Heading into Saturday’s showdown against No. 10 Wisconsin at LaVell Edwards Stadium, BYU has a shot on national television to make a statement, end its two-game losing streak, and most importantly, put behind its rivalry loss to Utah last week.
But it order to have any chance against the Badgers, the Cougars are going to need some offense, and particularly, for quarterback Tanner Mangum to have a big day.
The junior gunslinger — who set numerous BYU records as a freshman — is off to a rocky start in 2017 as he has completed just 49 of 90 passes for two touchdowns and four interceptions.
So what is the cause of the offensive woes? Is it offensive coordinator Ty Detmer? Is it Mangum, or is it the offensive line or skill position players who are not coming through?
— Fan Insider (@FanInsider_) September 11, 2017
After looking at the film — and while some of it is on the offensive line, skill positions not making catches and Detmer’s play calls — a large majority of it falls on Mangum not making making the correct decisions.
In the first part of the video, Mangum has several opportunities to hit his guys who are wide open. Due to pressure from Utah’s and LSU’s defensive line, it is clear that Mangum is not comfortable in the pocket and appears to be going through his reads too quickly. While some fans are already calling for Detmer’s resignation, watching the film will show that guys are open, but Mangum just isn’t throwing it to the right spot.
Detmer does a good job at stacking receivers so they don’t get jammed at the line of scrimmage and as they break off their routes, usually one of two receivers are setup nicely to make the catch and get yards after as well.
Second, Mangum isn’t giving his receivers a chance to make a play. There were several plays where the Utah defense jumped offsides and with the free play, the junior quarterback tried hit his receivers down the sidelines, but each time the ball sailed out of bounds. Mangum needs to put the ball in play, especially when the Cougars have a free shot to do so.
Third, Mangum has a knack for making plays when he is on the run. Just ask Boise State and Nebraska. With the pressure in the pocket, Mangum is not confident, and his throws show it. However, when he is rolling out of the pocket or making guys miss and making plays out of nothing, Mangum is moving the ball down the field with ease. Just look at the fourth quarter against the Utes and the video above proves it.
Lastly, Mangum needs to throw the ball away when he starts to feel pressure. Taking sacks are absolute drive killers. The Cougars are averaging just a measly 11 points per game and are already having enough trouble scoring this season and taking sacks doesn’t help.
If Mangum can get more time in the pocket, get his confidence back and not feel so rushed, he should be able to slow the game down and find the open guys as these examples show. The offensive line doesn’t need to give him eternity to throw the ball, but even an extra second or two will go a long with the pro-style offense.
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