BYU sports legend and former BYU Football head coach Lavell Edwards believes that a team improves the most between week one and week two of the season. Cougar fans witnessed this first hand on Saturday as BYU stunned a Texas team ranked No. 15 in the nation.
“We upped our intensity and expectation significantly from week one to week two,” Mendenhall said on Monday. “That was the message to the team today: If they want those kinds of results, then their preparation in practice will be similar.”
The biggest improvement could be seen in BYU’s rushing attack. BYU set a school record with 550 rushing yards against Texas, who in its storied history, had never given up more than 452 rushing yards in a single game. Quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Jamaal Williams each set career highs with 259 and 182 rushing yards respectively.
“We didn’t expect to break the school record,” Hill said. “It was working and we were able to move the ball really efficiently on the ground. There was no need to go away from it. So, we didn’t.”
Hill and Williams carried the ball but much of the rushing dominance can be attributed to better play from the offensive line. After a tough loss to Virginia in week one, offensive coordinator Robert Anae decided to make significant changes to an inexperienced offensive line. The biggest change came when Michael Yeck moved from right tackle to left tackle, replacing the experienced Ryker Mathews.
“It’s a very good feeling and we love it,” said Yeck. “We were super-pumped and got tons of pats on the back on Sunday.”
Anae even mentioned that former coaches of the program had called him to congratulate the offensive line on the transformation from week one to week two.
“I did receive a call from Coach (Roger) French over the weekend,” Anae said. “He said it’s the biggest transformation from week one to week two that he’s seen in his career as a college football player and coach. For the Cougar faithful that want to kind of know the nuts and bolts of the program, I really believe there’s a lot there.”
Players and coaches both agree that while they played well against Texas, they still can get better. BYU hopes to build on their improvement when they play Utah a week on Sept. 21.
“There’s nothing to hang our hat on. We had a good game and we’re gonna build off of that,” Hill said. “Our focus is now Utah, and we need to get a win.”