PROVO — BYU's offense has been all about pace and tempo this spring under new offensive coordinator Robert Anae, who was relatively pleased with the overall progress of his players at the end of spring camp. That progress was notable during Friday’s spring practice-concluding scrimmage that produced some good moments but lacked the consistent effort Anae is hoping to develop in time for the 2013 season.
Friday's highlights included a 70-yard touchdown run from Adam Hine and a 52-yard pass from Christian Stewart, but also included enough hiccups to indicate a lot of work that still needs to be done.
“I was pleased with the effort in spurts,” Anae said. “There were times when our tempo was being compromised and our execution was compromised because we were not fit for that situation, so I’m looking forward to an (offseason) where we can work on that area.”
According to Anae, the spurts of positive offensive production Friday were better than what the offense showed in last Saturday's blue-white game, which indicates progress.
Throughout the spring Anae has pushed his players considerably and they’ve largely responded to the increased demands. It certainly wasn’t an easy process as the offensive players largely were not prepared for Anae’s system and its physical demands.
“I think the whole group would say without any arguments that they were not properly trained and bought into a level that we would have liked them to, so what I was most pleased with is that few of them quit,” Anae said. “There were some that quit, but I’m proud that the guys who have stayed have bought into a level that I wasn’t quite sure they were capable of.”
With spring practices complete Anae hopes to have developed a frame of reference when the team takes the practice field again this August.
“I hope that now that they’ve gone through a spring that they can measure — that they can have something to fall back on,” Anae said. “I bet, to a guy, that there will be a more concerted effort to prepare for fall camp.”
SECURITY A PRIORITY: Anae has put a premium on ball security this spring and that has been made abundantly clear to the players. The most intense moments of spring often came when a player would not secure the football and would subsequently catch an earful from Anae and other offensive coaches.
“I was please that, for the most part, we secured the ball this spring,” Anae said. “Coming into it that was my priority — going fast, going hard and securing the football.”
BIG AND SMALL: One of the more specific developments this spring has been the employment of a so-called “big” and “small” Y-receiver or tight end. How, when and how much each specific type is employed is yet to be determined and will be further assessed this fall.
Anae refused to say anyone emerged as a potential starter — nor did he define any specific roles — but he did have glowing words for Brett Thompson as a potential “small” Y-receiver.
“We’ve taken a two-fold look at that position between big and small (types) and Brett Thompson, as a small guy, has done really well and I’m pleased with the progress he’s made,” Anae said. “I’m excited that (Thompson) rose to the challenge and I‘m looking forward to everyone, as whole. That’s just one guy and I know (the media) is big on singling just one guy out, but everyone for the most part did their job in accepting their role.”