PROVO — Under first-year offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes, BYU’s offense is labeled “multiple.”

That refers to the variety of formations and looks from multiple offensive schemes, which certainly was on display in the season-opener last Saturday.

Based on what the Cougars showed in their 28-23 win at Arizona, it could also mean using multiple players.

Ten players caught passes and six took handoffs against the Wildcats, resulting in a balanced attack that produced 209 passing yards and 183 rushing yards.

It’s great for each individual because it’s hard for teams to key on anyone when you have an offense that’s so balanced and there’s so many weapons. It makes opportunities for you greater. I really, really do love it. – BYU tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau

Running back Squally Canada gained a team-high 98 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns and Lopini Katoa added 39 yards. Wide receivers Aleva Hifo (19 yards), Dylan Collie (13 yards), Neil Pau’u (8 yards) and Micah Simon (6 yards) all contributed by running the ball on jet sweeps.

“That’s the offense we have to have. We can’t just lean on one guy the entire game. Even Squally couldn’t run every play,” said coach Kalani Sitake. “We brought Lopini in there to mix it up a little bit. With all of that and our receivers running jet sweeps — there were quite a few of them. We spread the wealth a little bit.”

“We won as a team. There were a lot of contributors as ball-carriers, pass-catchers and blockers,” Grimes said during BYUtv’s “Coordinator’s Corner” show Monday. “There were a lot of people who did a lot of things. A lot of really good players who didn’t necessarily get targeted much but had key roles in the victory.”

Quarterback Tanner Mangum turned in an efficient performance, completing 18 of 28 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown with zero turnovers. The offensive line provided strong protection and opened up holes, while Mangum had plenty of options when it came to distributing the ball.

“It was nice to utilize a lot of guys and rotate them,” Sitake said. “We had a lot of guys doing a lot of different things. I think that’s going to be a strength for us — keeping guys fresh and giving a lot of different looks.”

Tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau, playing in his first game in nearly two years due to injury, hauled in three passes for 24 yards. He enjoyed seeing plenty of his teammates involved in the offense and in the game plan.

“It’s great for each individual because it’s hard for teams to key on anyone when you have an offense that’s so balanced and there’s so many weapons,” he said. “It makes opportunities for you greater. I really, really do love it.”

BYU played five different tight ends Saturday, including freshman Dallin Holker, who nearly scored a touchdown on his first collegiate reception, a 14-yarder near the goal line.

Meanwhile, Matt Bushman, a freshman All-American, caught just one pass but it was a big one — a 24-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter that gave BYU a lead it would not relinquish.

JJ Nwigwe and Addison Pulsipher, both converted offensive linemen, played the tight end position and were key in springing teammates free on running plays.

“We played five tight ends and they all filled a role. Each of them has a role and their roles are different,” Grimes said. “I’m really pleased with the fact that we can play that many guys at that position and have each of them contribute in a major way. The same is true of the receivers. Some of them didn’t have catches that will have catches this week and the following week. They did a great job blocking. We had a lot of contributions in a number of positions.”

Sitake liked how the receivers blocked, too.

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“I’ve been really happy with guys blocking downfield. It’s not just guys looking to get the ball all the time,” he said. “They understand their role. Tanner did a great job of dishing the ball out and handing off on the jet sweeps.”

What makes the jet sweep so tough to defend, Sitake said, is it puts “a lot of fast guys in space. It’s like an extension of the bubble screen. For us, it’s a good way to spread the ball out.”

Last Saturday was a starting point for BYU’s new offense. There are some players, like running back Beau Hoge and wide receiver Gunner Romney, who didn’t play last week but are expected to make an impact on the offense moving forward.

“There were a whole lot more plays that we were ready to call as well, certainly in the passing game for sure,” Grimes said. “We’re excited to call more plays.”

California (1-0) at BYU (1-0)

  • Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MDT
  • LaVell Edwards Stadium
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
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