Tough to see the offense struggle after their performance vs Texas. The defense continues to reward the offense by putting them in positions to go out. Much is expected of this BYU offense (as it always is). As stated by Greg Wrubell in the post game show Saturday night, Utah scored 20 out 28 possible points and BYU scored 13 out of 35. It's hard to buy into the Blue Zone mentality when they continue to have such struggles in the red zone and consistently come away empty handed. Much is to be improved upon for the offense. No time to pout, this unit will need to respond quick this week.
Hill will need to be more efficient in the passing game, the receivers need to be more consistent with their catches, the O-Line needs more nasty that it had during the Texas game, and we need Williams back ASAP!
Utah obviously did a good job of coming into the game with a good plan of stopping Taysom in the run game. While Hill did run for 99 yards (including a long jaunt of 41) those yards seemed meaningless as his inability to complete passes and consistently move the chains in the passing game really effected what BYU was able to do on offense. 18 out of 48 passes just won't cut it (especially not against this schedule). Hill has ability, he just needs to be consistent. Hard not to think if the outcome would've been changed had he been able to complete 50% of his passes (something all starting Division 1 quarterbacks should be able to do).
For BYU to have success this year Hill needs to respond by being a more efficient passer. How Hill's throwing abilities go is how BYU's offense will go.
Running Backs B-:
It's not that running backs were necessarily bad in this game, they were just ineffective. Williams had a couple of alright runs but never really broke free before going down with an injury (good to hear he is doing alright, reports are that he suffered a concussion and severe stinger). Running backs need to be a factor whether it is moving the chains by grinding out yards on the ground or catching the ball out of the back field. However credit the only Cougar TD of the day to a 1 yd run by Alisa.
Cougar fans everywhere wish Williams a speedy recovery as the offense is much more explosive with him on the field. However Alisa and Co. will need to really be effective vs Mid Tenn St as they prepare for the rest of the season. This game will be big as other backs get experience to help prep them for some of the tough games ahead.
The receivers in my mind turned in a pretty poor performance. Cody Hoffman again was the lone bright spot and got snubbed on what appeared to be a great reach across the goal line (Alisa would later score the touchdown). Receivers seem to drop far too many balls this season. For this offense to be successful they need to start catching balls.
Cougar fans everywhere just ask that you become more consistent with catching balls thrown your way. This offense needs it's receivers to be able to consistently be catching balls, especially on 3rd downs.
Offensive Line C:
The offensive line didn't seem to really have an answer for the Ute defense. They were inept at opening holes during this game as Utah easily handled the zone option. The nasty that they had going on during the Texas game seemed to be lost. Hill was sacked several times during the game. For him to be able to get a rhythm down in the passing game O-Line play has to improve.
Look for the O-Line to bounce back after sloppy and uninspired play vs Utah. Mid Tenn St will be a good opportunity to work out some of the kinks in the line and further the understanding of Anae's system. If not, the showdown against the Aggies in Logan will be a long game.
Defense B- :
Hard to be crucial of a defense that just like last year is called on the field time and time again to do away with big plays. This defense is tough and resilient, they continually held Utah on 3rd down (1-14). But for this defense to really be a great or elite defense they will need to start creating turnovers. Pics and forced fumbles in a big game like Saturdays provide huge swings in momentum. Often times this defense plays like a wounded dog backed into a corner, all it's missing is the ability to create turnovers.
D-line play was alright in this game. However it seemed that Kaufusi was not quite the factor that the defense needed him to be. Manumaleuna and Peck both made some nice plays. The D-line did not get the pass rush that the defense really needed and Wilson was too comfortable throughout the game.
Look for the D-line to become more of a factor in pass rushing situations as putting pressure on the quarterback will be a must (especially against some of the better passing attacks they will face this season).
Van Noy continues to amaze me with his ability to close on a play. He made a couple of big tackles yesterday, especially when the Defense was trying to get the offense back on the field towards the end of the game. Other linebacker play from Unga, Fua, Jorgensen, Beck and Pikula seemed to be the bright spot of the defense. However, once again Wilson was too comfortable in this game. Linebackers need to be more of a factor.
Linebackers need to be creating plays in the pass rush, particularly creating turnovers. Being the most talented unit on the field for the cougars much is expected of this linebacking corp. Van Noy and Co. will need to start creating turnovers to give the whole team more momentum in big games like Saturdays.
Dres Andersen torched the secondary on Saturday with 8 catches for 141 yards with a long of 74. That 74 yard catch would've been a touchdown if it wasn't for good angles. The secondary showed that it was BYU's soft spot on the D. Andersen is faster than anyone on the defense, that we know, we also knew it before Saturdays game. Game plans will need to be made to contain speedy receivers of Andersen's caliber. The bright spot of the night for the secondary was the play on the ball made by Sorensen (it appeared to me that he made the pick, but hard to tell from the stands).
The secondary will get picked on this season if they don't lock things up. BYU is not known for having a lot of speed in the secondary but they do have ability. DB's will need to keep speedy receivers like Andersen in front of them, also the more pressure the linebackers and D-line can put on quarterbacks will go a long way in aiding BYU's secondary.
Special Teams B:
This was what seemed to be maybe BYU's best unit on Saturday night. Sorensen did miss a makeable field goal but did make 2 others. Hine's run back was brought back because of holding, a call the drunk slim shady in front of me continued to remind all cougar fans about throughout the night. Hine has great ability in the return game, however his 3 longest returns of the season have all been called back. The best part of special teams was Falslev. This kid came to play and made an impact in the return game. A 21 yd average per return with a long of 58 is quite a night. All BYU fans wish he would've been able to take that long PR to the house (as the offense would fizzle and come away empty handed).
Special teams needs to work on penalties in the KR game. If that can improve special teams will really be a big factor in upcoming games this season. Still encouraged by improvement in the kicking game by Sorensen and believe that he will continue to improve further.
These are the grades I give them for their performance last weekend. I look forward to next game to see some improvements.