BYU Football: Should Taysom Hill Change?

Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo
Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

Another great submission by R TODD GRAHAM:

Should Taysom Hill become a drop-back traditional quarterback?  No, because that’s not Taysom, that’s not what makes him special.  But there are minor changes he can make that could help him stay healthy and stay explosive.

The mobile quarterback is an awesome thing to watch.  I am a Seahawks fan and love watching Russell Wilson use his feet.  As a cougar fan I loved watching Taysom run over people, especially the ones in burnt orange last season.

There are two types of mobile QBs, the smart ones and the not so smart ones.  Which one is Taysom Hill?

The smart ones

A smart mobile quarterback is one who chooses his moments.  Russell Wilson is the perfect example of this type of quarterback.  I’ve watched Wilson very closely.  He was thought to be too short and too slow to be a quarterback in the NFL.  Since day one of training camp, his rookie year, he’s been proving people wrong.

Wilson’s rookie year was the year of the read option QB, and he was considered to be one of these.  What sets him apart from the others is his mind. When he scrambles he keeps his eyes downfield looking for two things, receivers and an escape. He is looking at the secondary to see if they are committing to him or sticking to the coverage.  If they move towards him he hits the open receiver.  If they stick to the coverage he makes a determination whether there is space for him to run and get out of bounds or slide, and then he tucks and runs.

Wilson also has situational awareness that keeps him from taking too many hits.  On first and second down he will slide or go out of bounds short of the first down marker, but on third down, or at the goal line, Russell Wilson will fight for the extra space to make the play.

The smart, mobile QB is the one that uses his head to think instead of using it to get extra yards.  He is aware of the down and distance and knows when his team needs him to risk a little and when he needs to slide.  He understands that his athletic ability is a gift that does him no good if he is sidelined with an injury.

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Photo credit: USA Today

The not so smart ones

Robert Griffin III was offensive rookie of the year in the NFL the same year Russell Wilson was a rookie (even though I think Russell should have won it, but I may be biased).  They both were athletic and led their teams to the playoffs their rookie years.  They faced each other in the wild card round in the playoffs.

It was a good game with two upcoming QBs making plays, that is, until RGIII injured his knee.  RGIII rolled his knee on a non-contact play, but if he hadn’t put himself through a beating constantly he would have finished the game.

RGIII is a wonderful athlete, his rookie year I watched Redskins games just to see him play.  He was always running into people and trying to get that extra yard.  It didn’t matter the down or the situation, he was going to fight for one or two extra yards on every play.

Something we learn from these two NFL QBs is that those one or two extra yards aren’t always worth it.  Is it worth it for RGIII to scramble for 4 yards but then fight to get two more to make it second and four?  It’s fun to watch but it’s not worth it.  Football is a game of inches but you get less of those inches if the starting quarterback is in a boot.

Which is Taysom?

All signs point to Taysom being the latter right now.  I love to watch the determination and the fight but he needs to reassess whether taking the hit is worth it.  If I could chirp into Taysoms Hill’s ear I would advise him to watch Russell Wilson and learn how to use his God-given talent effectively.

I don’t want Taysom Hill to become a pocket passer, because that’s not who he is.  He’s dual threat and makes defenses adjust to him.  I want Taysom to be a smarter mobile quarterback.  I want him to be able to determine when his team needs him to push for extra yards or when to slide or get out of bounds.

I want him to make plays for the Cougars for the whole year, not just half of it. Again.

About the author

Alan "Jedi" Zaugg

Alan “Jedi” Zaugg is managing editor of TornBySports and host of the Jedi & Jerms podcast. He’s an avid NBA fan and basketball junkie and passionate sports enthusiast. He enjoys writing and illustrating. He hosts a Star Wars podcast and writes for The Cantina Cast in addition to a myriad of other projects. He also writes fantasy and science fiction in his spare time. You can follow him on Twitter: @jedizaugg