26 September 2011

Bad offense = fun?

Photo: Cool slideshow at byu.edu

The Friday night home game against the UCF Knights turned out to be a pretty good one. After the Knights steamrolled BYU's defense on their first drive, I was worried this would be a rout, but then the defense showed up, and despite a few miscues, played pretty well the rest of the night.

Thank goodness for Hoffman's returned kickoff for a touchdown, or this game could have turned out very differently, and Heaps' bad performance would have gotten a lot more scrutiny.

But here's the deal: Heaps plays better, BYU wins 40-17, and I'm yawning in the fourth quarter.

As it was, it was pretty much down to the wire, as UCF had the ball with over a minute to go with the chance to tie it. My brother Josh mentioned it was an exciting game more than once.

So maybe this year won't be a season of a few tough games and mostly cupcakes. I expect the game against Utah State this Friday to be a tough win, if not an outright loss, and who knows if Jake's errant passes will keep Idaho State, San Jose State and Idaho (yes, BYU plays both bad Idaho teams) in the game longer than they should be?

The home schedule may turn out to be far better than everyone expected when it was announced.

Other random thoughts from Friday:

1. Kyle Van Noy is a beast. The play where he ran down UCF's quarterback from about 15 yards out was a thing of beauty. You can tell the QB is thinking he just bought some time to find a receiver by rolling out, and then KVN is there in about .3 seconds for the sack. Here's the play:

Out of nowhere.

2. BYU's defenders sure are injuring a lot of opponents this season. Several running backs, a few wide receivers, and quarterbacks have been taken out more than once after getting hit by a linebacker or safety. While I like the intensity, I think I'd take a little less oomph if it meant fewer blown coverages and missed tackles. Wrap up first, blow up second.

3. The offense still can't score. They had one long drive for a touchdown Friday, and their other TD came after getting a very short field thanks to a muffed punt reception (shades of the Utah game).

4. Riley Stephenson had the game of his life. I've never seen him absolutely boom so many punts in one game before, and winning the field position battle was a major reason for BYU's win.

5. On that vein, Justin Sorenson was great. Three out of four kickoffs were downed in the end zone, and the one that was returned only made it out to the 16 or so. He was also nails on his one field goal. I hope they let him try one from 50 yards plus; I think he can get it.

6. UCF's running backs were great. Big, strong, tough to take down, kept moving their legs. One day BYU will get a back like that. Juice and DiLuigi are nice and all, but not really starting talent for a Top-25 team (not that BYU is a Top-25 team).

7. Jake was bad. Under 50% completion percentage, one pick (not exactly his fault, but it was not a great throw) and one near pick (see previous parenthetical comment) and missing on third down throws all night. His overthrow of a streaking Jacobsen let the entire stadium down. Kid has all the tools, and I hope he can put it together, but how many games is he going to be subpar?

8. The offensive line has issues. Their run blocking was atrocious most of the game, and they get blown up by opposing defensive lines enough that Jake feels like he's going to get killed all the time. Accurate or not, it's not good for your quarterback to be that jumpy. I know there are injuries, but it seems the last three years we've heard how amazing the O-line will be, and then they're fat, slow and not particularly able to shove people out of the way. Something big needs to change here.

Finally, something something Big 12 invite something. Cougarboard's been all abuzz about some rumored interest the Big 12 has in inviting BYU to the conference, but you know my take on non-news: I hate it. I'll talk about an event once an event has happened, not before. Call me crazy, but I enjoy discussing facts rather than freaking out over potential future happenings.

Utah State preview later this week. In short, the Aggies are schizophrenic.

No comments: