BYU Football: Week 1 Impressions

BYU vs PSU 17
Isaac Hale – Daily Herald

Last Week I predicted BYU would win the first game of the season against Portland St. 51-10.

If I were just looking at the score I’d say BYU’s defense was a little better than I had projected, and the offense was much worse than I had projected.

But I’m not.

Both sides of the ball were not what I envisioned—at all. Allow me to elaborate.

Offense:

I thought Tanner Mangum would come out big in this game. He didn’t look bad, but he didn’t look great either. Good? Maybe, but not great. I love his passing form and trajectory. To me, it’s the best I’ve seen in a long time, and I suspect he will turn out to be one of BYU’s best passers of all time. However, with all his talent, he didn’t live up to expectations. He went 16/27 for 194 yards and a TD. Normally I’d say that wasn’t necessarily a bad game, but this is against a team that he should have had a 300 yard passing game with 3-4 touchdown passes until his back-up came in in the 4th quarter. Tanner will have to do much better in the weeks to come.

The receiving game was questionable too. I wasn’t at the game, so it’s difficult to tell if the receivers were getting open. I’m curious as to why Coach Detmer didn’t pass the ball more than 27 times. Let’s hope that was just the game plan this week; but it will be critical for BYU’s success to unleash Tanner’s gun-slinging talent against more talented teams.

Squally Canada ran the ball 16 times for 98 yards, averaging 6.1 yards per carry While Kavika Fonua looked good going 7 carries for 59 yards. Not bad, but again, it was Portland St. I’ll hold off on any criticism in the run game until next week.

Defense:

As a whole, the defense wasn’t bad. If it weren’t for the defensive effort, BYU could have easily lost this game; that, and PSU looked horrible offensively. Let’s see how they do against Derrius Guice and the LSU offense this week. But holding any college team to 6 points is notable, and it gives me hope that the defense is on the right track.

The offensive and defensive lines were not great either. They should have blown over the lesser talent, but didn’t. The verdict is still out for now on whether or not there are problems. I am, however, very concerned.

Summary:

I know a lot of fans were disappointed with the outcome of this game, and so was I. If BYU were a glass of water, I’d say they are half full, not half empty. My suspicion is that Sitaki and Detmer went pure vanilla against PSU (or at least I hope so). Why show their cards and why use all their ammunition against an inferior team in the first game of the season? That’s definitely something to think about.

Keep your heads up, BYU fans. I believe Detmer used this game to set up something much bigger against an unsuspecting LSU team. I still think BYU will lose that game, but I think fans will be happier losing a good fought game against a great team than winning an awfully fought game against a bad team.

If there are any doubts about who this BYU team is, then certainly we will know who they are by Saturday night when Coach Sitake and Coach Detmer lay all their cards on the table. Let’s just hope they’re not bluffing.

–Troy Thayne

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