Greater Threat on the Outside

BYU coaches want to improve upon last season's offensive performance, which saw BYU finish the year 6th in the nation in passing and 13th in the nation in total offense with a 93 percent success rate in the "Blue Zone." One way they feel they can get better is by taking advantage of their outside receivers like Michael Reed.

BYU managed to score 28 points against one of the stingiest defenses in the nation, finishing just seven points behind Cal in the Las Vegas Bowl. This feat appears more impressive considering that BYU did it with a brand new offense and three new wide receivers in Nate Meikle, Matt Allen and Michael Reed.

The good news for BYU fans is that all three are back with a year of experience.

"As a team I think we've progressed a lot," said Reed. "Guys have really focused and have really helped each other out, and it's just really intense out here with a lot of enthusiasm."

There is no mistaking how much a player can grow within a given year. Quarterback John Beck has frequently mentioned ho much he grew from his sophomore year to his junior year. For outside wide receiver Michael Reed, he has also noticed a big difference in his physical abilities from his true freshman year to the present, when he enters spring camp as a redshirt sophomore.

"As far as me personally, I've advanced more in my abilities," Reed said. "I've gotten quicker and have learned to run my routs much better, and I'm catching balls and not dropping anything. I feel like it's going to be a good year. John [Beck] and I have more of a connection and a feel for one another this year."

Getting players to believe in a scheme is essential to generating player performance. Beck has learned three new offenses in his tenure at BYU. With each change the team needed time to warm up to the system. The quickest way to get comfortable with a sheme is success, and that is exactly what wide receiver Michael Reed feels has happened.

"I think the biggest difference between this year than last year is that we want to learn," said Reed. "We're hungrier and we want to learn, we want the ball more and last year there were some ups and downs with the outside receivers."

The goal is to make the outside receivers just as formidable as those playing the inside positions. BYU coaches are looking to create greater success on the outside that will create both greater offensive balance and greater difficulties for defensive coordinators.

"The outside receivers weren't overall as strong as a position and getting as many receptions as the inside guys, so another focus this year for our offense is to get the outside guys more involved," Reed said. "Coaches want to have teams worry about the outside guys more than just our inside guys and our running backs. I believe us outside receivers will accomplish this."

Throughout the off-season, Reed has invested a lot of his time in increasing his speed so he can help stretch the field and thereby help coaches accomplish their goals on the outside.

"I've been working out with Coach Omer with agility, and I've noticed a I have greater amount of speed. I just plan to keep on doing this and working to continue increasing my speed over the summer. I also want to continue improving those things that will help the outside receivers position be more of a factor next year."

Throw in speedy Texas receiver McKay Jacobsen who is in spring camp learning the outside position and BYU coaches could have their speed mixed with experience. Knowing what they have accomplished last year and with the talent currently on the team there is already high expectations buzzing among the players.

"There is a high expectation with us for this year," Reed said. "The other day we were in a meeting with Coach Mendenhall and he put up a sign saying, ‘13-0 Las Vegas Bowl.' John [Beck] raised his hand and said as a team he believed that if they go 13-0 we're in the BCS and that we should try for better than the Las Vegas Bowl. Coach Mendenhall apologized for even putting up the Las Vegas symbol up there because he expects so much from us and we just want to give it all we got.

"As a team we all expect a lot this year. We expect we're going to have games that are going to be hard but we expect that even though we'll go through those hard games we'll finish those games. There were a couple of games last year like TCU where we didn't finish, Utah were we didn't finish, Cal were we didn't finish and our main focus this year is to just finish. We noticed last year that some guys were fatigued in the game so this year there is more of an intense practice and more running. We don't want to get tired like we did last year and be in a position to finish every game strong. As a team we all come out here very focused and excited and there is no goofing around."

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