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News to no one: the offense has been horrible. Here are four things we need to see tonight to give us confidence that this ship is turning around.
This next sentence will only be a shock to those who haven't followed the Cougars since 2009: the BYU offense stinks. This has been true for several years, and last week's incredibly poor effort against Boise State was the latest evidence. BYU ran 58 offensive plays last Thursday, and gained a whopping 200 yards. Whatever the reason, the offense was (and has been) terrible.
BYU is favored by 27.5 points against Hawai'i, so this is not likely going to be a close game. Regardless of who plays QB tonight (I think it's likely Taysom Hill), here's what I would like to see the offense do to instill confidence that they can at least score some points against the tougher foes we have coming up.
Shuffle the offensive line. Greg Wrubell mentioned this on the podcast this week, and Jay Drew blogged about it yesterday. They coaching staff needs to give playing time to some of the linemen who haven't played, and they need to shuffle assignments to set up success. The line play has been a problem, and just trotting out the same group with the same assignments is not likely to produce better results.
No options to the short side of the field. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, take this play out of the playbook, tear it up, and never look at it again. Ever.
More creative formations. I watched a lot of football last weekend (shocker!), and I loved the creative formations of South Carolina, Michigan, and the NFL's Green Bay Packers. How about lining a TE in the backfield just behind the guard (like the Packers)? Or triple read options out of a 2-back shotgun formation (like Michigan and South Carolina)? The current plays and formations aren't working well, and change and creativity is needed. OC Brandon Doman needs to show he can get creative and not just trot out the same plays and vanilla formations and expect different results.
More Jamaal Williams. I think Michael Alisa will get better by putting him and Williams on the field at the same time. Zed Mendenhall is not a great FB, and he's no threat beyond blocking. I know Williams may have some pass game deficiencies, but I think having both of your best running backs in the game makes the triple option an actual threat, and it creates match-up problems for the defense. Williams has 18 carries this season, including only 1 carry against Boise. We need more of his explosiveness on the field.
Like against Weber State, BYU is likely to run up a bunch of yards tonight against a bad Hawai'i defense. But what I really need to see are signs that this offense can be good in the future against good defenses we play later in the season. If clear improvements aren't made in this game, we could be in for a very long season in which the defense will continue to be counted on to carry too much of the load.