BYU football: Changes along their offensive line pay Cougars immediate dividends

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

Braden Brown, offensive right tackle on BYU's football team,  is photographed on Tuesday, August 7, 2012.   (Laura Seitz, Deseret News) Braden Brown, offensive right tackle on BYU's football team, is photographed on Tuesday, August 7, 2012. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

PROVO — As a senior who has started every game since the start of the 2010 season, right tackle Braden Brown has seen a lot of changes in his career.

A few changes to the offensive line proved to be key in Friday's 47-0 win over Hawaii.

The coaching staff moved the other senior, Braden Hansen, from guard to center, and then inserted Famika Anae at left guard and Manaaki Vaitai at right guard.

The Cougars ended up rushing for 396 yards.

"Across the line, it's probably the best we've played all season, and we were able to be successful on offense because of it," Brown said. "Braden Hansen did a great job directing traffic and leading the group against Hawaii's defense. We brought in two new guards in and they did a phenomenal job. We focused a lot more in this game on open communication across the line. It really helped. It was really smooth. We played well as a unit."

Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman liked what he saw from the O-line.

"Our guys came out with a different mindset entirely. I didn't know that they would," he said. "I knew our practice had been different last week, and with the changes we made at center and guard, I'd seen it during the week. Usually, that transfers over into the stadium. It was fun to see that happen. I want to build a foundation that will last for a long time."

Going into last Friday's game, the offensive line had been struggling.

"There wasn't a culture of excellence. We were getting out-physicaled up front," Doman said. "We weren't playing very well. Either you change what you're doing or you change the people. We decided to change a few of the people around. We'll hit some hiccups along the way. But I think the changes have created a different mindset for us."

Part of Brown's mindset is to play cleanly. That's one of the ways he judges his performance, and through five games this season, Brown has committed only one penalty.

"That's something I try to do as a senior. I'm a fifth-year guy," Brown said. "I should know better than to get any procedure penalties. It's something I take pride in. Obviously any one of us gets a penalty, it hurts our offense and hurts our chances to score. That's something we all should focus on as an O-line."

TWO-FOR-ONE: Utah State is visiting BYU on Friday for the second straight year as part of a 2-for-1 series.

Word is that the Aggies would like to go back to a home-and-home arrangement.

"Obviously, to our advantage, 2-for-1 is better," said coach Bronco Mendenhall. "I'd like to hold on to that as long as possible. As this contract ends, we'll have to look at it closely. But I understand their feelings."

BYU and Utah State are scheduled to meet the next three seasons, with the Cougars visiting Logan in 2013, while the Aggies will play in Provo in 2014 and 2015.

STREAK OVER: Dating back to 2010, BYU had made 70 consecutive PATs. It stood as an ongoing school record, until the Cougars had a PAT blocked last Friday against Hawaii.

The streak was started with Mitch Payne and continued with Justin Sorensen and Riley Stephenson. Sorensen has never missed a PAT in his career (48-of-48).

Email: jeffc@desnews.com

Braden Brown

Year: Senior

Position: Right tackle

Height/weight: 6-6, 300

Hometown: Salt Lake City

High school: Highland High

Brown has started in 31 consecutive games, dating back to the start of his sophomore season in 2010.

Son of Les And Sheralyn Brown. His brother, Trevor, is a Cougar tight end.

Majoring in exercise and wellness.

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