The emergence of the H-position

There has been a lot more spread offense by the Cougars this fall, and the reason is simple. The H-receiver position – which has always been utilized, but by tight ends – is being reworked and rapidly growing into a staple part of the offense this fall camp, and for good reason.

The H-receiver position has been a position in transformation over the past couple of years. It's been sort of a lost position that's now finding a larger niche within the Cougar offense for good reason.

"We've kind of seen the transformation of the H-position over the past couple of years," said Matt Marshall. "We kind of lost it with [Dennis] Pitta and [Andrew] George just because we wanted them in there. When they were here it was more of a two tight end flexed formation, but now we have a true H-position with me, J.J. [Di Luigi] and J.D. [Falslev]. Now there is a different type of athleticism and different traits playing the position."

The H-receiver position came back to life with the inclusion of 5-foot-9-inch, 180-pound walk-on receiver Nate Meikle, who became a bright spot in the Cougar offense in 2005 and 2006. In the 2007 season, BYU offensive coaches couldn't keep talented tight ends Dennis Pitta and Andrew George off the field.

Now with smaller, quicker players on the roster, the H-position is evolving.

"Now we have a true H-position and it's evolved into kind of a quick receiver position for us," Marshall said. "Historically that's what it traditionally has been with the smaller, faster receivers. With the kinds of receivers we have now, the coaches brought the position back into the offense to be more involved and a part of what we'll do this season."

"We've got some really good players that can play the H-position," said Coach Doman. "We've kind of evolved the position a little bit and feel we have the talent to really do some things to cause defenses fits."

The once-lost H-position is now being rediscovered and is becoming another weapon in BYU's stable of passing attack schemes.

"It's a position that's definitely being rediscovered," Marshall said. "During this past spring, it was big time and that's when it kind of came back. I do think it's a position that's been sort of lost in the past, but it's a position that we're rediscovering and will play a part in our offense.

"I think it's a position we've wanted to have within our offense. Pitta and George played it, and created a mismatch because they were so talented, but because of their size the linebackers could guard them still, but now we're trying to take it to a whole new level from a true H-receiver perspective."

It's all about creating mismatches to gain the edge.

"The purpose of the H-position is to create mismatches because you have the larger outside linebackers lining up on us," Marshall said. "We kind of use our quickness to get around them. If I had to detail what we do at the H-position, it would be to create a mismatch for our offense, and that's why they definitely want to put specific players out there for that reason."

Not only does the H-position force a linebacker to cover a smaller, quicker receiver, but it also opens things up for others.

"It definitely opens up parts of the defense," Marshall said. "It definitely opens up the run game because it takes that linebacker out of the equation. The key is our receivers have to beat the linebacker and force him to focus more on us and put him on his heels.

"By doing that he'll be a little slower in reading his run keys and will also open things up for our tight ends as well. The linebacker can't key in on one position like the tight end or the running back."

Although the H-position might play more of a role in this year's Cougar offense, it will be a position that receivers are molded into rather than a position that BYU coaches will recruit for.

"No, it won't be a position that we actively go out and recruit for," Coach Doman said. "I feel like we have some receivers coming in that we've recruited that could play the position very well, but other than that we won't go out and look for a specific type of player to recruit just for that position."

BYU should expect to see smaller, faster pass-catchers lining up in the slot. J.D. Falslev will be one of the players manning the position.

"J.D. is the perfect type to play the H-position," said Marshall. "He's quick and a good runner and has quick hands, and I think he'll be someone that will cause some headaches for linebackers. You have to be fast and tough because you have linebackers on you. I think it's the perfect position for someone like him."

The other Cougar BYU fans should expect to see playing the H-position quite a bit is the ever-elusive and quick J.J. Di Luigi. Motioning Di Luigi out to be matched up against bigger, slower linebackers will create a nightmare for defensive coordinators.

"They like J.J. out there and our coaches are going to push a lot of motion," said Mathews. "It's evolved to where it's now a quick back, quick receiver position like it was when Nate Meikle played the position.

"From there, it's kind of progressed with J.J., who is just a multi-back. He can be a receiver and go out and catch passes, or he can be a quick scatback running the ball out of the backfield. Like J.D., J.J. is the perfect type of player to play the H-position because of how well he runs and catches. He brings a lot of diversity to our offense and it's going to be tough for defenses to stop."

Marshall feels that with the talent to man the position and the caliber of quarterback to get them the ball, the H-position will have an impact this season.

"Yeah, we should see the position playing a major role in our offense," Marshall said. "It'll play more of a role this year than in previous years. I've been here a while and I've seen practices in the past where the H-receiver was used in one play throughout the whole practice. Now it's multiple times and used more by different players.

"I would go to the extent that it will be used around 60 percent of the time. I would say 50-60 percent of the time. It's going to be involved, I can tell you that much. I think Coach Doman wants that type of mismatch and player in his offense. I really think people will be surprised by how much it's going to be in our offense."

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