BYU X's and O's: 3rd down conversion

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PROVO -- BYU has struggled on third down conversions this year when over five yards to go; however, when running the ball on third and five or shorter, BYU has made 13 of their last 14.

"Simpler is better," Mendenhall said. "We really try hard not to make it confusing."

The hardest aspect of converting on third down is trying to confuse the defense into thinking that the play for a run is similar to that of a passing play. Mendenhall said, "If that's the case, you have a great chance to be running the football against pass defense."

However, as the yards-to-go for a first down are shortened, the ability to confuse the defense becomes more difficult. Rather than using elaborate plays, Coach Mendenhall believes that fundamental play calling will allow for the team to pick up the first down.

"If the running back is willing to run hard and through somebody, which is what it's going to take," Mendenhall said, "we should be able to get three."

Coach Mendenhall believes that one of the best opportunities to pick up the quick gain is with the I-formation. This is where the fullback is directly in front of the tailback in formation.

"This formation gives you a chance to do quite a few things, but most of it is not that elaborate or creative in nature," Mendenhall said. "It allows you to add the fullback into any one of these gaps to make sure he's a lead blocker for the tailback."

If the offensive line and the fullback execute their assignments correctly, the tailback has the opportunity to pick up some quick yards and the first down.

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