Jake Heaps is having a horrible start to the season. Right? Wrong. Well, at least not in comparison to his first two starts last year.
An objective comparison of Heaps' statistics in his first two starts last season to the first two games of this season shows that he is not the real (or only) reason for the offense's failures. No, it's not Doman, either. Who is it? It's the running game.
Here are the stats: In Heaps' first two starts last year, he went 42/77 for 395 yards. This year, Heaps is 46/76 for 417 yards, an improvement on percentage and yardage.
And for the Doman critics, like Little Bro in his recent post, look at this interesting stat: In Heaps' first start against Utah State Anae called 55 passing plays. Fifty-five. The next week against SDSU he called a mere 22 passing plays. In contrast, Doman called 38 passing plays in both of the first two games this year. Doman didn't call a perfect game, but at least he was consistent. Additionally, Doman came within 2 points of beating Texas defenses while Anae lost in a blowout to Utah State.
The real culprit is the running game. In the first two games last year, the Cougars ran for a whopping 336 yards on 86 attempts. This year BYU has rushed for a dismal 143 yards (almost half the total for last year's SDSU game alone) on 54 attempts. That's a difference of almost 130 yards in those two games.
This comparison is compelling because the Cougars went 1-1 in both stretches. It is especially interesting because this year's first two opposing defenses (Ole Miss and Texas) were much more athletic and physical than the first two defenses of last year (Utah State and SDSU). Yet, Heaps managed a few more yards this year than he did last year against inferior opponents. It appears that the SEC and Big XII defenses had a much larger impact on the rushing game than the passing game.
Some of you are reading this saying, "Yeah, but BYU had 271 rushing yards in that SDSU game. It's not fair to compare statistics to an anomaly like that." Fair enough. But last year the Cougars averaged 168 rushing yards per game with essentially the same running backs and offensive line. The Cougars haven't even rushed for 168 total yards in two games. In other words, even if BYU rushed for its average against SDSU, then it still would have reached 233 yards in Heaps' first two games, and that's 90 more yards than this year's total.
Look. Doman made some bad calls and Heaps made some bad decisions. But to blame the offense's ineptitude solely on them is unfair and empirically inaccurate. Give the rookie coach and sophomore quarterback a break. The running game is going to have to step up at home against Utah if they are going to win that game and avoid a repeat of Heaps' third start: a 31-3 loss to TCU.