Ryan Teeples: BYU's offense is right on track, except for the second half of games
While Mendenhall is making corrections at the break, the BYU offense appears to have trouble handling the halftime adjustments of its foes. It’s possible the offense, young as it is, just needs time to work it out. But clearly Anae keeps coming up on the losing end of the locker-room analysis.
After its rough start throwing the ball in the first three games of the season, the BYU passing game has exploded and Hill is making strides with his arm weekly.
But Hill’s passing stats fall after the half with the team’s. In that prolific performance against Houston, Hill saw nearly 300 of his 417 yards through the air come in the first two quarters.
The success of the BYU passing game has come by getting the ball out of Hill’s hands and into those of its playmakers quickly. Slants, swing passes, screens and quick-outs all keep the ball moving and open up the seams and deep routes. They also keep the defense from stacking the box to stop the run, opening up the team’s strong inside run game.
But those quick-release pass plays seem to disappear in the second half of games. Instead, Hill is found holding the ball much longer on plays that take time to develop. Unfortunately, BYU’s offensive line hasn’t been able to hold the pocket long enough and Hill has been forced to scramble, take sacks or throw the ball away.
Whether the lack of quick-hit passes is due to adjustments by the defense or they’re simply not being called is a question only Anae can answer. And some fans may argue the play-calling is simply too conservative and predictable.
But the numbers clearly show an offense that struggles to move the ball in the second half and a passing attack that’s routinely grounded after first halves that produce yards and points.
Moving in for the kill
One thing that made BYU teams of years past so intimidating was their ability to hit the gas and not slow down until opposing teams were beat handily. That’s the current modus operandi of those previously-mentioned Oregon Ducks — a team widely feared, as it averages 55.6 points per game, second in the country, while giving up just 16.9 points.
For one reason or another, this BYU team hasn’t found its killer instinct. So far, it hasn’t affected any outcomes of games. But it’s worrisome. If the offense continues to flounder in third quarters, games will be lost.
Maybe the players tighten up. Maybe Anae’s play calling tightens up. Maybe it’s a lot of things. Whatever the cause, the Cougars need to find the solution before it costs them a game or dampens a potentially great season.
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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