Preseason college football is for optimism.
Leave it to us to keep you grounded.
Here’s a look at some of the BYU storylines to follow this year, with a look at what those who drink the blue Kool-Aid think – the hype – and what might keep a more realistic fan up at night – the reality.
Hype: Hill might be the best athlete to ever put on a BYU uniform. Last year he accounted for 4,282 yards of total offense and completed just 54 percent of his passes. Improved accuracy will put him over the 5,000-yard mark and securely into the Heisman race.
Reality: Bet on the fact that opposing defenses are wise to Hill. Yes, he’s a spectacular runner, but he’s going to have to prove himself as a passer this year. Defenses will crowd the line of scrimmage and force him to make throws against one-on-one coverage. There’s no Cody Hoffman security blanket for Hill, who’s working hard to develop a talented but new group of receivers.
Hype: Lots of starting experience for an offensive line that helped lead the Cougars to a season record for rushing yards. Almost everyone is back, and competition is fierce.
Reality: While depth should be good, a healthy offensive line would go a long way in keeping Hill upright and less banged up. The second year of Robert Anae’s offense could be pretty potent, but the offensive line must continue to get better, especially in the run game. Establish the run and Hill becomes that much more effective.
Hype: The Cougars offense wasn’t ready for Game 1 last year at Virginia, so with a year under their belt, they will be raring to go against UConn. Plus, you wouldn’t expect a spectacular thunderstorm to interrupt the game like last year.
Reality: While the players should be plenty familiar with the pace of the offense, Game 1 is always a crapshoot. Timing is crucial, and there is a significant difference between going against your own guys and going against somebody else.
Hype: BYU’s all-time leading receiver (Cody Hoffman) is gone, but an influx of talented transfers will step in and make up the difference. In fact, BYU will be able to throw downfield even more because of the speed of the new guys.
Reality: Hoffman made a lot of clutch catches for BYU, especially on third down. Other teams had to game plan to contain him and that opened up opportunities for other receivers. Yes, the new guys are talented, but timing is so crucial in the passing game and that might take a while to perfect.