Strengthening the H Position

Last year, Nate Meikle had 36 receptions for 292 yards, averaging 8.1 yards per catch. He also rushed for 39 yards on seven carries, averaging 5.6 yards a carry. He led all receivers against Boston College with nine catches and topped that with his 12-reception performance against Cal. Come fall, Meikle will once more be BYU's go to guy at slot receiver.

Nate Meikle was so much a part of the offense last season that his new role as a sideline spectator is taking some getting used to. Meikle is not being punished or demoted. The Academic All-American was forced to take a step back from the field because of a hamstring injury he suffered early in spring ball.

"I tore my hamstring two weeks ago," said Meikle. "I've tweaked it before. I tweaked it during the New Mexico game, the Cal game and I tweaked it over Christmas, but when I did it two weeks ago I knew I did it pretty good. They told me right then that spring ball was pretty much over for me."

Standing along the sidelines during scrimmages, Meikle is vocal in support of his offensive teammates. He is there encouraging the receivers with praise and compliments when they make a catch.

"You always battle through some depression the first week of practice but it'll be alright," said Meikle. "You always want to be out there and I want to be out there and it's rough not being able to play with everybody. Right now, you just try to learn as much as you can even though you're not out on the field. I'll be back for fall and hopefully I'll be starting at the H position."

It is evident that Meikle does not like being on the sidelines watching scrimmage unfold. His eyes are focused on the plays and the performances of both the receivers and the defenders alike. As the offense marches down the field, Meikle is right along the sidelines moving with down the field with them, or he is standing behind the offense with the coaches and players of the second and third team offenses. His excitement to get back in the game is a clear, but his desire to return sooner rather than later is curbed by the experience of fellow H receiver Bryce Mahuika.

"I'm just thinking back on what Bryce Mahuika went through last year," said Meikle. "He battled the same thing but came back for the spring game and re-tore it during the spring game, so I've just decided to sit out during the spring and let it fully recover. I'll wait till the summer to start working out again."

Offensively, BYU coaches switched several inside receivers' positions in order to best use the talent on the team. Andrew George is taking reps at H receiver in addition to his normal Y position. Bryce Mahuika moved from H to the outside receiver spot. Sophomore receiver Saia Hafoka remains at the H receiver spot, a position he practiced throughout last season.

"I'll be playing the H position again this year," said Meikle. "I think we expect to exceed what we did last year. We understand that it's going to take a lot of work and teams maybe able to scout us out a little better because they know what we are going to do, but we all expect to do much better than last year and score more points, more yards and more touchdowns."

Meikle felt that BYU's offense was young in both experience and understanding last year. Despite such circumstances, Offensive Coordinator Robert Anae and Assistant Head Coach Lance Reynolds were able to develop an offensive game plan that placed BYU among the top 15 offenses nationally. Expectations run high on an offense that returns eight starters from last year's squad.

"We're excited for the no limit offense," said Meikle. "We lost Todd [Watkins] and we lost Fahu [Tahi], but, man, Fui Vakapuna is looking great and the receivers are developing. Looking back on us last year we had Matt Allan, Zac Collie, myself, Jonny Harline, Michael Reed and a number of us had never even caught a ball in Division I before.

"This being our second year playing, we're not new to this and we have John [Beck] back. I mean, John will go days without having an incompletion during practice, and we have a big and experienced O-line coming back along with our tight ends who are as good as anybody's. We're as optimistic as anyone in the country."


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