BYU’s loss to No. 11 Washington brings up a good question. With an offense that continues to struggle, why doesn’t the Cougar offense utilize more trick plays?
While the Huskies have one of the top defenses in the country, the fact that BYU couldn’t get past midfield in the second and third quarters was embarrassing for Cougar fans.
Instead of throwing short 2-3 yard passes that didn’t do anything to help move the chains, why not try some trick plays to help spark a struggling offense?
Two weeks ago, BYU ran a trick play at Camp Randall Stadium against then-No. 6 Wisconsin to give the Cougars a 14-7 lead. And it was a thing of beauty!
Early in the second quarter, BYU Offensive Coordinator Jeff Grimes went to his bag of tricks. On second-and-four from the Wisconsin 31-yard line, quarterback Tanner Mangum lateraled the ball to wide receiver Aleva Hifo who then threw a perfect strike to tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau for a 31-yard touchdown pass to give the Cougars its first lead of the game at 14-7.
— Fan Insider (@FanInsider_) September 15, 2018
In honor of playing the Badgers, the Cougars named the trick play “Bucky,” after Wisconsin’s mascot.
Hifo joked with reporters afterwards saying, “I told Tanner I’m coming for his job. “I’m one-for-one (in pass attempts) right now.”
“I told (Hifo) that I’d better watch out for my spot. He looked good out there,” Mangum said, smiling. “We worked that play all week. It was the look that we wanted. … It was a big momentum boost. It gave us a lot of confidence. It gave us a lot of momentum in that moment.”
As Mangum noted, the trick play was a game-changing moment that gave the Cougars momentum and the belief they could pull off the upset.
And for a team that managed only seven first downs against Washington, the Cougars severely needed big plays to help swing the momentum and at least give the defense a chance to rest after so many three-and-outs on Saturday night.
It’s no secret, that over the past few years, BYU’s offense has been stagnant and very conservative. Rarely have fans seen any sort of trickeration in its offense as well as deep passes down the field to stretch the defense out.
BYU needs to go for the big play, instead of relying on an offense that is limited to a short passing game and a quarterback that is not very mobile. The chances of going down the field without a penalty, having a dropped pass or getting sacked is not very likely.
That’s why it is important to have explosive plays so that the Cougar offense does not have to have a perfect 15-play, 80-yard drive every single time. Trick plays, as Cougar fans witnessed against Wisconsin, gives the team a chance to swing the momentum and pick up some much-needed points.
Whether its a fake punt, fake field goal, the Statue of Liberty play, an onside kick, a halfback pass or the hook and Lateral, BYU needs to use some of that trickeration to stop teams from simply loading the box and teeing off on the quarterback and running backs.
It’s no secret that Grimes loves to run the jet sweep at BYU, however, it’s something that teams are already starting to focus on. However, by incorporating some trick plays into it or new plays altogether, the Cougar offense can help keep defenses honest, which in turn should open up space for the offense to move the ball and overcome a lot of the challenges the team seems to having right now.