BYU football: Don’t blame the coaches for Cougars’ struggles

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(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

Although BYU football has struggled offensively this season, it’s important to remember that most of these are not Sitake’s recruits.

When Kalani Sitake accepted the head coaching job for BYU football, he also accepted Bronco Mendenhall’s current players and recruits.

In the first season of Sitake’s era, the offense and defense ran very similar styles of those that existed during the Mendenhall era.

This season, Sitake has allowed his coaches to run more of their style of football.

Most notably, the defense has switched from a 3-4/4-3 mix to almost an exclusively 4-3, meanwhile, the offense has switched from the spread to a pro-style defense. The switch had to happen eventually.

The only problem is, while the players on the roster are talented, they weren’t recruited for these schemes.

Changes to the play style

With defense, switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 isn’t a drastic change. Linemen still have similar assignments as do linebackers. Offensively however, the changes are drastic.

In the spread offense, players are expected to go fast and go hard. There are not a lot audibles, reads or huddles. The offense is generally designed to pick up short yardage and the passes are normally quick throws to open receivers. This means that blockers need to have stamina to keep up, however do not need to be very strong to hold up a pocket for over three seconds.

The pro-style offense is opposite in just about every way.

With a pro-style offense, half of the play is made at the line of scrimmage. Every play is designed to go through reads to find the best play and preferably a play that will go for a first down. Because of this, linemen need to be big and strong so they can block for a long time. Stamina is not a big issue, as they will have 30-35 seconds between plays to catch their breath in the huddle and then on the line as the quarterback makes audibles.

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