Doman's first practice as coordinator

Anxious Cougars took to the field for the first day of fall camp on Monday. There were smiles aplenty and enthusiasm oozed in bucket loads. Bridling his passion was difficult for one coach in particular - new offensive coordinator Brandon Doman.

Whether he was coaching up the quarterbacks or dropping back into pass overage, Coach Doman was all over the place on Monday giving instructions and encouragement as if he had been doing this for some time.

"It was really fun," Doman said. "I was having a hard time not to have a smile on my face the whole time. It was fun to call plays and it was fun to be able to get these guys out here. I'm having a ton of fun and I think our guys want to be great, and that makes it even more fun for me."

Coach Doman did admit that wearing two hats, that of an offensive coordinator and a quarterback coach, is a lot to juggle.

"I found that there is a lot more on my plate," he said. "I'm going to have to find a happy medium between calling the plays, coaching the quarterbacks, and at the same time managing the chaos. There is plenty of chaos going on out there, and we have some things we have to fix in relation to the chaos and getting the coaches a little more organized, which will be tomorrow. If we can do that, it will be just fine. I'll have the quarterbacks standing by me and I can coach in between and it works just fine."

Prior to team drills, the offensive coaching staff implemented some new offensive drills to help with the quarterbacks' and receivers' execution. After a few attempts to get things right, and with some vocal encouragement from Coach Doman, a rusty start eventually smoothed itself out and the new drills were run with better execution.

"The first day we put in a few new drills and these guys didn't know what to do in those drills, but that's okay because it was the first day," Doman said. "I found myself yelling a little more than I would like to be and I'm a vocal guy anyway. Man, I was having fun."

One thing is certain, whether due to first-day excitement or because of the personality of the coaches, the energy out on the field flowed well between players and coaches. Coach Doman, whose voice was a bit horse following practice, was pleased with the interaction he saw between coaches and players.

"We have good coaches, and they're enthusiastic and I believe are masters of their craft," he said. "Our players want to be great, and so they're following these coaches and doing whatever they're asked. We just need some guys to lead them and I think we've got the right coaches to do it."

Having a lot of energy is fine, but coaches have to manage the conditions of practice. The Cougars didn't practice in pads Monday, but the coaches wanted the players to run through practice as if they were fully dressed. There's a fine balance that has to be maintained, and it's a balance that Coach Doman was fully aware of.

"Well, I think you have to be smart in spring practice," Doman said. "As a player, I always wanted to go as hard as I could all the time and get as many reps as I could. I think you have to be smart in the volume and be smart in the amount of whacks as you get at it. You want to protect the players from injury, but at the same time find out who your playmakers are and who you're going to be offensively.

"We don't have any idea yet, but we saw a few things today that I don't think our defense has seen us do and we had quite a bit of success doing it. I'm anxious to now build upon that and hopefully be unpredictable. I would really like us to line up in a single formation and have five or six options out of that formation. I think that will help us be less predictable."

The first day of spring camp saw some old BYU familiarities. Jake Heaps was under center more than in the shotgun on Monday.

"We went under center a little bit today probably more than I think anyone's seen us do," Coach Doman said. "We weren't in pads today, but when we're in pads I think you'll see that a little more often. Jake is a pro-style quarterback and we have big offensive lineman that are physical. It allows you to do more play-action boots and nakeds inside of the passing game that we already have. I think it's going to really help us.

"In high school, [Heaps] was shotgun every play, but he wants to prepare for an opportunity to play in the NFL. That's not the sole reason why we're doing it, but we would like to have our quarterbacks have that opportunity. I believe that we're going to be better if we are able to mix that up with the shotgun, and being under center more often give us more variety and less predictability."

Unpredictability is a word BYU fans will hear a lot of from Coach Doman, and Monday's practice saw the laying of a foundation for an unpredictable offense.

"I think the biggest challenge for us will be in the passing game – the execution of being unpredictable in the playcalling," said Doman. "I think the challenge will be to be unpredictable. The formations that we have and the plays that we have out of each one of those formations allows for us to be unpredictable. I think those two things we've spent a lot of time looking at. Hopefully we'll see the fruits of our labors here in a few months."

Although Monday's practice was a bit rusty, as is to be expected, the results were far better than last year's first-day performance.

"He's going to be a really good player," said a smiling Doman about Heaps. "This year we finally got some snaps on the first day of spring ball. Last year we had nine quarterback-to-center exchange problems. [On Monday] we actually got some exchanges to him and we were able to throw some balls and get some first downs. We are much further ahead this year than last year, and working with him has been an absolute pleasure and I'm glad he's here."

Overall, BYU's new offensive coordinator was very pleased with Monday's offensive performance. The Cougar offense was able to sustain a few drives and, as Coach Doman pointed out, would have scored on a few of those drives if plays weren't whistled dead early.

"Yeah, it was the first day of spring and, like I said, last year we couldn't even get a snap going," Doman said. "Today we were driving the offense and getting first downs. If we were tackling, we would have scored today. We were able to convert some third downs and put together some drives today. The fact that we were actually completing first and third downs today in relation to where we were last year is a night-and-day difference."

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