First of all I want to say that I’m saddened and heartbroken that Taysom Hill is injured. He was truly one of the greats. He will be right there with Bo Jackson as one of the best who couldn’t stay on the field. However, BYU can’t cancel the season, they can’t tuck their tails and hide, but they can push on and have a good season.
Every BYU fan was excited when Tanner Mangum rolled out to the right, bought himself some time, and fired that magical bomb into the wind. (and after watching Virginia Tech back up QB last night, the Cougars are very fortunate to have such a capable backup in the wings). Lost in the Hail Mary play is the five offensive lineman pancaking the three defensive lineman of Nebraska. Also Mitch Mathews making an unbelievable catch as he was getting interfered with. And that is going to be the difference between success and failure for Mangum.
I’m not doubting Mangum’s ability, but he is a Freshman playing his first snaps of Division 1 football. The Wide Receivers are the deepest and strongest that BYU has run out there in a while.
Mitch Mathews is clearly the leader of the WR corps. He has a knack of jumping over the Defensive Back and hauling in an passes. He get’s open, has sure hands, and is massive. He uses his body better than most WR, and he doesn’t drop anything. He’s proven, and will be a giant safety blanket for an inexperienced QB.
Nick Kurtz isn’t hype. Fans and media alike have heard, and seen in practice, how much of a complete stud Kurtz has been. However, because of injury, the fans haven’t seen him in game action. Even though he played in one game last season, Saturday felt like his first game as a Cougar. He got behind Nebraska’s secondary with ease. Like Mathews, he can high point the ball and take it out of a Corners hands, and has the softest hands I can recall since Austin Collie. He made a huge play on 4th and 1 in the fourth quarter making an adjustment on the ball that will go unnoticed.
Terren Houk, besides being the best official hugger on the team, has a Tight End like ability to be too strong for a Corner to handle and too fast for a Safety or Linebacker to try and keep up with. His might be the biggest mismatch on the entire team. With Mathews and Kurtz playing on the outside, Houk can carve up the middle of the defense.
Devon Blackmon is fast, like really fast. His routes are much more crisp this year, and he had five solid catches that can keep the momentum going for the team. Playing Blackmon in the slot could open up the intermediate routes, and I would love to see him get a few WR screen’s or bubble screens just to get the ball in his hands.
Mitchell Juergens is always going to grab a few balls in the short pass game, and is reliable to find the open spot in the zone. You need glue guys on teams, and he is one of the best.
With the depth at Wide Receiver it’s almost un-fathomable. Mangum is going to be able to make reads and find an open man. If it’s Mathews or Kurtz taking the top off of the defense, or Blackmon and Juergens opening up the middle, or Houck using his body to move the chains. These guys are going to make plays as long as Mangum finds them. And from the small sample size on Saturday, he’s going to find them. Exciting times are ahead for BYU, and I’m going to sit back and enjoy the ride.