What you need to know ...
While BYU technically uses the spread offense and
certainly has the ability to run the ball with Curtis Brown and
an NFL-sized offensive line, this is a passing attack. John Beck
is mobile, but he's a bomber with a good array of weapons to
work with. Brown is a fantastic receiver, and tight end Jonny
Harline is one of the nation's best. Now the wide receivers have
to step up with the loss of deep threat Todd Watkins. This is an
offense that can score in bunches, but it can't bog down like it
did at times. With more experience in the system, the attack
should be more consistent.
Passing: John Beck
331-513, 3,709 yds, 27 TD, 13 INT
Rushing: Curtis Brown
210 carries, 1,123 yds, 14 TD
Receiving: Jonny Harline
62 catches, 853 yds, 5 TD
Star of the offense: Senior QB John Beck
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore
WR Michael Reed
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OG Ray Feinga
Best pro prospect: Sophomore OG Dallas Reynolds
Top three all-star candidates: 1) TE Jonny Harline, 2)
Beck, 3) Reynolds
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, backfield, tight
Weakness of the offense:
Wide receiver, backup quarterback
spread offense doesn't mean John Beck is going to be Alex
Smith, but he will run a little bit more to go along with his
excellent deep arm and passing talents. He should be in the hunt
for First Team All-Mountain West honors and should be a mortal
lock for a 3,500-yard passing season if he stays healthy. Jason
Beck has been around long enough to be a decent number two man,
but he doesn't have enough game experience to consider him a
great replacement for the other Beck. Brock Hansen, Taylor
Barnett, and Kurt McEuen will fight it out for the number three
The key to the unit: Develop a young quarterback.
With the Becks gone next year, someone needs a little game
experience to fall back on.
Quarterback Rating: 7.5
- John Beck, Sr. - 331-513, 3,709 yds, 65%, 27 TD,
13 INT, 73 carries, 61 yds, 2 TD
Beck had the look of the next great BYU quarterback last year
bombing away for six 300-yard games and a 517-yard, five
touchdown performance in the loss to TCU. He got better at
limiting mistakes as the year went on with a three-game stretch
in November where he didn't throw an interception, and now he
has to be even smarter in his decision making abilities with a
change up to a spread offense. He has the mobility to be a
decent runner, but his real talent is spreading it around in the
passing game. With three years of starting experience, he should
be able to handle himself well.
- Jason Beck, Sr.
The 6-2, 207-pound senior saw a little bit of time in 2004, but
didn't play last year. He has been around long enough to be a
reliable number two man and he has the quickness, 4.7 speed, and
vision to be a nice fit for the spread attack.
Curtis Brown is one of the better all-around
backs in college football and should be a fringe All-America
candidate. There's good depth behind him, even if there's not a
whole bunch of experience: Fui Vakapuna has all the talent and
speed to grow into a top producer, while Ray Hudson will be a
part of the rotation adding even more flash. There isn't a true
bruiser, but all three can run with power.
The key to the unit: Brown has to keep doing what he
has been doing, but he'll need a little more help. Vakapuna and
Hudson have to be steady producers right off the bat.
Running Back Rating: 7.5
- Curtis Brown, Sr. - 210 carries, 1,123 yds, 5.3 ypc, 14
TD, 53 catches, 454 yds, 8.6 ypc, 2 TD
Unsung because he plays in a supposedly passing attack, the
speedy 6-0, 205-pound senior can go on tears where he becomes
the offense's main man. He had six 100-yard days last year
highlighted by a 219-yard, four touchdown effort against Air
Force kicking off a string of nine touchdowns in four games.
While he's quick through the hole, he's deadly when he gets to
the outside and is a good enough receiver to be used even more
this year after finishing second on the team in catches.
- Fui Vakapuna, Soph.
Back after missing last year on a mission, Vakapuna has a great
set of talents with 4.4 speed packed into a 229-pound frame. He
got some work in his freshman season in 2003 rushing for 157
yards in a reserve role. He'll be used more in a power role than
the other backs.
- Ray Hudson, Soph.
The 205-pound sophomore redshirted last year after getting
a few carries as a true freshman. He's a tough back with a good
combination of speed and power, but he'll have to prove he has
the hands to be a reliable receiver.
There are more than enough options for John
Beck to throw to, but replacing top deep threat Todd Watkins
will be tough early on. Michael Reed needs to be
a field-stretcher at the X, while reliable inside targets
Nate Meikle and Matt Allen have to make more big plays. Jonny
Harline is one of the nation's best receiving tight ends with
backup Daniel Coats helping to form a tremendous tandem. The
overall experience among the reserves is lacking, but everyone
will get a chance to catch passes.
The key to the unit: Reed has to open things up for
the underneath receivers, and several backups have to see time
to form a steady rotation.
Receiver Rating: 7
- Michael Reed, Soph. - 18 catches, 236 yds, 13.1 ypc, 1
Reed saw a little bit of backup time as a redshirt freshman as a
steady backup all season long with a five-catch, 103-yard, one
touchdown performance against Air Force to show off a little of
what he could do. At 6-2 and 198 pounds, he has the side, but he
doesn't have the speed Todd Watkins brought to the X last year.
- Nate Meikle, Sr. - 36 catches, 292 yds, 8.1 ypc, 7
carries, 39 yds, 5.6 ypc, 1 TD
Meikle came over from the JUCO ranks to grow into a reliable
inside receiver. He's a smart route runner with good hands and
more explosiveness than he showed last year. He started the
season as the team's main target with a nine-catch day against
Boston College and finished with a 12-catch, 93-yard day against
California. He's fast enough to also be used as a runner on end
- Matt Allen, Jr. - 21 catches, 272 yds, 13 ypc, 2 TD
A reliable number three wide receiver, Allen is a nice fir for
the Z position with good hands and excellent route running
ability. He's not huge at 5-11 and 180 pounds, but he can handle
himself well across the middle.
- Tight end Jonny Harline, Sr. - 63 catches, 853 yds,
13.5 ypc, 5 TD
A tight-end-not-a-tight-end, Harline is a big wide receiver at
the Y position finishing last year as the team's leading pass
catcher while showing off the hands and deep speed to make him a
good pro prospect. He's a decent blocker with a strong 6-4,
240-pound frame, but he's all about catching the ball with three
100-yard games last year and a ten-catch performance against New
- Daniel Coats, Sr. - 21 catches, 189 yds, 9 ypc, 3
A good blocking 6-3, 256-pound senior, Coats will back up Jonny
Harline at the Y and be a big part of two tight end sets. While
he's not the receiver Harline is, he's not a bad target making
several big grabs throughout the year. He could easily grow into
the featured go-to receiver if Harline went down.
- Manase Tonga, Soph. - 6 carries, 28 yds, 4.7 ypc, 5
catches, 50 yds, 10 ypc
The main man when BYU decides to use an H-Back, Tonga will be
part fullback, part power runner, and part tight end. He's 5-11
and 235 pounds with decent hands. A good blocker, he's more than
athletic enough to make big downfield blocks.
- Zac Collie, Sr. - 11 catches, 158 yds, 14.4 ypc, 2 TD
One of the team's only experienced backup wide receivers,
Collie will be expected to play a big role behind Matt Allen at
the Z. After starting out hot with seven catches in the first
three games with two touchdown against TCU, he only made four
grabs the rest of the way. He was an Academic All-Mountain West
- McKay Jacobson, Fr.
One of the team's top recruits, the 6-0, 185-pound true freshman
got to BYU early and showed that he'll be a big part the offense
as well as in the mix for a kick and punt returns. He was a star
sprinter in high school and will be one of the team's fastest
While there's little in the way of developed depth and
the starting five loses center Lance Reynolds and guard Brian
Sanders, this should be the Mountain West's best line. Tackle
Jake Kuresa is one of the league's best and a great anchor to
run the offense behind, while the left side should grow into a
strength with 345-pound guard Dallas Reynolds on the verge of
really big things. Consistency will be the key early on; the
starting five stayed healthy playing every game together but one
The key to the unit: Be a bit better in pass
protection. This is a huge, talented line that needs to cut the
sack total down from the 25 allowed last year.
Offensive Line Rating: 7.5
- OT Eddie Keele, Sr.
The 6-5, 312-pound senior turned into s decent starter last year
playing all 12 games on the left side. He's still working on
becoming a dominant run blocker, but he didn't allow a sack all
year long. Now that he's bigger, stronger, and more experienced,
he should be in for a big year.
- OG Dallas Reynolds, Soph.
Reynolds turned into one of the big surprises last year stepping
into a starting role right away at left guard and playing the
entire year. He's a huge 6-4, 335-pound presence who turned into
a nice run blocker. He made the typical freshman mistakes with a
few problems with his consistency in pass protection, but he was
hardly a liability.
- C Jeff Rhea, Jr.
It'll be up to Rhea to take over for Lance Reynolds in the
middle after seeing a little bit of action in reserve. He has
good size and athleticism at 6-3 and 292 pounds, but it might
take him a little while before he's as steady as Reynolds was.
- OG Ray Feinga, Soph.
At 6-5 and 334 pounds, Feinga is big body ready to take over on
the right side for Brian Sanders. He was a star recruit a few
years ago and is expected to grow into an All-Mountain West
performer over the next few years. Expect him to be dominant in
the ground game right off the bat.
- OT Jake Kuresa, Sr.
Able to play tackle or guard, the 6-4, 339-pound senior will be
one of the league's best tackles coming off an all-star season
starting 11 games at right tackle. While he's a fantastic pass
blocker, he was beaten by some of the speedier ends last year.
Even so, he's a true All-America candidate and the anchor of the
OG Travis Bright, Soph.
The 315-pound sophomore is a big option behind Ray Feinga at
right guard. Since neither have any experience, there should be
a decent rotation throughout the year. He was a top recruit a
few years ago with enough athleticism to play tackle if needed.
- C/G Steve Aulai, Jr.
The JUCO transfer will be a key backup at both center and left
guard. He's 6-0 and 313 pounds with enough experience at the
lower level to be ready to play right away. He redshirted last
year and now will be in a battle with Erik Freeman for playing