The second game of the season is always the most important to me as a fan. It says a lot about the adjustments that a team makes when they have time to really look at the film and consider how best to fix their mistakes.
After watching BYU fall to Texas, yesterday, I am somewhat concerned with the direction this team is headed.
I am amongst the fans that were glad to see Robert Anae move on last year, as I felt he had done all he could do and BYU needed to go in a different direction. Unfortunately, it looks like Brandon Doman is following way too much in his footsteps when it comes to lack of creativity and unreal predictability.
I am not ready to totally write Doman off, as there is bound to be a learning curve in terms of finding your style and your rhythm. BYU has actually played two excellent halves of football, offensively. They just happened to be in different games.
While Doman deserves much of the blame in terms of play selection, I also think Jake Heaps deserves his fair share. He really isn't going through a progression on most plays. He pretty much watches one person until he is ready to throw it to them. That is what happened on the pick he threw against Ole Miss, as well as one of the two against Texas.
There is one major problem with the BYU offense, right now. They are completely unwilling, or perhaps unable, to use the middle of the field. I don't know if it is Doman's play calling, or Jake's reads, but they never go to the middle of the field.
In terms of runs it is clearly Doman who consistently chooses to run to the edges, with little positive effect, but other than the pick Heaps threw, I don't remember a single other throw across the middle. Even when he throws to tight ends, it is in the flat.
When you look at the recent successful BYU teams, they have owned the middle of the field. This starts with tight ends taking on linebackers, but it is equally important, if not more so, that running backs own the middle.
Owning the middle is what great teams do.
If you own the middle, linebackers are forced to stay in the middle, opening up the flats.
If you own the middle, safeties can't cheat to the outside and you get more true man for our super tall receivers to take advantage of.
If you own the middle, the whole defense is forced to stay at home, and you can find weak spots to exploit.
Much has been made of the lack of effective tight ends, last year and early this year. If they are going to find success they must use their tight ends like they did in the first half against Texas, but more importantly across the middle.
They also need to use Brian Kariya more effectively. JJ Diluigi has a terrible habit of dancing around instead of running downhill like Kariya does. When you play against fast teams, dancing around just gives them time to catch you.
This offense came in with a lot of hype for their talent, but has done little to show any kind of real ability. Hopefully they will learn from this terrible showing and do better next week.
If they can't find some heart and passion against Utah, than this season will be over before it really starts.