15 April 2013

BYU Football thoughts


I attended the BYU Spring Game a couple weeks ago with my Dad and brothers. It was surprisingly warm and we all got a little sunburned, with the exception of my Dad, who wore long sleeves and an Indiana Jones hat. Anyway, it was good to be at LaVell Edwards Stadium again, I became moderately excited for football this fall.

The problem with watching young quarterbacks at BYU is that most of them won't see the field for another 5-7 years, assuming they serve missions. So while it was nice that Tanner Mangum looked good throwing the ball, he won't get play for a looong time.

It seems Taysom Hill is the anointed starter. He didn't participate in full contact plays, but did sling the ball around a bit before the actual game began, and honestly, I wasn't super impressed. He sailed more than a couple passes across the middle, the kind that go over the tight end's head and are easy picks for safeties. I've always thought Hill's arm is strong enough to make the throws he needs to (unlike Max Hall or Riley Nelson), but accuracy was, and still is, a concern.

A couple days later, Hill gave an interview on a local sports radio station and actually impressed me quite a bit. He spoke about how the quarterback running plays where the QB is trying to find holes between the tackles are gone, and now any running he'll do will be outside the tackles, towards the sidelines and away from giant defensive linemen and linebackers. The coaches have introduced him to the art of sliding to avoid taking a big hit. He wants to throw deep post routes to Apo and Hoffman. His confidence level is very high, and he feels like he can dominate anyone, just like he did in high school.

So we'll see. I expect Taysom to be a major upgrade from where this team was last season, but will he approach Johnny Manziel levels? I doubt it, but if Taysom can be smart about using his legs to keep defenses honest, while using his arm to keep defenses honest, we could see some great things from him.

Anae's return is fine, I guess. I think he's a better OC than Doman by a long shot, but Anae's insistence that he could out-execute every team he played when he was first at BYU frustrated me to no end. I hope his time under Rich Rodriguez, known creative playcaller, has given him a bit of a unpredictable factor. If opposing defenses aren't quite sure what to expect from BYU this year, I'll take it was a win.

Jake Heaps tore it up in the Kansas Spring game last week, throwing for 257 yards, four touchdowns and no picks. Disclaimers: it was a spring game. Kansas' pass defense has been really bad the last couple of years. Still, if Heaps turns out to be a good-to-great quarterback, my frustration with Bronco for choosing Riley over him will no know bounds.

I'm very glad KVN is back for his senior season, and expect good things from the defense again. A tough schedule combined with an upgraded offense and a minorly downgraded defense (fare thee well, Ziggy) means somewhere between a 7-9 win season.

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