Taysom Hill: an elite in training

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Taysom Hill is two-faced. On one half, an elite runner, the other half, a struggling young passer. BYU is in new territory with a QB like Taysom Hill. BYU has had some mobile QB's, but nothing to the level of Taysom . John Beck has described him as reminding him of Luke Staley, the Doak Walker Award Winner of 2001. We all remember Staley's scampers down the sideline for multiple TD's, but Taysom Hill? These stats may surprise you.

Taysom, an elite runner:

Taysom Hill has amassed 565 rushing yards and 6 rushing TD's on the season through 4 games, averaging 141.2 yards and 1.5 TD's a game. These aren't against patsy opponents either. Three of the four teams he's faced are BCS conference teams.

He is on pace to gain 1,836 on the ground with 20 TD's. Not only would that surpass BYU's Doak Walker Award winner Luke Staley back in 2001, but also last year's Doak Walker Award winner Montee Ball who finished the 2012 season with 1,624 total yards.

Hill is on pace to surpass the well known Oregon running back Kenjon Barner, who finished his Sr. season in 2012 with 1,624 yards and 21 TD's.

Taysom Hill is 4-2 as a starter at BYU, which is a .667 winning pct. His wins were against Hawaii, Utah St., Texas, and Middle Tennessee St. His two losses were to Virginia and Utah respectively by an average margin of 5 points.

To put a comparison on Taysom Hill is difficult because he has breakaway speed and ripped calves similar to Luke Staley, struggles with accuracy passing like many churn and burn BYU QB's, and has a 6'2, 221lb frame similar to some BYU greats John Beck, Max Hall, or Steve Sarkisian.

Taysom's passing:

He has the arm strength. Anyone that has seen him realizes that Taysom Hill can basically make any throw on the field according to his arm strength. This means that the tools are there, just that refining needs to take place.

He makes good decisions. He doesn't force throws that shouldn't be thrown. This primarily means that he doesn't throw many interceptions that are his fault. Of his 4 interceptions this season, 2 were the receivers' fault. Jamaal Williams in the Virginia game, and Paul Lasike in the Middle Tennessee St. game, both of them ironically running backs.

None of his interceptions have been pick 6's or even close to it. Comparative to Riley Nelson, who had many costly pick 6's or fumbles that turned into TD's, Taysom Hill is in a better place as far as decision making and a lack of costly turnovers that were directly his fault than the previous couple of seasons at QB.

Taysom Hill is faster than Riley Nelson or any other QB that BYU has ever had for that matter.

With all that in mind, the truth still stands that he struggles mightily with passing accuracy and efficiency. He currently has 1 passing TD and 4 INT's on the season (despite who's fault it was), making him, statistically, a very inefficient passer. BYU is 2nd to last in the country in pass efficiency, moving up from being dead last prior to the MTSU game.

His season completion pct. is at 40.6%, his QB Rating is at 83.9. He has been sacked 9 times so far this season, which is an average of 2.25 sacks a game. That can be blamed on three possible things: BYU's offensive line not giving him protection, BYU's receivers not getting open, or Taysom holding on to the ball too long.

But we've seen improvement. Taysom Hill has improved every game this season in completion pct. He started at 32.5%, then moved to 34.6%, 37.5%, and finally 73.7%. He's improved every game. I will find it hard for Taysom to average higher than 73.7% against Utah St's defense but slow and steady improvement, especially against quality opponents is key for Taysom Hill and BYU's offense as a whole.

BYU's team as a whole:

As stated in previous articles, 6 of the last 7 of BYU's losses have been by an average margin of 3.8 points. The defense and special teams being the main reason for this close margin.

BYU's defense is as good as can be, allowing 24 points or less in 20 of the last 21 games they've played in. It is definitely sufficient. Many coaches state that BYU's front 7 is one of the best in the country, and BYU's safety Daniel Sorensen is an elite safety for backside help in pass coverage. BYU's D is definitely sufficient.

BYU's rushing game is as good as it's been in a while with Jamaal Williams and Taysom Hill. The team averages 307.2 rushing yards a game. BYU's rushing game is definitely sufficient.

BYU's special teams is as good as you could ask them to be. Justin Sorensen hasn't missed any PAT's, and is 7 for 8 on field goal attempts so far this season. BYU's kick return and punt return game is better than it has been in a long time with Adam Hine being a TD threat on kick returns and J.D. Falslev being a TD threat on punt returns. BYU's kick coverage and punt coverage units are pretty good as well not allowing any returns for TD's and generally keeping the opposing team from good field position. BYU's special teams is definitely sufficient.

The difference between BYU being mediocre and elite is a good passing game away. This is the glaring weakness for BYU. Every BYU fan should be very conscious and weary of BYU's passing game, or in other words Taysom Hill and the BYU receivers. If BYU's passing game improves and it becomes one of BYU's strengths, or at least sufficient like every other core group on the team, BYU is well on it's way to being an elite program, literally nothing else would be holding it back.

3 things to watch for this week:

How well Taysom Hill throws the ball and what completion pct. he will have.

How well BYU's passing defense does against Chuckie Keeton.

How well BYU's team does as a whole on the road, currently 0-1 on the road this season.

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