 343-pound blaster who should be a physical presence for the ground game at either guard spot.
6-3, 285-pound freshman Kyle Johnson is the odds-on favorite for the right guard job with more athleticism and quickness to the position than Manaaki Vaitai, a 6-3, 317-pound veteran who started the final nine games but will now work more at center. A great recruit with excellent size and good run blocking skills, he'll move around where needed. If it's not Vaitai at center, it'll be 6-3, 285-pound sophomore Terrance Alletto, will grab hold of the starting spot after seeing a little bit of garbage time last season. While he's built like a right tackle, he's quick and should be good off the ball. Moving on on the right side is 6-8, 288-pound junior Michael Yeck, a very tall pass blocker with a terrific frame. With good enough feet to get by, he's impossible to get around thanks to his wingspan.
Watch Out For … Brayden Kearsley. JUCO transfers Josh Carter and De'ondre Wesley will provide instant depth at tackle and Tim Duran can step in at guard and Edward Fusi at center, but two of the team's three best recruits are true freshmen. JohnRyheem Peoples might end up working on the defensive front, but the 6-6, 298-pounder could work at offensive tackle and Thomas Shoaf is a 6-6, 265-pound prospect who slipped past a slew of Big Ten teams with great athleticism and quickness. But it's Kearsley who's the star of the show with 6-5, 298-pound size and elite skills. While he looks like a tackle, he'll eventually work as a guard once he adds a little more weight.
Strength: The left side. Mathews is still growing into the left tackle job, but with a full year of starting experience he should be far more consistent and far stronger, while Kafu is a good option at left guard with decent upside.
Weakness: Pass protection. The mobility of the quarterbacks had a lot to do with it, but the line struggled a bit too much in pass protection allowing 30 sacks on the season as defenses pinned their ears back and ripped into the backfield far too easily.
Outlook: It's a stretch to call the line a disappointment last season, but it didn't play up to its potential or expectations – so fine, it was a disappointment. There's tweaking to be done and there should be a little bit of shuffling as the year goes on, but there's a good base to build around and reinforcements on the way from the JUCO ranks.
Unit Rating: 6.5
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