An offensive line is best when it is heard from least. During the first four games of the regular season, the BYU offensive line was anything but anonymous. Porous run and pass blocking, procedure penalties, and a lack of cohesive play were the bane of the first quarter of the season. Offensive line coach Mark Weber has been under strict scrutiny for years as a result of what frankly has been an under-performing unit.
With the season-ending injury to Houston Reynolds, Weber shook things up on the offensive front. Braden Hansen moved to center, Famika Anae and his sweet polynesian tribal tattoo started at left guard, while Solomone Kafu and Manaaki Vaitai began rotating at right guard. The results were a step in the right direction. Sure, Hawaii has a horrendous defense, but were Washington State and Weber State any different? Something was different on Friday night, and it was on the BYU side of the line.
What stood out to me was the apparent nastiness that finally found host in the BYU front line. For too long, BYU's offensive line has been overweight, over-hyped, and emotionally malnourished. When is the last time a commentator or reporter opined that BYU's offensive line was ‘nasty'? Or played with a ‘chip on its shoulder.' I can't remember. It's been years, probably. Seeing Anae and Kafu play with swagger brought the thought to my mind for the first time. Will this continue?
Well, now is the chance for the Front Five/Six to show if this disease has been cured. BYU plays Utah State tomorrow in Provo. The Aggie defense is ranked 11th nationally and was effective against both Utah's and Wisconsin's stouter fronts. Beyond tomorrow night, the next three weeks will see the Cougar offensive line tested against three BCS opponents, two of which (Oregon State & Notre Dame), also have highly-regarded defenses.
It's time for the BYU offensive line to begin imposing its will upon opponents. It's time to start playing with an aura of confidence. It's time to live up to the hype and play clean football in the trenches. It's time for the BYU offensive line to become reacquainted with emotionally imposing football. It's time to get nasty.