BYU football: Brandon Doman's offense under scrutiny before matchup with Hawaii

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 25 2012 6:40 p.m. MDT

PROVO — BYU's passing game produced a dismal 61 yards last week at Boise State, the fewest single-game total since Bronco Mendenhall became the head coach in 2005.

The Cougar offense has slowed to a crawl, which, as a result, has accelerated the aging process for offensive coordinator Brandon Doman.

"Sixty-one yards passing, and I feel like I'm 61 years old," said the 35-year-old Doman. "Those two go hand-in-hand right now. It's not good enough. It's not going to win us ballgames. It's not acceptable."

Doman's goal since he became the offensive coordinator in 2011 has been to establish a traditional BYU aerial attack capable of generating prolific passing yards and touchdowns. But those were almost non-existent in BYU's 7-6 loss at Bronco Stadium.

Things are expected to get better Friday (6 p.m. MT, ESPN) when Hawaii's porous defense visits LaVell Edwards Stadium. The Warriors surrendered 69 points and 575 yards to Nevada last weekend.

Doman's play-calling counterpart this week is his former coach, Norm Chow, 66, who spent 27 seasons as an assistant at BYU and is now Hawaii's head coach.

"He was my coach for two years. I certainly got to know him pretty well," Doman said. "He's one of the greatest offensive minds of all time."

And as for Doman's status?

"I'm not the greatest offensive mind of all time," he said. "I'd love for someone to say that when I'm his age, but right now, I'm a long ways away."

Doman is responsible for the BYU offense, and it has fallen short of expectations this season.

The Cougars spent considerable time investing in senior quarterback Riley Nelson. Now, Nelson is dealing with an injured back, and if he's not healthy enough to play Friday, true freshman Taysom Hill could earn his first start.

Against Boise State, Hill replaced Nelson in the third quarter and led the Cougars on their only scoring drive.

"We've got an injured starting quarterback. He's a guy that we've put a lot of trust and confidence into," Doman said. "He wasn't physically capable of doing it the last week and half the way he needed to be able to do it for our football team to be successful. Did we take all of the right measures? I don't know. That's all behind us now. As we move forward, hopefully we'll make the right decisions."

In the last two games, BYU has had seven turnovers. Two of those turnovers directly led to points for Utah and Boise State — a botched snap that was returned for a touchdown against the Utes and a pick-six against the Broncos. The Cougars coughed up the ball five times against Boise State.

"We just need to eliminate some of the mistakes we're making," Doman said.

He also acknowledged that the offensive line needs to improve.

"We've got to create a better identity up front," Doman said. "That impacts the quarterback."

Hill's style of play helps the O-line, according to Doman.

"When (opposing defenses are) concerned about him running," Doman said, "the rush slows down, and it allows our offensive line to be more productive."

MORE ESPN GAMES: BYU's final two games of the season will be aired on ESPNU and espn.com, according to the BYU athletics website.

The Cougars visit San Jose State on Nov. 17 and travel to New Mexico State on Nov. 24.

HAILING FROM HAWAII: BYU has four players from Hawaii: running back Michael Alisa (Laie), tight end Kaneakua Friel (Kaneohe), and defensive linemen Simote Vea (Hau'ula) and Ian Dulan (Hilo).

Meanwhile, Hawaii has one player from Utah, tight end Harold Moleni, who is from West Valley and prepped at Hunter High.

THE SERIES: On Friday, BYU and Hawaii will meet for the 29th time. The Cougars lead the series 20-8, including a 41-20 victory over the Warriors last December in Honolulu.

BYU has never lost in Provo to Hawaii, winning all eight games.

Email: jeffc@desnews.com

Cougars on the air

Hawaii (1-2)

at BYU (2-2) Friday, 6 p.m. MT

LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo

TV: ESPN Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM

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