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BYU football has least explosive offense in the NCAA. Time for Tanner Mangum.

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An offense with a crippling lack of explosiveness and a coin’s toss chance at a touchdown in the red zone, BYU should try a new QB.

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Many BYU fans are well aware that BYU has failed to reach the 20-point scoring barrier two games into the 2016 season.

In the first two games, the Cougars offense managed 18-points, and 19-points. Perhaps against UCLA, Ty Detmer’s unit can find a way to crack the 20 barrier — not just points.

Downfield Passing

BYU has failed to complete a single pass that has gained 20 yards or more this season. In fact, BYU is the only team in all of college football that hasn’t completed a 20 yard pass.

Missouri has 10. Middle Tennessee has completed 8. The Utes have collected 7 20+ passes. Air Force, ironically, stinks at passing. Surely they haven’t — no way! 5 20+ yard receptions! Virginia has 5. Even Utah State has 3 downfield completions.

That right, everybody that is reading this right now has completed as many 20+ yard passes for BYU in 2016 as Taysom Hill.

The thing is, BYU has an easy solution to this problem. He has more penalties than plays this season and he’s wearing #12 on the sidelines.

Tanner Mangum averaged just under 1 20+ yard completion per quarter last season. In fact, Mangum averaged a 40+ yard completion per game in 2015. Mangum’s 29 passes for 30+ yards made BYU the 8th best downfield passing team in the nation.

For the record, BYU has 3 20+ yard rushes in 2016. Meaning the Cougars have 3 plays from scrimmage that have gained 20+ yards. This ties for last in the nation with Kansas State and Buffalo — both of whom have only played 1 game.

Take a look at Taysom’s passing chart for this season.

When Taysom Hill is targeting receivers 20 yards or more downfield, he is 0-for-11 with 2 interceptions. When he is passing to a target 10 yards or more downfield, he is 4-for-19 (21.1%) for 64 yards with 2 interceptions. That totals for just 3.37 yards per attempt with a 28.29 QB Rating. Yikes.

Big plays matter. BYU has 3 short fields against Utah on Saturday. They started at Utah’s 29, 37 and on their own 47. During those 3 short field opportunities, BYU only produced 6 points on 2 field goals while reaching the red zone a single time. With more verticality, the Cougars could have scored more points. Instead, a combination of dinks, dunks, and penalties kept the Y behind the Utes.

Red Zone Efficiency

Lets play a game.

Blindly pick your quarterback according to their career red zone passing, and overall team red zone efficiency with them at the helm.

Take your time, pull out a piece of paper and rank them in order. Choose carefully and don’t peak below!

Comp-Att Comp % Yards TD IINT QB rating Redzone scores-trips % TD % FG % Empty Trips %
QB A 40-75 53.3 310 22 2 179.52 66-76 86.8 51 67.11 15 19.74 10 13.1
QB B 28-45 62.2 245 15 0 217.95 48-51 94.1 37 72.55 11 21.56 3 0.06
QB C 24-38 63.2 245 14 2 228.36 33-38 86.8 28 73.68 5 13.16 5 13.16
QB D 37-97 38.1 280 16 4 108.58 79-93 84.9 51 54.17 28 30.11 14 15.05
QB E 30-72 41.7 272 14 1 134.79 58-69 84.1 41 59.4 17 24.6 11 15.9

For obvious reasons, red zone efficiency is gigantic. It is a color commentator cliché to talk about how tough it is to pass in the red zone because of the lack of space, but it is critical to be able to pass when it counts as the field tighten up. From the small sample above, as a quarterback is able to complete a high percentage of their passes, his team will have a higher percentage of touchdowns when they reach the red zone.

Okay, back to our blind QB in the red zone selection game. Who did you select? Leave your blind answer in the comments below.

Comp-Att Comp % Yards TD IINT QB rating Redzone scores-trips % TD % FG % Empty Trips %
QB A - Riley Nelson 40-75 53.3 310 22 2 179.52 66-76 86.8 51 67.11 15 19.74 10 13.1
QB B - Tanner Mangum 28-45 62.2 245 15 0 217.95 48-51 94.1 37 72.55 11 21.56 3 0.06
QB C - Christian Stewart 24-38 63.2 245 14 2 228.36 33-38 86.8 28 73.68 5 13.16 5 13.16
QB D - Taysom Hill 37-97 38.1 280 16 4 108.58 79-93 84.9 51 54.17 28 30.11 14 15.05
QB E - Jake Heaps 30-72 41.7 272 14 1 134.79 58-69 84.1 41 59.4 17 24.6 11 15.9

A seemingly bright spot for the Cougars is red zone performance. Jake “The Make” Oldroyd has been a pleasant surprise. BYU is now a perfect 6-for-6 in the red zone. That’s good.

The problem is that it has only resulted in 28 points. The Cougars have scored 3 TDs and 3 FGs, while going 1-for-3 on extra point attempts. It isn’t bad by any stretch.

However, when you are the worst team in the country at generating big plays like the Y is, you can’t bring field goals to a touchdown fight no matter how much you love seeing Jake the Make cooly kick the ball right down the middle.

Taysom Hill’s 2nd chance at a senior year has held its Heaps-ian form as it relates to red zone efficiency. During Hill’s career, his teams score a touchdown 54.2% of the time in the red zone. The lowest red zone TD rate of any BYU QB this side of 2005 — even with his “best running QB in BYU history” credentials. This season hasn’t proven to be any different, his team produced TDs 50% of the time. As a career 38.1% red zone passer (for reference, BYU’s 2015-16 basketball team shot 38.2% from 3 last season), Taysom’s arm has made the Cougars fairly one-dimensional inside the 20. This contributes to the woefully low rate of touchdowns in the red zone with Hill under center.

As such, the Y has left themselves within reach in both games despite having opportunities to put some distance on the scoreboard. As a result, the difference between wins and losses in 2016 come down to a made field goal in the waning seconds and a missed 2-point conversion. Fun for heart racing finishes, but wholly unnecessary.

The Cougars 18.5 points per game this season currently place them in a tie at the 113th spot with the mighty Falcons of Bowling Green in scoring offense.

Once again, the guy on the sideline with a clipboard solves this red zone issue. Mangum’s squad was lethal in the red zone in 2015 finishing the season as the 6th best red zone touchdown efficient team in the nation. Nearly 25 percentage points better at red zone completions than BYU’s current starter, Mangum Magic didn’t just happen on hail mary plays. It happened on 72.6% of all red zone trips.

Tanner’s turn.

One of the bizarre notions I’ve heard from some BYU fans when the topic of Tanner vs. Taysom arises is that Mangum has more time left, so it’ll be his turn next season. Plenty of time to watch Tanner in the future. As if to say, Taysom won the starting job in fall camp. It is his now. Hill can’t lose the starting job. Sharing is caring.

You know who should disagree with that notion?

Ty Detmer.

Sean Covey beat out Ty Detmer in fall camp. Covey had a good resume of accomplishments. He passed for 1,668 yards in his 6 starts during his sophomore year. In 1988, Covey led the Cougars to a 41-point thrashing of a nationally ranked Texas team on their way to a 8-2 start. During this stretch Covey tossed nearly 2,600 yards through the air. Unfortunately, Covey was injury prone. Try as he might to fully recover from those injuries his ability to move the offense was stifled and frustrated enough that then-Offensive Coordinator Roger French decided to move on from the potential of Covey to the production of the underclassman Detmer.

As BYU’s Offensive Coordinator Ty Detmer still has a decision to make concerning his QB1. His Y offense hasn’t even looked close to menacing. They’ve looked tame. Despite the what if’s and hopes for unstoppable potential, Taysom Hill is still what he’s always been. A good leader and scrambling weapon that is undone by inconsistent, if not subpar arm talent and unlucky injuries.

With a talent like Tanner Mangum waiting in the wings, Detmer should be seriously considering seeing what his offense would look like with #12 at the wheel. At the very least it would have a 20-yard pass play.