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BYU football: Offense solidifies packages, not necessarily a depth chart

BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer gets in some instruction during scrimmage Thursday morning, Aug. 17, 2017, at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer gets in some instruction during scrimmage Thursday morning, Aug. 17, 2017, at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Jaren Wilkey/BYU

PROVO — If you're trying to sort out a BYU offensive depth chart for the coming season, then good luck with that. Throughout practice sessions, coaches have fielded different groups at certain times and situations, with no clear first, second or third team offensive unit becoming apparent.

It's the way a lot of offenses around the country are going, with the focus on fielding certain groups in situations that are ideal for their particular skill sets.

“I don’t know if we have a real depth chart per se,” explained BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer. “We’ve got some packages where some guys will be used. So if they start in that package, they may be the starter. But on a depth chart — if we were to put one together — they may be third or fourth even.”

Finding out which packages work best, and which players work best within those packages, has been a big focus of fall camp. The Cougars plan to use many different packages this season, which will include a variety of personnel.

“We’ve got a pretty good idea of what those packages need to look like and what our guys are doing best,” Detmer said. “Certain guys bring different things to the table, so we want to maximize that and take advantage of their skill sets.”

The danger of staying true to certain packages is tipping off an opposing defense as to what type of play will be run when certain personnel is on the field. It's an aspect Detmer is keenly aware of and is coaching his offense to avoid being obvious, with regards to what play is about to be run.

“You have to avoid the tendencies that may be with that, too, so (players) have got to do a bit of everything,” Detmer said. "...It may not be what they do best, but they can do it, function, and be pretty good at it...You self-scout yourself after every game and see what your tendencies were and try to play to those for the next week because you know the other team is looking at them too."

Certain starters are to be maintained with most packages, with quarterback being the one position unlikely to be switched out. Tanner Mangum has long since been named the starter at quarterback with coaches recently tabbing sophomore Beau Hoge as the backup.

Hoge has seen the bulk of the work behind Mangum since the start of fall camp and has done well to separate himself from the other quarterbacks.

"We're comfortable with where he's at and with what he brings to the table," Detmer said of Hoge.

As far as the position groups that are likely to see the most personnel switches between packages, Detmer cited the tight ends and running backs as the ones most likely to see the most player rotation.

"We could start the game with two guys who aren't even on a two-deep depth chart," Detmer said about the running back position specifically. "So we really don't have a No. 1, where we're saying, 'You're our guy.' They're all going to play for us."

As far as the tight ends go, Detmer stated, "JJ (Nwigwe) isn't going to be a deep threat," referring to the recently-converted offensive lineman. "And I think teams know that, but you've got to do enough with him, whether you have him keep max protect for you or if he leaks out to the flat and starts to run when teams come off of him...You've got to keep teams honest and we've done some of that this fall."