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PROVO -- I want to step out of the normal "top storyline format" this week and share some observations of the season thus far.
I am normally not a huge numbers or statistics guy when it comes to tracking football success, nor am I a fan of clichés; however, I am going to throw both at you right here: Establish the run, and 44/23.
First of all, I am going to throw a plug in for Jake Heaps; he is a great Quarterback and I still believe that he will leave as one of BYU's greats (please stop booing him! He is the guy and will remain the guy whether or not we support him. Booing is the best way to lose momentum)
Having said that, I have noticed a common trend from last year's season start that has carried over to this year. Through Heaps' first three starts last year, he averaged 44 passing attempts per game. The team lost all three games.
The season's turning point was against SDSU when BYU lined up in a pro formation and ran the ball down the Aztecs throat for 271 rushing yards. Through the next three wins, Jake averaged only 23 passing attempts. Consequently, his passing yards per game skyrocketed.
Jake Heaps needs manageable second down yardage, rhythm, and a little pressure taken off of him by letting "Juice", JJ, and Kariya loose. You will then see his numbers rise and the offense get back to where it left off in 2010.
Now fast forward to 2011; Heaps has averaged… yep, you guessed it, 44 passing attempts per game and the run has seemed all but abandoned.
It was interesting to see the BYU offense come out against UCF and instantly enforce the run game. My favorite two minutes of the game was watching Kariya run four times in a row for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Heaps needs manageable second down yardage, rhythm, and a little pressure taken off of him by letting "Juice", JJ, and Kariya loose. You will then see his numbers rise and the offense get back to where it left off in 2010. Eventually, he will be the guy to run the show and put all of the pressure on his arm.
This week's matchup against Utah State is intriguing. It may be an even bigger game than it was last season. Utah State is in the Top 20 in most offensive and defensive statistical categories. They also actually believe, for the first time in years, that they can beat the Cougars.
In watching film of Utah State, I thought their quarterback was the same guy as last year. Chuckie Keeton looks mysteriously like Andre Borell. He has great scrambling ability, and is very effective with a "dip" move to get around the corner.
The Aggies are keeping things simple for their freshman QB relying heavily on their screen game and on their three great running backs (by the way, Robert Turbin has the biggest arms of anyone I ever played against!). However, their simplicity seemed to handcuff them against Colorado State last week and I think they will open things up for Keeton this week.
Scott Johnson was a two-year starter at defensive back for BYU and now roams the sidelines reporting for the KSL Newsradio broadcast of BYU Football games.