The use of tight ends has been a long-standing BYU tradition. Just like BYU is known for it's rich history of QB's, it's also known for exceptional tight end play, but that faded away the last couple years.
What makes tight ends so dangerous is they are larger than linebackers, corners, and safeties. Tight ends are also very well disguised in an offense because they're a duel threat in the fact that they can block as well as go out for passes. When tight ends catch the ball they are very difficult to take down and will almost definitely get yards after the catch. Wide receivers and slot receivers typically don't break many tackles, they're used for their speed and hands. Tight ends, if they have good hands are very deadly to break down opposing defenses for the sheer ability to break tackles.
BYU, under head coach Bronco Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Robert Anae, has fostered some rich tight end talent. Bronco Mendenhall took over as head coach in 2005 and hired Robert Anae as his offensive coordinator. It didn't take long before some tight ends emerged such as Johnny Harline, Daniel Coats, Dennis Pitta, and Andrew George. It seems that once Dennis Pitta and Andrew George graduated and Robert Anae left, BYU tight ends left. Now Anae's back, will the tight end position be relevant again? Against Boise St., BYU tight ends were utilized like BYU fans of old remember them. 10 targets and 8 catches for BYU tight ends against Boise St. gives BYU a new wrinkle and element to the offense.
Through the first 7 games of the season, BYU tight ends only caught 10 passes total. 9 of those receptions were by Brett Thompson, the other one to Kaneakua Friel. The best game for a tight end through the first 7 games was Brett Thompson with 2 catches for 44 yards against Utah, the third game of the season. Against Boise St., 3 different tight ends caught passes, for a total of 8 catches by tight ends for the game. Mahina had 4 catches for 40 yards, Friel had 3 catches for 53 yards, and Marcus Matthews had 1 catch for 9 yards. The use of tight ends added a new wrinkle to BYU's offense that Boise St. wasn't prepared for.
BYU has an established running game with Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams with a few carries to Algeron Brown and Paul Lasike sprinkled in.
BYU's passing game to the WR's has been nothing short of excellent these past 5 games. Cody Hoffman is being his same self, Ross Apo has 3 TD catches the last 2 games, Mitch Matthews has emerged as a legitimate threat, etc. Hill is a 65% passer in the last 5 games, which is a huge jump from his 35% completion rate through the first 3 games.
Now if BYU can replicate their tight end play against Boise St. in future games, their offense will be very tough to stop. Tight end play was all that the BYU offense lacked, mix that in and BYU's offense will be banging on all cylinders. It is just another thing that opposing defensive coordinators have to game-plan for.
Are BYU tight ends back for good? We shall see. From what we saw against Boise St. we know they can play and impact the offense for the good.