Dick Harmon: Taysom Hill knows that BYU's offense needs his arm

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  • Rockwell Baltimore, MD
    Jan. 16, 2014 9:48 p.m.

    Stringer Bell

    "That run first business isn't going to win the big games."

    You need to pay closer attention to what's actually taking place on the field. Taysom got away from the "run first business" early in the season, but porous protection to forces him to scramble far more than he should need to.

    Taysom's passing will improve as his pocket protection improves.

  • sportsfanforlife salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 15, 2014 7:17 p.m.

    y ask y

    if you're gonna try to make a point, at least be correct. Cam had his BEST year as a professional this year. so your assertion that it didn't work for them is absolutely wrong. RGIII was rookie of the year running that offense. So, again you're wrong. Vick and RGIII were both hurt this year for the most part. That offense also seems to be working fine for Russel Wilson and Colin Kapearnick. So please next time actually know what you're talking about.

  • Stringer Bell Henderson, NV
    Jan. 15, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    Hill can't "will" himself to be a better passer. He either has or he doesn't. So far the jury is still out. However, the clock is ticking and he'd better start showing that he can be a consistent passer this year. That run first business isn't going to win the big games.

  • Poppa-P Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 11:10 p.m.

    @ChrisB & @Sandyclaws:

    Okay...simple question: How many players on BYU's roster today clocked in at under 4.5 seconds in a legit 40-yard dash test as a high school recruit? Two? Five?

    Okay...same question: How many players on ANY of the rosters of any of the final Top 25 teams clocked in at under 4.5 seconds in a legit 40-yard dash test as a high school recruit? More than two? More than five? Exactly.

    Besides Taysom Hill, I'm not sure if BYU has more than 2 or 3 players with true 4.5 speed or better. Please understand, this is not meant as a slam on BYU or an indictment of the university or the football program. It's merely an observation. And if I'm wrong, so be it.

    But after nearly 40 years as a BYU fan, it's simply a fact--BYU's team speed does NOT match that of most Top 25 teams. Therefore, it must find other ways to beat such teams.

    Accurately throwing the football is one primary way to defeat a team's defensive speed, especially since a tightly thrown spiral can race down- or accross-field a LOT faster than a defensive back. That's all.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Jan. 14, 2014 7:58 p.m.

    Here's what we know about the old Anae and the new Anae. The offense will not be creative. We'll continue to run the same play time after time. No significant adjustments will be made during the game. Hill will have to continue to run for his life because the offensive line will largely be the same as we had this past season. Key positions will be filled with walk-ons and BYU will not bring in any four star players. We're headed toward another disappointing season.

  • ClarkeinAK Anchorage, AK
    Jan. 14, 2014 5:34 p.m.

    CWEB: Amen!!! As long as Robert Anae is calling the shots as OC, BYU isn't going anywhere. He's way too predictable. And, as long as defensive-minded Bronco is head coach, nothing will change.

    Chris B/SandyClaws: The guys that have the desired speed aren't coming to BYU, and the honor code DOES have a lot to do with it. Sure, there might be a fast white guy with a temple recommend in his pocket, but they are few and far between...and even they will probably enroll in a big time program with a conference affiliation and a chance to play big boy football.

    As many members as the church has in Central/South America, and throughout Europe, you would think we could find a really good kicker and teach him to boot a different shaped ball.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    @blue ramapge

    Ammon will be announcing his transfer very soon. Probably back to SUU so that he doesn't lose a year of eligibility. Sorry but that is what is going to happen.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 4:30 p.m.

    poppa p is wrong but christina calling him out for saying the exact same thing christina says over and over around here is ridiculous. christina you are the one that has said more times than I can remeber that BYU cannot recruit anything other than "sunday school boys", cannot recruit black athletes, and cannot compete recruiting top athletes at all. poppa p just agreed with you yet you hypocritically tried to call him out for it. LOL!

  • csbrewcrew Peyton, CO
    Jan. 14, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    I waited until after the season to post again. Glad I did. It's good to see many posters echoing the same concerns RE: Bronco's coaching abilities. Yes, he's a decent defensive coach but, he's the HEAD COACH!! Bottom line: The buck stops at Coach Mendenhall's desk.
    I was very wary of Anae's offensive coaching abilities and said so at the start of the season. No need to be wary anymore. He's no good. Anae's boring, predictable, and lacks the ability to fully utilize and develop the full talents of some otherwise gifted players (2 examples: Hill in throwing accuracy and "field smarts" by throwing to somebody besides a wideout, and Jamal in catching and running via outlet & screen passes vice predictably running up the middle into the heart of a defense).
    Bronco's dream is being in the elite of CFB. My dreams: Bronco moves on to a different coaching position where he can fully utilize his fireside officiating talents. My 2nd: GET RID OF ANAE! Otherwise, BYU is destined to remain an 7-5 or, at best, a 8-4 team. Unfortunately, I don't I'll realize either of them.

  • Gone fishin Seattle, WA
    Jan. 14, 2014 3:43 p.m.

    I just happen to agree with most of the BYU haters in this article that BYU will not be a successful program with the run-first mentality. I think most of that comes from Anae however and not so much Hill. If BYU could figure that out they certainly have the talent to be a successful passing team. Hill showed that he has the passing ability multiple times this year.
    But the BYU haters (Utah fans) should not throw stones. Remember the train wreck at the QB spot at the u or should we spend some time on that topic? Yeah, I didn't think so.

  • byufootballrocks Herndon, VA
    Jan. 14, 2014 3:34 p.m.


    When I say Taysom is not dual-threat the reason is not because of his talent level but because BYU does not have the players to make such a quarterback work. We’ve never done it well.

    We don’t compete with the major D1 schools in recruiting for size, speed, or overall talent – all required to make those dual threat offenses work.

    When BYU was committed to a passing offense – pass first, last, and almost always – we generally succeeded.

    Ironically BYU then became dual-threat as the pass opened up the run, as with Steve Young.
    Today we face the same problem Lavell faced in 1972. We can solve it the same way, by adopting a pass-first offense along the lines of USC under Norm Chow, or WSU under Mike Leach – both are based on the BYU offense of old.

    I believe if we return to this philosophy it will help offset the disadvantage in recruiting, and will make someone like Taysom shine as he improves his passing.

    But the coaches, who tend to follow current trends, really have to commit to a passing offense.

  • 54-10 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 3:15 p.m.

    With the grueling schedule next year, a runner at quarterback won't matter.

  • IndeMak South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 3:05 p.m.

    With that brutal schedule next year?

  • BYUHOCKEY American Fork, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 1:37 p.m.

    Now that hill is getting married I believe his focus on football will fine tune and we will see better qb play staying in the pocket. A second year of familiarizing himself with the anae offense will help as well.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Jan. 14, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    Fan Comment 1: "Anae is no good" - well, lets see what he does with a year to develop his own guys and offense. New system, new coaches last year. Lets wait an see.

    Fan Comment 2: "Bronco is defensive guy and can't coach offense". Duh. That's Anae's job.

    Fan Comment 3: "BYU can't recruit speed because of honor code". Honor code is discriminatory because it excludes party guys, thugs, and other "normal" college kids. It does not exclude athletes on any other basis. Can't a guy be fast and honest? Of course, the hidden thought is that the honor code excludes black/inner city athletes. Well, you won't see 20 felons on a BYU team. But you don't at Stanford either.

    Here are the facts: BYU requires kids willing to accept the Mormon culture and standards. Period. There are a lot of good people out there who find the honor code invasive and far beyond the normal standards for LDS members. I respect BYU athletes for their skills and their attitudes. I respect BYUs academics and overall quality. A kid can do worse.

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 14, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    Hill will be fine when BYU improves the offensive line and throws to the tight ends again. To suggest that Hill's running ability is a liability is absurd.

  • Where's Stockton ??? Bowling Green, OH
    Jan. 14, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    For once you are right Dick...but in order to develop Tyson as a passer you have to have an offensive coordinator who understands that passing is more than down and outs to set up a running play. That was one of the things Robert Anae didn't grasp the first time around...and I've seen very little to speak of that indicates that there has been any improvement so far on his second go around. Big deal...he learned how to speed up the offense and set record numbers of plays.

  • Tilka PORTLAND, OR
    Jan. 14, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    CWEB - Good points, I would add that I don't think Anae is quick enough on his feet to adjust and see what is happening. He is good at analyzing after spending a few hours watching film. I don't see him being able to adjust during games.

    I think it was very polite and proper for Hill to make comments that Anae needs to open up the offense a little more. Read between the lines.

  • Y Ask Y Provo, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    I think the inconsistency of the team overall is due to their flighty motivation. That is partly due to coaching and partly due to their floating in Independence la-la-land. They lack any conference standings or championships to motivate them.

    I still think Independence was a bad idea.

    NFL teams have tried to leverage the "dual threat" quarterbacks by executing read option schemes (taking a page from college FB).

    That didn't work out too well for RGIII, Vick, and Newton.

    The reason is because defenses have learned that the best way to defend against the read option is to HIT the running QB VERY HARD, many times! QBs cannot hold up, and many get injured.

    Now we have the NFL playoffs pitting the "dual threat" read option types (Kaepernick vs Wilson) against the classic drop-back passers (Brady vs Manning). We'll see.

    Try throwing a touch pass into the corner of the endzone, or dropping a long ball into a receiver's arms in full stride, or threading low and away to the out routes or across the middle - after having your bell rung by an angry linebacker!

    I'm not seeing it with Hill.

  • Blue Rampage Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    My buddy Pappa P got it right, for the most part. All he left out is acknowledging the coaching challenge that exists when you have both Ammon Olsen and Taysom Hill on the same roster.

    Challenge, or opportunity...

    While BYU's every other series rotation of Heaps and Nelson was an embarrassment beneath the level of any Pee Wee football coach, the idea of effectively utilizing multiple weapons is still intriguing. I won't profess to having a perfect solution for how to do that and the arguments against such a scheme are many and valid. Nonetheless, BYU has more QB talent than nearly any team in the West (certainly more than any team in Utah); talent that has not been fully exploited.

    If Ammon was not so loyal to BYU, he would have bolted for another school. Fortunately, he's still in Provo and will probably stay and play the James Lark lottery. How that turns out for him remains to be seen. In the meantime, BYU coaches need to find some way to replicate the success of the old West Coast Offense, with or without a running QB.

  • Hank Jr Draper, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 10:15 a.m.

    What BYU needs is an athletic offensive line and an offensive coach who understands the importance of using tight ends in the passing game. Until they do, BYU will remain a mediocre team at best.

  • yabuts Springville, utah
    Jan. 14, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    I don't know what you all are worried about, when you can schedule a winning season and bowl game every year.

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    Jan. 14, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    Wow. One of the very, very few times I've actually agreed with most of a Dick Harmon article. I find it refreshing that he's even a little critical in the "constructive criticism" arena. Very good points made about Hill's need to improve next year.

  • CWEB Orem, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    My number 1 concern is Robert Anae. He has no resume' of success. He refuses to be in the box where he can "see" what is going on. He seems to have no creativity. He is very much figured out by opposing defenses.

    What is going to change? My second concern in with Bronco's grasp of creating a powerful offense. I have no quarrel with his goodness, and especially his ability to coach defense. But the offense, year in, year out, with Bronco, is dismal. We cannot get the ball into the endzone after driving 80 yards.

    I keep hoping that will change, but so far, I don't have confidence in that "really" changing.

  • Sandyclaws Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    @Poppa P:

    I am interested in your apparent assertion that a young man cannot be both fast and honorable. The notion that in order to keep the BYU honor code a young man must necessarily be slow, seems ridiculous to me.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    Poppa p,

    What does the honor code have to do with byu's lack of speed?

    And saying "limited recruiting pool" doesn't answer the question unless you are saying byu can't recruit quarterbacks or linebackers or any other position as well due to the honor code?

    What about the honor code specifically makes byu unable to recruit speed but can still recruit qb?

  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    @Chris B

    You forgot UCF, the most challenging team on BYU's schedule unless the NFL beckons its stellar QB. USU, Boise State and Houston all are respectable teams that can further enhance BYU's reputation with a win.

  • evansrichdm west jordan , UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    For a rebuilding year BYU did fine, not great, but fine. Let back off a little bit. I think due to the teams we play and the development of the team this year I think we will have a good shot at a 10 win season to then jump to a great season of Hill's and William's SR year.

  • ntenseracer Layton, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 7:42 a.m.

    Hills abilities are there. You can see them surface at times. He needs time, after all he was only a Sophomore this year. I believe it come down to play calling and setting Hill up for success. I can't stand to watch Anae's play calling, especially when they are in the Blue Zone. I hate the fade route as its a low % play and takes a special QB to throw it. Anae is also very, very predictable. A novice can see this watching games that in certain line ups on 3rd down it will be the same play. He does not hide the offensive look and run multiple plays from the same look. He did this in first go round at BYU also. It makes me sick to watch his play calling. Think about what I just said and look at there Blue Zone % and 3rd down % this year. almost last in FBS. I know that BYU fans want to move on from the stagnate Mendenhall, I know I do, but who is out there? Think about it! Robert Anae as BYU's next head coach. That is where we are heading.

  • Missouri Coug Greenwood, MO
    Jan. 14, 2014 7:34 a.m.

    What I saw this year, was after Taysom would run for 40 yards, they would immediately come back with some kind of pass play, and the ball would fall short of the receiver... This is because the dude had just ran 40 yards, and he is tired after that run. To immediately try and throw a long pass, or even a short one with accuracy is pretty hard to do...you just don't have the immediate strength to do so...give the guy a break...He has a strong arm, and with correct coaching, will become a great passer..The coaches need to look at this throwing form, and show him what needs to be changed in the way he releases the ball....Go Taysom....

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Jan. 14, 2014 7:00 a.m.

    "As he told McCann, offensive coordinator Robert Anae must also trust the offense and fertilize it with calls that give other parts of the machinery a chance to get involved."

    Taysom is echoing what many BYU fans have said all year. It is the most significant thing Taysom said. Jake Heaps is where he is today, on the bench at Kansas, because he didn't develop his arm in Kansas or BYU. Hoffman was special because he could get his hands on many balls even when the throw was not accurate. But not all received are a Hoffman. The QB has to get better. The offensive coordinator has to be creative and mix it up good. I have one suggestion - Practice you game plan; then play your game plan. Go Cougars! Good luck to Hill and the team.

  • Poppa-P Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 6:54 a.m.


    You know what the problem is with this entire Taysom Hill needs to become a better passing quarterback discussion? BYU already has a great passing QB on its roster -- his name is Ammon Olsen, and he's a pretty decent running QB too. Sad, sad, sad.

    I like Hill and his grit and leadership qualities. And yes, the kid can REALLY run. But unless Hill can become a much better (nee accurate, "thread-the-needle" and touch) passer, BYU is destined to average 7--9 wins per season. Tops.

    Unfortunately, BYU will NEVER become an "Elite," Top 10 team with a run-first QB. NEVER.

    Why? Because BYU cannot consistently land AAAAA-speed across the board because of its Honor Code standards, which I'm fine with. That's why a passing QB is SO important, because an elite passing QB can overcome the speed differential had by the defenses of elite teams.

    Poppa P

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 6:13 a.m.

    I watched Dave McCann interview Taysom Hill last night on True Blue (BYUtv). My opinion is that we have the "real deal" with Taysom. He's smart, talented, teachable, and has a great work ethic. I think he will work hard in the off season to develop the rhythm and trust in his receivers. I just hope that Anae is on-board as well to help him to develop into the quarterback that he can become. Remember, he was a Stanford recruit before his mission and then switched to BYU. The guy will be great.

    Go Cougars!

  • hobbes1012003 Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 14, 2014 3:57 a.m.

    I find it funny that CB is mocking our QB calling him a very average QB. Maybe he should worry about his own teams dismal QB situation before poking fun at ours.

  • Cougar Blue 1 Henderson , NV
    Jan. 14, 2014 1:12 a.m.

    Let's be honest, with Anae running the show we will only be a decent offense at best. The reason Young flourished after getting more consistent with his arm, was because he had offensive coordinators who knew what they were doing. They maximized Young's talents. What we will have is another decent season because of a weak schedule, but will more than likely lose to a few of the decent teams. I hope that doesn't happen. However, after many seasons with Mendenhall I have learned to keep expectations low or else you end up feeling like the Ute basketball fans.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 14, 2014 12:57 a.m.


    'He's not "dual-threat"...'

    I disagree. I think a dual threat is exactly what he is. Now, one threat may be more polished than the other, but make no mistake, because of his arm strength and running ability, opposing teams have to respect the deep ball was well as the run. If he can improve his accuracy and if his receivers can get better at separation, and his line can provide a little protection, that threat will be amplified.

    I disagree with the premise that BYU HAS to have a drop back passer to be successful. Dual threat is a very popular trend these days in NCAA football, and many successful teams are utilizing them. I say BYU should do with the QB whatever it takes to win. But I do agree that improving the passing game is a must if BYU wants to improve their success in the Red Zone.

  • BlackDiamond Provo, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 11:44 p.m.

    Hope that we will actually have a passing QB this season, not a running QB. Let the RB do the running. But like the comments above, we will believe it when we see it. I'm sick of fans saying it'll be better next year. We have been hearing that since Jake Heaps was about to be the big thing for BYU.

  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 10:51 p.m.

    Yes! his arm, not his feet and legs, his ARM, please Mr. Harmon let him know that. And plus if he wants to play in the next level, he better have a good arm. Better still if he wants BYU to play in January, then he needs to concentrate on his passing skills.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 10:27 p.m.

    Next years schedule of power conference teams:

    Texas(good one)
    Cal(12th of 12 in pac 12)
    Virginia(dead last in ACC, only 1 win against Division 1 teams last year - byu) LOL

    What a schedule!

    As for Taysom, with byu being one of the worst teams in the nation at scoring touchdowns once in the "blue zone" Taysom has yet to prove he is anymore more than a very average QB.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 10:11 p.m.

    When Anae and Hill both realize that a simple swing pass to Williams in the flat is a much better use of his skills than trying to run him between the tackles more than a dozen times a game, we'll see some progress in the offense.

    Countless times Hill didn't even look at Williams as he either threw into coverage or was sacked as Williams was wide open in the flat. We've all seen what he can do when he gets the ball in space.

  • byufootballrocks Herndon, VA
    Jan. 13, 2014 10:07 p.m.

    BYU needs to answer the question: What do I want to be when I grow up? And stick with it.

    "No man can serve two masters." Is Taysom a passing quarterback or a runner?

    He's not "dual-threat" – that’s vanity. BYU is not fast enough and we don’t had the personnel. True?

    Yet, if Taysom became an accurate drop-back and roll-out passer, which is possible, is there any question defenses would fear him as they did Steve Young? They know if they overplay him he's going to run and burn the defense. It opens up the offense.

    We've degenerated into three backs and no real quarterback. Then, when it's third and a gazillion the defense just sits back, or blitzes. We are forced to pass long, and - unlike the BYU of old - we are unprepared to do so. Please, let's have a real pass-oriented offense next, all year. That would be bold. Try if for one year!

    With our schedule, what would be the risk? At a minimum we’d win 8 or 9 games on the low side. And what about the high?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 9:12 p.m.

    Next years schedule is really tough so he'll get better.

  • Y-Ask-Y? Provo, UT
    Jan. 13, 2014 7:18 p.m.

    Knowing and delivering are not the same.

    I will believe it when I see it.