BYU football: Offensive coordinator is under fire

Provo ? Only one
college
football team in the country has a
worse passing efficiency rating than the BYU Cougars.

The 3-3 UCLA Bruins, with offensive coordinator Norm Chow
calling the plays, just can’t seem to get anything going through
the air, either.

Chow, of course, was considered an offensive whiz at BYU under
LaVell Edwards from 1982-99, but fell out of favor when the offense
grew stagnant. He left the program, probably never to return.

No question, the heat has now been turned up on Robert Anae.

The current BYU offensive coordinator oversees one of the
nation’s worst units, one that sputtered, gasped and was without
direction in the Cougars’ 31-3 loss at TCU on Saturday. BYU had
just 13 yards and one first down at halftime, and finished with 147
yards against a very good TCU defense that pretty much shuts down
everybody, but not to that extent.

“Yeah, I am comfortable with the play-calling,” coach Bronco
Mendenhall said after the loss, but his body language walking off
the field at halftime, and again after the game, sent a different
message.

There’s some serious discord among the offensive coaching staff,
and even between key players and their coaches, according to
multiple sources.

Several players have alluded to the Cougars not using some of
the plays they worked on in practice in recent weeks. Quarterbacks
coach Brandon Doman seemed to hint after the TCU loss that the team
didn’t follow its offensive game plan.

“I feel really confident about what the plan was. I don’t think
we were able to really get into the plan, and really try to execute
it,” Doman said. “I think our first four third downs were third and
long, and we didn’t convert on any of them. Gosh, you can’t win a
football game if it is always third
and long.”

Some of Saturday’s struggles can be explained away by TCU’s
defense, No. 2 in the country, and a talent shortage that becomes
more and more evident with each blowout loss.

But the fact remains the Cougars (2-5) are near the bottom in
every major statistical category in offense, despite playing
against just four defenses ranked in the top half nationally: TCU
(2nd), Florida State (22nd), Air Force (42nd) and San Diego State
(46th).

BYU is 107th in total offense, 115th in scoring offense and 97th
in passing offense, in addition to 119th in passing efficiency.

“TCU played a great game, but we’re definitely better than
that,” said freshman quarterback Jake Heaps.

The Cougars’ schedule turns easier this week, or so they
hope.

They face a Wyoming team that is also 2-5, and also struggling
mightily on offense. It is dead last in the country in total
offense, averaging 232 yards per game.

But the Cowboys had more yards against TCU than BYU did
(191-147), and all five of their losses have been to ranked teams.
Wyoming’s schedule suddenly gets easier as well, beginning Saturday
at LaVell Edwards Stadium (noon, The Mtn.).

BYU has defeated Wyoming six straight times and 15 of the last
17 games. It hasn’t lost to the Cowboys in Provo since 1987.

“This doesn’t set us back at all,” Heaps said of the TCU loss.
“From here, we can only get better. We can only progress as a team
and individually. … We got a lot of
football left to play, and we are
really excited to play Wyoming next week.”

?

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter: @drewjay Alt Heads:

BYU’s offensive coordinator is under fire Where does BYU’s
offense rank?

(Out of 120 D-I schools)

Total offense ? 107th (303.29 ypg)

Scoring offense ? 115th (14.71 ppg)

Rushing offense ? 82nd (132.29 ypg)

Passing offense ? 97th (171.0 ypg)

Passing efficiency ? 119th (90.2) Saturday’s game

Wyoming (2-5) at BYU (2-5), noon

TV ? The Mtn.