BYU football still looking for offense to mesh

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All across the country, football fans have enjoyed three full weeks of games. Taking a quick glance across the nation, not much has changed from years past. Oklahoma is still ranked No. 1, and the SEC boasts two teams in the top 5. But here in Provo, Cougar fans are still wondering when their team’s offense will finally come alive.

When the Cougars take the field against University of Central Florida this week, the eyes of the fans will be closely watching how the team’s offense performs. BYU is currently 1-2, with their only win coming from the defense, which forced a fumble in the fourth quarter.

When asked about the problems facing this year’s offense, senior receiver McKay Jacobsen said he couldn’t pinpoint the real issue.

[media-credit name=”Luke Hansen” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Ute line backer Boo Anderson breaks up a pass from BYU quarterback Jake Heaps on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

“I don’t know what it is exactly,” Jacobsen said. “I think there’s a lot of stuff we can really work on. When it comes down to it, I think we just need to mentally get there.”

After two games on the road and one at home, the Cougars are averaging 13.3 points per game, which ranks them 111th among all teams in Division I football.

“It’s time for our offense to step up,” said sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps. “You look at the potential of our team and it’s really frustrating to be where we’re at right now. We have such great potential. We have such a great opportunity to have an explosive offense. We just haven’t shown that yet.”

However, the Cougars are moving the ball through the air at an effective pace. They have tallied 760 passing yards this season, which ranks above other top tier teams, such as Boise State and Oklahoma. As the season progresses, look for BYU to get more receivers involved. Through week 3, freshman Ross Apo is the only offensive player to score a touchdown.

“We have got to work together, football is a great team sport,” Jacobsen said. “The passing game, the running game, the receivers blocking, the offensive linemen, everybody contributes on each play. They have their role. And I think we just need to overall do a better job to do our responsibilities.”

As Heaps and the passing game continue to improve and gain yards, the Cougars’ running game is still struggling. BYU is 118th in the nation in rushing yards per game at 48.3. Before the Utah game, head coach Bronco Mendenhall said he wasn’t too concerned about the running game. But during this week’s media conference, he said it is becoming more of a priority for his team.

“I think the design has to be looked at first and foremost, what runs are we doing,” Mendenhall said. “And the second thing is with whom are we doing them with and then what situations. That’s got to become more clear . . . we haven’t seen yet what the run game should look like in relation to our offense and that’s going to have to happen soon.”

Heaps said he knows in order for his passing game to reach its maximum potential, the running game will need to be more dominant.

“[We need] to be able to have somewhat of that balance, somewhat of that threat for teams to look at to stay honest,” Heaps said. “It really opens up passing lanes and keeps the defenses off balance. We have great running backs and we have a great offensive line. There’s really no reason why our running game shouldn’t be happening. I think it’s going to click, I think we’re going to get things together.”

BYU fans and players alike would like to see the team move on from its tough loss against Utah, and Jacobsen asked fans to continue to support them through their struggles and victories.

“It’s tough when you’re winning and doing well, everybody’s gonna be right behind you and be your buddy and be excited about what’s going on,” Jacobsen said. “But when adversity hits and tough times come that’s kind of when you know the fair-weather fans and fair-weather players. I just have to say to the fans and everybody, try to stick with us. To the fans that have been supporting us, we really appreciate it. We expect a lot more of ourselves and really it comes down to the players going out there and making it happen.”

 

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