Mind Your Ys & Hs

BYU's offense is simple in its concept, but complex in its performance. Cougar receivers must grapple with both the easy and the difficult aspects in order to become masters of their positions. Some players must even become proficient at more than one spot.

Count 6-foot-4, 226-pound redshirt freshman Andrew George among those Cougar who doubled their responsibilities this spring. The Cherry Creek High School tight end star led his high school team with an average of 23.1-yards per catch. He was thrown into an even greater offensive role this week because of a hand injury to senior tight end Jonny Harline.

"Things are progressing for me pretty well," said George. "I've had to learn the H position as well as the Y position so it's been a tough transition in learning both. I see myself just helping the offense create miss matches for defenses and just helping in any way possible. I'm another big body out there that's able to make some big plays on guys out there."

Offensive Coordinator Robert Anae is responsible for developing the inside receivers this year. That means he works with H (slot) and Y (tight end) receivers. This year, the tight ends will play an even greater role as Coach Anae is developing the tight ends and smaller slot receivers into an interchangeable group of weapons.

"Last year, Nate Meikle ran most of the H position and he was more of what we call a smaller H," said George. "A bigger H would be more of a two tight end set whereas the smaller H is more shifty and would be included in some different things than the bigger H player.

"I've just started out at the H position this off-season and I'm having a great time learning the different positions. Sometimes, I've had times were we'll have different plays called and it will mean two different routes for the Y and the H and sometimes I'll be thinking of one route when I'm playing the other position. I'm starting to get rid of that problem now because I'm becoming more familiar with the different plays and routes associated with the Y and H positions."

The interchanging of different types of players in order to utilize their talents to achieve greater results is the key to the offensive schemes. BYU coaches are finding out what they have and creating offensive packages in order to maximize their offensive advantage.

"I think they've found out what I have to offer and can use me to help in any way possible," said George. "Right now we have some injuries at the Y position as well so I've been able to play there a lot more. Wherever they need help, that's were I'm going to fill in and help out and makes plays for the team.

"I've had a year in the system and ran all Y last year on our scout team for the defense. It was a great learning experience for me. I'm blessed to play with all these great tight ends we have. It's a great learning experience for me. Guys like Dan Coats who's been a four-year starter and is a tremendous player. He knows the game really well and I've been able to learn from him and Jonny, who is a tremendous play maker. I've watched him and learned from his style of play."

For George, playing the H and Y positions has really opened his eyes to a unique perspective on how each positions works in relation to one another.

"You can see both sides of the offense by playing the different positions," said George. "You understand the role of the other position better and you can better see what route they're running. You can better understand how those other routes help you to get open, and it also shows you how to better run your routes to help the other guys get open. A lot of the routes are designed to help other routes get open, and by understanding the different positions and how it fits into the offense overall you better understand what we are trying to achieve."

After practicing against the 3-3-5 defense during his redshirt season last year, George has had to learn how to play against the new 3-4-4 scheme. He has seen some differences from his position between the two.

"Probably the most different thing for me in my position is the blocking schemes," said George. "Mostly last year we would be blocking the safeties and going after them more because they were playing up on us more. Now it's more blocking the linebackers and linemen. I find that as a tight end the blocking has become a little easier for me in facing the 3-4-4 rather than the 3-3-5. The 3-3-5 is more of an unorthodox defense and they had guys running around all over the place. I think it could also be because now we're blocking against bigger bodies as well."


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