While it’s not quite as exciting as it would be in August, anytime there is football at LaVell Edwards Stadium, it’s worth celebrating. BYU finished up their annual spring scrimmage this morning in front of a few thousand fans (if I had to guess, I would say there were between 10,000-15,000). A lot of the starters and big name players didn’t play, but it was still fun to see the offense go against the defense.
Overall, there were some struggles on both sides of the ball. There was one interception on a tipped ball, there were a few fumbles and a few false start penalties, there were a couple of dropped passes and few sacks allowed. I don’t feel that there is any need to get in to what players stood out or who struggled because, ultimately, the team that takes the field in August will be very different than the team that took the field today.
There were a few major impressions that I was able to take away from this game, however.
1. Offensive Motion
There were a few new pre-snap motions and wrinkles that Robert Anae has added to the offense. I think that these will play major roles in the effectiveness of the offense. Last year, especially toward the end of the year, the offense looked so similar on nearly every play that it got easier and easier to defend. (That doesn’t sound like something Robert Anae would do, right?) This year, there are going to be a number of wrinkles that make formations look different and a few different things can be done out of those formations.
The motion that stuck out the most was one of the wide outs would go in motion and run into the backfield where the running back was lined up. Sometimes that receiver would stop in the back field and other times the ball would be snapped as he was running. When newly JUCO transfer Nick Kurtz was the receiver in motion, it really put the defense on its heels. Kurtz is fast enough that he could possibly take the ball out of the backfield on a run, but he’s explosive and elusive enough that he could run all the way through, up a sideline and catch a deep pass. It looked very exciting.
2. Defensive Backfield
I watched, on multiple occasions, BYU cornerbacks line up across receivers in press coverage. Now, pick your jaw up off the floor and hear me out. The defensive secondary this year will be one of the best secondaries in the history of BYU. They’re big, they’re fast, they’re athletic AND they weren’t even all healthy. They had swagger like I’ve rarely seen from a BYU secondary. Trenton Trammel looks really strong. Trevor Bateman was really surprising for me. Robertson Daniel and Craig Bills are still Robertson Daniel and Craig Bills. It was really impressive.
They did get beat a few times, but it’s March and, to be honest, I’m not even sure what corners it was that got beat. You can color me impressed, though. They looked really good.
3. Taysom Hill
Taysom Hill is at a real disadvantage every time he plays in a scrimmage format. The two-hand-touch rule doesn’t suit his game. But, even in a scrimmage format, there is one thing that I know for sure, Taysom Hill is the best player on the field.
The guy can flat out play. He’s not the most accurate passer (though he looked markedly improved from last year, but who doesn’t when you know you won’t ever get hit?) but he’s a gamer. Hill is the kind of player that can take over a football game and win that game all by himself. Guys, he’s a really, really special player. And BYU will finally have a full arsenal of weapons to surround him with. I’m really looking forward to watching this offense play.
The game was good. There were a few players that had their names called a handful of times. Zac Stout is back on the team and he finally looks like the player that we thought he’d be when he sat at Iggy’s with Ross Apo and Jake Heaps. I’m really excited for the potential on this team. I think that BYU fans are in for an exciting year.