Offensive evaluation

I've allowed some time to pass, to let the emotions from the Wildcats loss at BYU to subside. Despite a cooling off period, there are no doubts that the Wildcats will need further improvements if they hope to have a good season.

Let's not beat around the bush, the Wildcat offense was bad. It may have been as bad an offensive performance as the 38-0 loss to Oregon State back in the John Mackovic era. For a school that has plenty of poor offenses, this was right up there.

The final numbers were not terrible. The Cats came up just short of 300 yards of total offense, but most of that yardage came late in the game. Fact is, for three quarters the Wildcat offense was anemic.

Now, I wish I cold tell you that I have answers. I wish I could tell you one way or another that the offense is either: 1) going to make steady improvements throughout the year or 2) be a huge failure. I can't say either.

While it is WAAAAAAAAAY too early to write this team off, there are also reasons for concern.

My biggest problem is that I was not at the game. I saw what you saw on television. I could only see what the Versus Network cameras showed me. I have no idea what was happening away from the ball. I don't know if Willie Tuitama was missing receivers or if there were no receivers to miss.

While I did not like some of the play calling, it is too early to tell if the problems were due to play calling, play design, execution, talent or a combination of all those elements.

Here is what I saw:

Poor decision making. Tuitama looked like the first time starter, not Max Hall. He threw bad balls, made bad reads and played a tad gun shy. I think it is safe to say that he is not yet the player he was before the injuries last season. He seemed way too quick to dump the ball off to the safety valve. Again, without the benefit of seeing the whole field it is tough to say if the dump off was the right move or if he was panicking.

His decision making was off. The Wildcats' biggest gain of the game came when he threw on the run, into coverage and was fortunate that Delashaun Dean stole the ball from a BYU defender. Tuitama also threw short of the first down marker on several third down plays. While I am puzzled why there were players running routes short of the first down, Tuitama has to recognize where the marker is.

The good news is that I feel the offensive line played better. The bad news is that they did not play well enough to win. Last year the Wildcat offensive line often appeared overmatched. Pass rushers got free reign at quarterbacks and running backs were often hit as they were getting the handoff.

This week they were neither overwhelmed nor overwhelming. They could get a small push up front, but not enough to spring Wildcat runners. It was a rare site to see Wildcat running backs get to the second level of the defense.

There were a few highlights on offense. The young receivers played well, especially Delashaun Dean and Terrell Turner. Rob Gronkowski showed great promise, but was only thrown to once. Earl Mitchell has not been a major part of the offense in the fall camp, but if the touchdown catch is any indication, he needs to be more involved.

The downside was that Anthony Johnson was a non-factor, after being the star of the spring and fall camp, he did nothing against BYU.

We'll discuss defense and special teams in a separate article.

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