So, what kind of offense will Brandon Doman create for the Cougars in 2011?
Well, as spring develops, we will get a better understanding of the concepts he will emphasize. He has made it clear he wants to keep defenses guessing. He loves the passing game and he wants to be less predictable while keeping execution high.
We do know BYU quarterbacks have done a lot of work out of the shotgun formation this past decade. You will see more formations where the QB is under the center, giving the offense additional flexibility in hiding the run and pass — less predictability. The QB can always go back to the shotgun if needed.
You will see more crossing routes by receivers and slot backs, putting pressure on linebackers and safeties to cover and make more difficult decisions.
You will see more deep passes to receivers and more passes to the backs in the flats to stretch defenses from sideline to sideline. You will see the tight end emphasized more than a year ago.
In generally, you will see a more aggressive attitude by play calls than last year. We saw this emphasis in the last five games of the 2010 season. Some of it was due to BYU’s opponents, which outside of the U of Utah, were not as good as teams than BYU faced in September and October with ranked Florida State, Nevada and TCU.
In BYU’s final five games of 2010, with what I believe had more Doman influence in playcalls and game plans, BYU averaged 42.4 points, 468 yards per game and converted third downs at a 60 percent rate. This came without the TE as a meaningful part of the offense as in 2009 with Dennis Pitta.
Against the toughest defense in that stretch (Utah), BYU’s offense scored 16 points on 293 yards and converted 6 of 15 third downs.
A player like Drew Phillips, will prove key in BYU’s new offense because of his speed out of the slot in certain formations.
What Navy’s Joe DuPaix brings to Doman’s offense is a more precise run game. He enhances that part of the offense by drilling ball carriers to attack defenders and keep on their feet. He’s also created a greater awareness in ball carriers of where the most effective part of blocking lanes are and how to develop skills to attack that part of the field with shoulders square to a designated gap for maximum power and speed through blocks.
DuPaix brings the philosophy that running backs can be elusive, but their most effective work is to plow through tackles, get tough, dish it out and keep upright and legs driving to gain more yards through contact. This forces defenders to absorb a physical beating, thus mental as well as physical fatigue. If defenders can be put in a position where they falter or screw up, runs can will become big gains. AFA does this extremely well.
The idea is, if you are going to use linemen to block and backs carry the ball, those plays must be just as efficiently executed as the passing game and not just something to hang out to give defenses something else to consider. If you call a run play, it has to have maximum capability of going all the way. This is the mentally of option teams like Navy and Air Force.
Just a few thoughts after witnessing some BYU football and speaking to sources this spring.
Jeff Call and I are in Denver for the first round of the NCAA tournament. Our newspaper has employed experience reporters to keep up with football this week in Provo. I encourage you to look for their camp reports.