Offense coming along

The filled-up parking lots showed just how many BYU fans flocked to LaVell Edwards Stadium to watch the Cougars put on a show. For the most part the Cougar offense performed and executed well, and did it very physically. However, there are a few things that still need to be cleaned up a little bit.

The sun beat down at 84 degrees on Saturday, but that didn't stop BYU fans from coming out in droves. Although it's been reported that there were more than 7,000 in attendance at LaVell Edwards Stadium, it sure looked and felt like the total was more in the 10,000-to-12,000 range.

The offense went to work under the command of quarterback Jake Heaps, who hit senior X-receiver McKay Jacobson for a touchdown during the first series.

"The more plays [Jacobson] makes in practice will increase his role on game-day Saturday," offensive coordinator Brandon Doman said. "It's not going to be me that determines how much he plays, it's going to be him and the confidence the quarterback has in him. Again, the more plays he's making in practice, the quarterback increases his confidence in that player and starts throwing him the ball in the game. We won't dictate that. We want the quarterback to decide where to go with it."

One position Heaps decided to go to on Saturday was tight end, which will be the most improved position on the team this year. The tight ends showed well during the public scrimmage.

"I thought there was great progress by them today," Coach Doman said. "I think Richard Wilson dropped a ball, but other than that they made some great catches today. Marcus Mathews made a big catch down the middle. We had a couple over routes and crossing routes that they made that was fantastic."

Three of Heaps' seven completions on the day were passes to tight ends.

"The reason why BYU has been successful in the past is because inside the box the running backs and the tight ends in the pass game have been difficult to defend," Doman said. "If we can continue to do that at a really high level, and I believe we can with this group, then we'll continue the tradition of being great in that area."

Overall, both sides of the ball fared well. In an evaluation of the offense, there were two keys factors that stood out. The physical nature in which the offense played was good, and with the amount of information the team was given this week (the offensive coaches installed a lot of plays and tweaks), the team executed fairly well. Of course, there are always things to polish up.

"They got a sack on us and we had a false start or two, so if you have three or four back-up plays, that puts you in a bind as a play-caller and an offense," Coach Doman said. "Goodness, we mounted some good drives and I think we're well on our way.

"The point there was we didn't make too many physical mistakes. We've got guys that can make physical plays, so when those two come together – which the mental is going to come after the physical – I think we're going to be really good."

"We're really looking forward to crisping up everything," Heaps said. "Everything from route-running, to throwing the ball, to my reads, and really, everybody all the way around. We got to work on everybody being focused and cutting down those mental errors. When we're able to do that, we'll be a great football team."

The mental errors are what hampered the Cougar offense on Saturday. The Cougars will watch film and clean some of those things up. Still, Coach Doman was very pleased with the day's overall offensive performance.

"You know, I'm really happy," Doman said. "I've got to go watch film and see how we did, but the reason I'm most pleased is the mistakes that were made today were mental and not physical. Our guys were catching passes, our guys were blocking the right guys, we were mounting drives, and then our guys just made a mistake that was mental. That's going to come with time and I think everyone here had a feel for now we can clean up the mental mistakes and be a pretty good group on both sides of the ball."

"As an offense, I think we're doing really well," Heaps said. "At this point I think we're becoming a good football team, and that's making plays. In order for us to be a good offense, I have to play well, read the plays and lead this team. I think what we're seeing are the signs of a good football team."

Iona Pritchard out with injury

On the first play of the scrimmage, emerging fullback Iona Pritchard went down with an ankle injury and had to be carted off the field. It is very likely Pritchard will redshirt and spend much of the year rehabilitating.

"It's tough and especially with a great player in Iona Pritchard," said Heaps. "He's done a fantastic job in fall camp and I've just been blown away by how well he's done. I've just been so impressed with him and how he's played, especially since he's just returned home from his mission and he's been phenomenal. He's going to be a great player for us here at BYU. It's tough when you see a guy go through an injury like that. We know it's not looking too good, but we're hoping he can recover quicker than later."

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