Friday, October 21, 2005

Cougar Chicanery, par deux | by Jay

Here's some reading on the "Air Raid" offense, which BYU offensive coordinator and Mike Leach disciple Robert Anae brought with him from Texas Tech. Leach was a protege of Hal Mumme, and ironically, Mumme first got the idea for the scheme from the old Lavell Edwards BYU offenses. Leach developed an offshoot for Texas Tech, and now the system's come full circle back to Provo with Anae.

The Air Raid typically features multiple receivers flooding zones and a quarterback who can make quick progression reads. In other words, airing it out -- a lot. Texas Tech, for example, throws the ball 50+ times per game, rain or shine.

BYU, on the other hand, isn't afraid to mix it up -- they're using TT's offense, but aren't married to it. They'll run it if they think they can move the ball that way, and unlike other WAC teams, their OL is actually big enough to run it (they average 325 lbs across the front).

The Cougars' play mix thus far looks like this:

Run   16  32  39  19  30  52
Pass 60 41 51 49 44 18
That last game was against Colorado State, which has the 103rd-worst run defense in football.

One worry Charlie mentioned in his presser are the extraordinarily large splits the BYU offensive line takes:
You'll notice this team (BYU) takes very, very large splits, so you have to be very careful on how you play inside with your inside players because they almost bait you into just taking the gaps. As they bait you into taking these extremely large splits that they're taking, a lot of times, if you don't play the fundamentals and techniques, you find yourself out of position.
The leading rusher is Curtis Brown (#6), who's got 504 yards and 5 touchdowns. They also throw to Brown quite a bit out of the backfield, and he ties the tight end Johnny Harline (#89) as the leading receiver on the team. They do spread it around in the passing game, though: five guys already have 20 or more receptions this year. Quarterback John Beck isn't much of a runner, but he's savvy and smart, completing 65% of his passes.

But it's Brown who really makes the 26th-ranked offense in the country go.
"Curtis, in terms of touches, accounts for about 60 percent of our offense," Mendenhall said. "For our offense to succeed, (Brown) has to have the ball in his hands either having it handed to him or throwing it to him."
I'm not sure Bronco's breakdown is exactly correct, but it is true they'd like to feature their top playmaker more and more.

Prediction for the D? I'm guessing we'll play a very conservative game on defense, bend-but-don't-break stuff, preventing the big play while stopping the run. The five-yard hitch -- we'll give 'em that. If they want to chew up the clock, that's fine with Charlie & Rick...because we should be putting the ball in the end zone on every one of our drives.

A few more fun BYU facts, courtesy of the South Bend Tribune:

BYU has an 11-game losing streak against ranked teams.

The Cougars are tied for last in the nation in interceptions. BYU's defense has picked off one pass.

Thirty BYU players are married. Six of them have pregnant wives.