Cougar offense unstoppable

Even behind a young offensive line in possession of only one starter, sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps and the Cougar offense have been unstoppable this spring. First-year offensive coordinator Brandon Doman has enjoyed much success calling plays against a Cougar defense even more talented than last year's.

On Monday, the offense came out with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement and, to put it mildly, performed exceptionally well. In fact, the offense, from the first-team down to the third-team, scored on all four drives.

"We didn't do so hot on Friday and I think those guys took it personal, and we're going to join them so football's fun," Coach Doman said. "I mean, this is fun, and so it's going to come and go fast. It feels like I was playing yesterday until I look in the mirror, but I want these guys to realize how fun it is, and you saw what happened out there. It's only fun when you play good. They were pretty determined to play well out there, and hopefully we'll be able to keep it going through the rest of spring.

"It's increasingly different now. We have a leader and some veteran guys that were not veterans last year. We're able to have a lot more success and we're completing a lot more footballs, and there's a lot more consistency and continuity out there on the field, and I would say that comes from leadership. It's drastically different from where we were last year."

After every touchdown in practice, the entire offense ran down the field and celebrated with whichever player scored the touchdown. There was a lot of whooping and hollering going on. With Coach Doman being as competitive as he is, and his boss Coach Mendenhall possessing similar mannerisms, it must have been a bit interesting back in the coaches' offices following practice.

"Well, our guys really celebrated and I'm afraid I might not have a job here soon because of the way they celebrated," Doman said jokingly. "It was a little excessively. We like some enthusiasm and we wanted to get some of that back. I think Coach Mendenhall understands."

The offense's success came through a variety of means, but the downfield drives were set up by easy first-down conversions. The Cougars were highly efficient on first and second downs, which allowed for more variety and unpredictability. It also allowed for more downfield fireworks as well.

"Well, we've really focused a lot of time on play action, first-down and second-down calls indicative of that and a variety of formations," Coach Doman said. "I think that's one thing that's going to change this year, and it's not going to change our offense. I just felt like that was one area where we needed to improve, so we've focused a lot of time and energy in those areas. Now that we've caught up, I feel we're now spending more time in pass protection and the passing game.

"We want to throw a bunch of touchdowns, and I think that most of those will come from play action. We have some big, athletic receivers out there and they're darn good. For us to not throw it up and not let those guys go up and make a play would be crazy."

When it comes to developing quarterbacks, Coach Doman has more than 30 years of All-American resources to turn to for help in the form of past Cougar greats. But, where does he turn to for help or ideas as the offensive coordinator? As a quarterback for many years, Doman was tied at the hip to many different offensive coordinators and feels he's been prepared for this job through those experiences.

"You just wing it," said Doman with a laugh in his voice. "You know, really I've been watching coordinators for a long time now. As a quarterback you work hand in hand directly with the offensive coordinator and you see all the play calls from the offensive coordinator. The coordinator and the quarterback become the last line of defense. Really, the quarterback becomes that last line of defense, so I've been taking calls from offensive coordinators for a long time. My entire life I've been taking calls from play-callers – the coordinator – and I've had the freedom to audible at the line of scrimmage. Then for six years I've worked hand in hand with Coach Anae and thought he did a fantastic job. I've had good mentors to follow and think I've been somewhat prepared without having done it."

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