Provo heat • Cougars' struggles put play-caller Robert Anae on hot seat.
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Provo • Only one college football team in the country has a worse passing efficiency rating than the BYU Cougars.
The 3-3 UCLA Bruins, with offensive coordinator Norm Chow calling the plays, just can't seem to get anything going through the air, either.
Chow, of course, was considered an offensive whiz at BYU under LaVell Edwards from 1982-99, but fell out of favor when the offense grew stagnant. He left the program, probably never to return.
No question, the heat has now been turned up on Robert Anae.
The current BYU offensive coordinator oversees one of the nation's worst units, one that sputtered, gasped and was without direction in the Cougars' 31-3 loss at TCU on Saturday. BYU had just 13 yards and one first down at halftime, and finished with 147 yards against a very good TCU defense that pretty much shuts down everybody, but not to that extent.
"Yeah, I am comfortable with the play-calling," coach Bronco Mendenhall said after the loss, but his body language walking off the field at halftime, and again after the game, sent a different message.
There's some serious discord among the offensive coaching staff, and even between key players and their coaches, according to multiple sources.
Several players have alluded to the Cougars not using some of the plays they worked on in practice in recent weeks. Quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman seemed to hint after the TCU loss that the team didn't follow its offensive game plan.
"I feel really confident about what the plan was. I don't think we were able to really get into the plan, and really try to execute it," Doman said. "I think our first four third downs were third and long, and we didn't convert on any of them. Gosh, you can't win a football game if it is always third and long."
Some of Saturday's struggles can be explained away by TCU's defense, No. 2 in the country, and a talent shortage that becomes more and more evident with each blowout loss.
But the fact remains the Cougars (2-5) are near the bottom in every major statistical category in offense, despite playing against just four defenses ranked in the top half nationally: TCU (2nd), Florida State (22nd), Air Force (42nd) and San Diego State (46th).
BYU is 107th in total offense, 115th in scoring offense and 97th in passing offense, in addition to 119th in passing efficiency.
"TCU played a great game, but we're definitely better than that," said freshman quarterback Jake Heaps.
The Cougars' schedule turns easier this week, or so they hope.
They face a Wyoming team that is also 2-5, and also struggling mightily on offense. It is dead last in the country in total offense, averaging 232 yards per game.
But the Cowboys had more yards against TCU than BYU did (191-147), and all five of their losses have been to ranked teams. Wyoming's schedule suddenly gets easier as well, beginning Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium (noon, The Mtn.).
BYU has defeated Wyoming six straight times and 15 of the last 17 games. It hasn't lost to the Cowboys in Provo since 1987.
"This doesn't set us back at all," Heaps said of the TCU loss. "From here, we can only get better. We can only progress as a team and individually. … We got a lot of football left to play, and we are really excited to play Wyoming next week."
P Wyoming (2-5) at BYU (2-5), noon
TV • The Mtn.
Where does BYU's offense rank?
(Out of 120 D-I schools)
Total offense • 107th (303.29 ypg)
Scoring offense • 115th (14.71 ppg)
Rushing offense • 82nd (132.29 ypg)
Passing offense • 97th (171.0 ypg)
Passing efficiency • 119th (90.2)