No. 43 Gary Sheide – Quarterback – 1973-1974
Last week, Jim McMahon was featured as Lavell’s first quarterback to ever run the Lavell offense. While this is true, and McMahon was the first one to lead the Cougars with the pass first style of offense, it was Gary Sheide who first experimented with it for Edwards.
Lavell Edwards seem to have this dream of passing the ball on nearly every down, but wasn’t quite ready to make the commitment without first trying it out. There were some games where Sheide threw the ball 46 times, right in line with Lavell’s offense, but many games he only threw 22-29 times. McMahon on the other hand threw 46+ times seven times with as many as 60 in a game.
If Sheide didn’t play well however, I’m not sure Lavell would have continued to try to implement the pass first style of play and who knows what would have happened.
Sheide earns the first A+ on the list. He completed 61 percent of his passes and in games where he threw 30 times of more the Cougars went 7-3, a stark difference from the 3-7 type records that the Cougars were used to. In games where he didn’t throw 30 times, BYU had a record of 4-6. This showed Lavell that the passing game could work, in fact that it was significantly better than trying to stick with the run game. Again, if Sheide gets in there and goes 2-8 when throwing the ball and 8-2 when not throwing the ball BYU might be an FCS school right now because Lavell wouldn’t have gone through with the pass first kind of offense meaning no Holiday Bowls, no 1984 and perhaps we would still be going Cougar Stadium.
Sheide’s numbers for his time were really good, but compared to the other BYU quarterbacks, even when considering the time period he isn’t great. He averaged 207 yards passing per game on 7.5 yards per attempt. He also threw for 44 touchdowns and 31 interceptions, an alright but not great ratio. The worst stat for him is he fumbled the ball 14 times and lost 10 of those which cost the team a few wins for sure. Overall, considering the time period and style of play he was trying to implement he was, pretty good but not elite.
Memorable Moments B
I wasn’t alive to see Sheide play, but I can only imagine BYU Football starting to change the culture of the sport under Sheide. SportsCenter wasn’t around back then, but I can imagine if it was the show would start off with “A quarterback from BYU threw the ball 46 times today in a 56-21 route against New Mexico. Is this the future of college football?” As far as memorable moments on the field, the Cougars only won two one score games while Sheide was playing and neither one of them had game winning touchdowns late in the 4th quarter.