Keep in mind, Kaepernick was seeing this success in large part against the bottom half of Division 1 football. Hill’s sample does include his first start at a very bad Hawaii team, but includes three games against very solid defenses. You can bash Texas all you want, but Nevada was playing a Who’s Who schedule of the dregs of the FBS.
When you look Kaepernick’s numbers for his career against teams with a winning record, you find his completion percentage and rushing yards per game drop by double-digit percentages.
Plenty of work to do
Of course, nobody is going to say that Hill is currently on track to become Colin Kaepernick. After all, Hill lacks the size and strength of the former Nevada great.
But we get a glimpse of his possible upside. There’s no reason with lots of practice and game situations Hill can’t be pushing the 60 percent completion mark.
Last year against a Utah State, a top 20 defense, Hill completed 24 of 36 passes for 235 yards. So the potential is there. The consistency and accuracy, thus far this season, is not.
Aside from just making good passes, Hill also has to improve his reads. In the read-option run game, particularly against Texas, he was stellar with his reads. His good decisions allowed Jamaal Williams to gouge the defense between the tackles and sprung Hill himself loose outside all game.
Now that ability to read must translate to the passing game. His present shortcomings were illustrated clearly in a second half-drive when, nearing the red-zone, Hill threw a pass — his first read — into double coverage in the corner of the end zone. Had he progressed to his second read, he likely would have kept the safety on that first receiver and seen single-coverage on his second option across the field.
Once Hill learns to complete his progressions and make the smart pass — and do it accurately — BYU fans will have a pass game to cheer for in addition to the newfound ground barrage.
But it will take time. Kaepernick didn’t complete 60 percent of his passes until his senior year. But once he did, the Wolfpack was just one bad game in Honolulu away from a perfect season.
Hill needs similar reps to develop. The good news is, BYU has a run game and defense that will buy him plenty of time to improve.
And if he does, the next few years could be very bright for a BYU offense that, until last week, hadn’t shone since Anae was in Provo the first time.
Ryan Teeples, twitter.com/SportsGuyUtah, is a marketing and technology expert, full-time sports fan, owner of Ryan Teeples Consulting Inc. (RyanTeeples.com) and regular contributor to LoyalCougars.com.
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