Notre Dame Football Opponent Preview: BYU Cougar Offense

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Oct 4, 2013; Logan, UT, USA; Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Kurt Henderson (13) looks to catch the ball while Utah State Aggies safety Maurice Alexander (5) tries to defend during the fourth quarter at Romney Stadium. BYU won 31-14. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Passing (238.3ypg – 59th in the nation)

With the ascension of Taysom Hil to the starting quarterback position, BYU’s offense has hit a new gear in 2013.  Hill, a former Stanford commit who suffered a torn ACL last season, is a dynamic athlete who leads the team in rushing and passing yards.  With Hill under center the Cougars are averaging 89 plays per game and have the ability to utilize multiple formations and sets to attack defenses.

Hill’s ability to run the ball drives the team’s offense, but his improved throwing prowess has helped Mendenhall build a balanced attack.  In 2013, Hill has passed for 2,379 yards and 16 touchdowns which has allowed BYU to spread the field and create room for the running game.  Hill has struggled though with his accuracy, throwing 12 interceptions and completing only 52.4% of his throws.  Hill’s accuracy issues are compounded by his obvious discomfort in the pocket and his tendency to force throws on the run.   In the Wisconsin game, the Badgers decided to blitz the interior of BYU’s offensive line to pressure Hill and force him to make quick decisions in the passing game.  The constant pressure took its toll as Hill completed only 46% of his passes.  In fact in BYU’s three losses Hill has an average completion percentage of 34%.

At the receiver position, the Cougars unquestioned leader and star is Cody Hoffman.  At 6’4, 210lbs, Hoffman has the size to rise up over defensive backs and snatch passes out of the air.  He also has the speed and physicality to gain separation and break the big play.  Hoffman has caught 38 receptions for 664 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2013.  Behind Hoffman, the wide receiver corps has suffered a series of injuries to their 2nd string (Mitch Matthews, shoulder injury) and their 3rd string (JD Falslev, broken hand) receivers leaving the team thin at the position.  Ross Apo and Skyler Ridley have filled the void and contributed five touchdowns this season but word from Cougar’s camp is that Apo is playing hurt.

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