PROVO — Brandon Doman endured a rough rookie campaign as BYU's offensive coordinator.
In many ways, his second year has been just as turbulent.
The Cougar offense has sputtered for most of the season, as it has struggled to hold on to the ball and consistently score touchdowns. Starting quarterback Riley Nelson has endured a back injury, which limited his abilities against Utah and Boise State. True freshman Taysom Hill played well in place of Nelson, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury at the end of a win over Utah State after what coach Bronco Mendenhall described as a "miscommunication" from the sidelines.
Meanwhile, turnovers doomed BYU in losses to Utah, Boise State and Oregon State. The Cougar offensive line has made plenty of mistakes and has been ravaged by injuries. And BYU ranks No. 79 nationally in total offense, No. 78 in passing offense, No. 93 in pass efficiency and No. 78 in scoring offense.
"As of right now, collectively, as an offense, we have underperformed this year," Doman said Tuesday. "I understand that."
Last week, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe told the Deseret News and KSL Radio that there are "chemistry issues with some of the coaching staff." He hinted that there would be some changes coming during the offseason.
"You could see some of our troubles early. We've addressed some of them, but some of them aren't going to change this year," Holmoe said. "It's been an eye-opening experience for some of our players and coaches to be able to see and say, 'Oh, OK, that's what we need to do.' I think there will be some changes that take place between this year and next year that will help our team in many ways, in different aspects, from technical details to things that will be noticeable. It will be good."
What was Holmoe referring to?
"I don't have any idea what he was talking about," Doman said. "But I did have some people say that he had said something like that in the media. Personnel, we'll have different quarterbacks and a few new offensive linemen playing. Not knowing exactly what he was talking about, that would be the only way I could justify what he was saying. I don't know if he was speaking about the offensive staff. If so, I better find a new job, I guess. But I don't know what he was talking about."
Holmoe's comments came days after the Cougars turned in perhaps their best overall offensive outing of 2012 in a 41-17 win at Georgia Tech on Oct. 27.
Asked if he was encouraged by the offense's effort in that game, Doman said, "I was pleased up front, that our guys, as banged-up as we were, they were physical and targeted well and played confidently. We slimmed the (game) plan down quite a bit. We rushed for 190 yards and it opened up our ability to get shots down the field. We got a handful of those that really makes a difference in chunks. And we won the field-position battle.
"For an offense, coming out at the 50-yard line most of the game was quite a benefit for us for us offensively. That helped a lot. I don't know if we played real great, but we had field position and ran the football well. That usually translates into victories."
BYU hosts lowly Idaho Saturday (8:15 p.m., MT, ESPNU). Nationally, the Vandals rank No. 98 in rushing defense, No. 116 in pass defense, No. 117 in pass efficiency defense, No. 116 in total defense and No. 118 in scoring defense.
The Cougars then close the regular season with games at San Jose State and New Mexico State.
"The unique challenge for us is to be able to finish now," Doman said. "That middle of the season for us was so tough. We've gained a little momentum. But I'd like to see us finish really strong and have a great end of the year. That's the challenge, whether it's Idaho or San Jose State or New Mexico State. I think we need to focus on our execution and getting better."
Doman said he likes the way coach Mark Weber has worked with the offensive line.
"I think coach Weber has done an outstanding job. He's had a tough job this year. Culturally, he's been working on that group a lot starting in January, getting them in the shape he wanted them in, and getting them to play the way we want them to play as a group and as a football program. It's been quite a work in progress."
Acknowledging the offensive struggles this season, Doman is pleased with the work of the assistant coaches overall.
"I love the guys and I think they've done a great job. I'm not happy with the collective group, but I'm happy with who the men are," he said. "I haven't had any reason to believe that someone else isn't. But that's not my call, and that's not my decision. And I don't worry about that. I have plenty of other things on my plate to worry about than those types of decisions. If someone else makes those, that's their decision."
Cougars and Vandals on the air
Idaho (1-8) at BYU (5-4)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MT
LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM