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Dick Harmon: 10 reasons BYU's offense better in 2012

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 1 2012 5:02 p.m. MDT

PROVO — The goal? Score more than 391 points and surpass 5,274 yards.

Doable for BYU?

Not like a Tarzan call-of-the-wild kind of challenge, this is reachable.

Ten reasons one should expect BYU's offense to be better in 2012:

No neophyte: It's Year II for Brandon Doman as offensive coordinator. Rookie no more. He is more aware, more informed, more comfortable and confident with his system. He'll make fewer guesses with unknowns and more intangibles are tangible.

Humility: Doman openly admits mistakes were made a year ago and has more clearly defined who he is and what BYU's offense can do. That's a cornerstone for improvement for anybody's offense that switched strategies and leaders a year ago before Halloween.

Riley Nelson: The senior is an artist at excelling in chaos or when plays break down. D-coordinators say it's tough to defend spontaneity in a QB. Nelson bails out play callers and is a proven drive extender. He's gutsy, gritty, inspirational and his mates respect him.

The run game: Led by run threat at QB, BYU will deploy more unified blocking schemes they hope will lead to better execution. This gives Doman's crew a better offensive identity, thus confidence.

Less drama: Let's face it, a year ago BYU had more drama than a bus of cheerleaders. Riley Nelson is the undisputed leader of the offense if not the team. It was that way a year ago, but Jake Heaps was positioned as the starter. The offense isn't split with loyalties or confused with leadership issues. Nobody has to choose sides. Things go from cross-eyed to focused and draw respect from the defense.

Run game talent: For the first time since Harvey Unga, BYU has a guy in Michael Alisa with an established and designed role as a power runner with size. Senior David Foote is a great changeup runner and with the return of injured Iona Pritchard (ankle fracture), Doman has a legitimate lead blocker choice with Zed Mendenhall.

Staff sticks: In 2011, rookie coach Ben Cahoon came on board and most everything was an adjustment from CFL star player to teacher and coach. Doman's buddy Joe DuPaix is in his second year from Navy. The word is continuity instead of new starts and adjustments.

Law of physics: The Cougar O-line remains a big question mark, but slimmer, sleeker, more nutritious-minded and better trained players certainly will help sustain blocks, move feet and get to secondary blocks down field.

Cody Hoffman: Not since Austin Collie, Dennis Pitta and Andrew George has BYU's offense had an established and respected building block and Ross Apo is about where Hoffman was this time last year and moving forward.

Tight end dilemma: A battered, injured, youthful corps is so far ahead of a year ago in terms of conditioning, training and knowledge; it can't help but enhance Doman's choices and mechanics in designing formations.

The X-factor for Doman's offense is the offensive line. If this unit struggles, the house of cards falls. In spring, there were so many injured and missing bodies in this unit, Bronco Mendenhall had to alter drills and scrimmages. This is the single biggest factor to be indexed by the 2012 offense.

If BYU's O-line can establish a power run game and get the Cougars in third-and-short situations, 450 points and 5,700 yards is in reach.

The second? No duh. Health of Riley Nelson.

email: dharmon@desnews.com twitter: harmonwrites

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