“I’ve been really impressed with the way those guys have come in and picked up the offensive system,” said Hill. “You can tell the difference between guys like Jordan Leslie, who has been playing in a system at the division one level before hand, and a guy like Trey Dye who came in as a true freshman.”
Two that should contribute this season are Devon Blackmon and Trey Dye. Both could eventually become contributors in some way this season.
“As soon as guys like Trey Dye and Devon Blackmon can pick up the offense and the system they’ll earn some playing time, and I think they can help us,” Hill said. “They’re very athletic and they give us more abilities to do some stuff in the slot.”
When it comes to which of the receivers has picked up the offense the fastest, Jordan Leslie comes up. Keanu Nelson has also gained significant growth in the system but his level of growth had become hampered due to learning multiple positions.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Hill said. “I would definitely say Jordan has definitely picked up the offense the fastest, but Keanu is probably right behind him. Keanu has been a little bit different because he started inside and we had a few injuries outside, so with Nick Kurtz going down we moved him back outside. He’s kind of had to learn and pick up everything, so that’s been a little more difficult but he’s done a nice job. He’s back outside and he’s done a nice job.”
As already known, running back Jamaal Williams won’t be lining up in the backfield when the season kicks off. Taking the backfield will be senior Paul Lasike and junior Adam Hine. Hill is confident that when both line up everything will be fine.
“It’s been fun,” Hill said. “With Paul Lasike and Adam Hine those guys are really good. Obviously Jamaal is going to help us when he gets back. It’s been no problem at all.”
Heading into the season opener, Taysom Hill doesn’t feel the nerves of having to take the reins of a new offense. Rather he feels more like a veteran now that the new season is upon him.
“I would say that I’m as comfortable now as I was at the end of last season,” Hill said. “All of our base stuff is the same. It’s what we do, so. It’s stayed about the same. You know I’ve definitely improved, but there hasn’t been any major differences because I was really comfortable last year.”
The UConn game will be the first time some players see actual playing time in a live game situation against a division one foe. So, what will be the biggest struggle for some of those younger players?
“Just controlling nerves,” Hill said. “I would say that there’s always nerves the first game, big environment, and there are guys who’ve never played in a stadium with this many people before. It’s really just taking one play at a time and making sure you execute and fulfill your responsibility at that point. As soon as we can do that I feel confident we can move the ball.”
Hill shared some advice for a few of his younger teammates stepping out onto the big stage.
“Live in the present,” said Hill. “All that anxiety and getting too amped up as you look at the outcome and try and win the football game. I live in the moment and I live play by play and take it walk-through by walk-through or whatever it may be. I just try to live minute by minute.”
The Cougars will leave next Wednesday so the team can take in some of the sights and get acclimated early prior to the game in Connecticut.
“I think the biggest thing that will help us is to get acclimated,” said Hill. “It will give us some down time instead of traveling and trying to fit so much in with the fireside and stuff. We’ll have some down time the night before, football stuff the next morning, more down time, and then we’ll do the fireside and then get ready to play. I think it will alleviates some of the stress and the craziness associated with traveling so far.”
Cougar Cam: Taysom Hill
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill gives his thoughts on what UConn might try and throw at the Cougar offense defensively. He talks about fall camp and his personal improvements. He chimes in on the offensive line and about a few freshman offensive line that could start or see playing time and more.
Taysom Hill Video