Bronco ends up putting very good teams on the field. This year, we were a reasonable offense away from Top 10. We ended up #26 AP and #17 Sagarin. Not bad for having such a terrible offense this year.
Here are the keys to being that Top 10 school and KEEPING our priorities of Faith, Family, Academics and then Football:
1. Simplify the offense: The past has proven that overly complex offenses confuse our new players as much as the defenses. Time to have some simplicity, while maintaining unpredictability. Oregon is a good example of working from a basic offensive scheme, while having a few tricks up your sleeve.
2. Recruit smart and mature players. BYU has always had good athletes who compensate for a little less athletic ability by being a little smarter than the other team and a little more emotionally mature. We won't win straight up against the competition physically, but we can compensate by intelligent play. That is where age can make a difference. It is the patience and calm from maturity that wins the big games.
3. Physical conditioning. Time to double down on this. Not only does it prevent injuries, but it also takes those players who are smart and mature and gives them a chance against teams who have superior physical talent.
4. Lead with Defense. I think we have shown that a defense can keep you in the game. An offense only has to be mediocre to win games if the Defense can stop teams from scoring.
5. Mistake-free Special Teams. We don't need to run the ball back 100 yards for a touchdown. We just need to secure the ball and do the job right on special teams. On the Defensive Special Teams side, we need to create opportunities through turn-overs and not give up the big plays. Give a few extra yards, but never over-pursue. We can't rely on our kicker or punter to make the plays.
6. Get into field goal range on offense. We can't leave points on the field. This year if we had an effective field goal team, we would have only hand one or two losses. More important than throwing the long-bomb, we need an effective FG unit. 3+3=6 In two possessions we can nearly make up for the lack of a touchdown -- stay in the game and win most of them if our Defense does its job.
7. Having a DEEEEEEEP O-line. Offensive Linemen get hurt. That is just the way that goes. If we are to have any shot at Top Ten, we need to have a deep bench for O-linemen. The best years have proven a deep bench and good rotation gives us success. We can't just rely on five guys and hope it works out. We need ten guys who are all ready to play and who all play.
This is very respectable football and very achievable with our current make-up.
Objectives like getting the best QB in the nation; having the best RB in the nation; going undefeated; Beating top 5 teams away are all great -- but not really achievable as goals. Better to focus on finishing Top Ten with reasonable expectations and goals and keeping our priorities -- which make us a unique school throughout the nation. Then with any luck, when the nation isn't looking, we can slip in to the top spots every four or five years. What else can you ask for? Of 64 Football schools, being in the top 10 year in and year out?