BYU Offense Begins to Click

During the Gary Crowton era, BYU's offense took more of a read-and-react approach. Receivers, tight ends and quarterbacks came to the line of scrimmage, read the defense and made their individual adjustments within a given play. The problem with this philosophy? It created a lot of complexity and ambiguity between the passer and catcher.

With the implementation of a more precision-based offense, the guessing game has become less of a problem as both quarterback and receiver now focus more on precise execution. However, there are still adjustments within the offense that both receiver and quarterback make, but this, too, is practiced.

The first touchdown pass Zac Collie caught during the TCU game came on the fly as both quarterback and receiver adjusted as the play developed. Collie feels BYU fans will see more of this as the team continues to "click" within the new offense.

"We do that at practice," Collie said. "It was kind of John doing the scramble rule drill where John looked and it wasn't open, and then I just kind of flipped the linebacker inside of me and it was on the run and John was able to see that. The end result of that was the touchdown, and I would have to say that this comes from practicing as long as we have together and also from the drills that we do as a team in practice.

"Anytime you practice and run drills and run drills together you're going to just keep clicking, and that's what we'll keep doing as long as we're practicing together and stuff like that, we'll just click."

BYU could have easily put up another 21 points on top of the 50 scored against one of the top defenses in the Mountain West Conference if a few additional deep passes had been hauled in.

"I just want to do it again so I can really just brush it under the rug and forget about it," Watkins said. "You can't take anything for granted, you know. It's really helped me to focus more in practice and to practice harder because you practice how you play. If you drop a ball in practice it's just as easy to do in a game."

With Todd Watkins now "clicking" with Beck on the deep passes, defensive coordinators are going to have to do their best to scheme for it. TCU head coach Gary Patterson said he schemed the best possible way he knew how to account for Watkins and the deep threat, but it did not matter.

"Yeah well, maybe I'll get a touchdown or two more next time," chuckled Watkins.

With Watkins able to single-handedly control one side of a defense's secondary, the middle and short game becomes a problem for defenses as inside receivers are finding themselves more open underneath.

"It helps out tremendously," Collie said. "If they try to focus on the deep ball with Todd it's just going to open up the middle that much more and all the underneath stuff for Nate [Meikle], me, Matt [Allan] and Jonny Harline. It does, it opens it up a lot and I think it's going to cause defenses trouble all the time."

"With our offense and our personnel, as far as the offense goes, it's hard for any defense to cover. I mean, if they try to cover the deep ball it just opens up those holes underneath like it did with our two minute drills with Curtis [Brown]. [TCU] focused on the outside and left that middle open that allowed him to take advantage of that, and I think that's just something that's going to become harder and harder for defensive coordinators."

The word on the street is that SDSU's cornerbacks play very similar to those of TCU. If this is the case, then San Diego State defensive coordinator Gary Anderson could be in for a long game.

"They've got good speed on the outside," Collie said. "Their corners are a little bit like TCU's in the way that they play, but we're still watching film on them. Most importantly we're still working on our offense and just clicking and trying to tighten the bolts down and take advantage of whatever defense they throw at us. Because we could be studying their defense all week and then they could throw something completely different at us because of the way they watched film on TCU. They could make these minor adjustments here or there, but it won't matter as long as our offense is going.

"They're a solid defense on the outside and their secondary is pretty good, but like I've said there are a lot of personnel and players that they're going to have to adjust to."

This week in practice, the Cougar offense has done just what Collie described in working to tighten up timing and routes. Practice alone will not determine the outcome of Saturday's contest; the game still must be played.

"Every game is different and you don't know what's going to happen," said Collie. "The only time you know is come game time, but of course our mentality and our focus is putting points on the board. It doesn't matter if we score and if San Diego scores, we just got keep putting points up on the board and score one more than they do.

"The sky's the limit really. We just gotta keep on with our mentality and our aggressiveness to just continue putting points on the board and continue to get better."

Watkins agrees with Collie's offensive assessments and feels BYU will come away with a win at Qualcomm Stadium.

"San Diego State is a good team but I don't really see them hanging with us," said Watkins. "I think we're going to put a lot of points up, and I think our defense will step up like they had been playing."

Hanging with BYU's offense will get harder and harder for defenses to do. During the TCU game, BYU's offensive players could see how the Horned Frog defenders were beginning to worry as they lined up across from BYU receivers.

"During the TCU game we kind of saw them like, ‘What is going on,' and they were a little unsure of themselves," said Collie. "We've seen that with numerous teams as we play them. It's hard for them to stop, as far as the match-ups go, all of our personnel. They're trying to take care of the deep threat with Todd and then you've got all the underneath stuff. Once you try to stop all the underneath stuff then we go over the top of you, and that's something defensive coordinators are going to have to deal with for the rest of the year."

However, the offense cannot stop progressing following a fifty point output during the TCU game, and no one understands this better than BYU receivers as they head towards their second conference game. The team is now just working on ironing out the kinks to continue to reach the team goal of over forty points scored in a game.

"Oh yeah, forty points is a reasonable goal and as it's shown statistically that if you do score forty points then you're going to get so many wins in a year, and that's been our goal from the start and we're going to continue striving to try and reach that goal," said Collie. "We're just going to keep working. It's an accomplishment but we expect that. We just have to keep that mentality that we can continue to put up that many points. I think from here on out we'll just tighten some stuff up. Tighten up some lose bolts and some lose ends here and there and like a machine, continue to score points.

"It's always a little harder playing on the road, but I have full confidence in our team and that we will come out victorious."

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