Special to NewsNet: BYU offense may take time to gel

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I can’t seem to shake the feeling that this BYU offense is a year away from reaching its potential.

Or at least six weeks.

There’s no question about the level of talent, with Ronney Jenkins back and Kevin Feterik in the driver’s seat from the start. But there’s a distinct lack of experience, both in playing Division I ball and playing together as a group.

It will be difficult, at best, to work out the kinks against Alabama, No. 8 Arizona State and No. 18 Washington. If Feterik can display calm assurance in leading his troops through the adversity they will certainly face, this offense should mesh rapidly, hitting full stride by mid-October.

The defense, which will be one of the best in school history if cornerbacks Brian Gray and Heshie Robertson remain healthy, will help the offense overcome some of its early stumbling, which is why I think the Cougars will probably win one of the first three games.

I’ll take BYU over Alabama, 17-12. Feterik’s confidence from beating Arizona State last year and Washington’s overconfidence after consecutive victories against the Cougars provide opportunities in those games.

But I pick BYU to finish the regular season 9-3 (one WAC loss due to the sheer boredom of playing terrible opponents), win the Pacific Division title outright and play Colorado State in the conference championship game.

Still, if Jenkins, John Tait and Byron Frisch return next year instead of opting for the NFL, and receiver Jonathan Pittman completes his junior college work to join newly transferred Michigan linebacker Jeff Holtry in Provo, I think the Cougars will be even better in 1999.

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