It's hard to really learn a whole lot from a game against a team as bad as Hawaii, but there are a few things that stand out as take-aways from BYU's romping of the Rainbow Warriors last night.
1. We have a quarterback controversy
Well, it's not really a Qb controversy because Bronco has definitively said that Riley Nelson is the starter if he is healthy. But that decision will come under heavy scrutiny after Taysom Hill's performance. While his passing stats were lack-luster (12/21, 112 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT), his legs lit up the atrocious Hawaii defense as he rushed for 143 yards on 15 carries. At times he was probably a bit too run-happy, and I would have liked to see him settle in the pocket a little bit more. But the newly renovated offensive line had trouble keeping the pocket in tact for long, so much of the time Hill had no choice but to tuck it. Aside from some accuracy issues which led directly to his one interception Hill looked more than competent, and, in my opinion, a much better option than Riley Nelson.
2. BYU has a good defense
I will devote no more than three sentences to this section. BYU held Hawaii to 149 total yards and forced three turnovers. In three out of the five games BYU has played, the defense has given up exactly zero touchdowns and is only giving up 6.4 points per game (when the defensive TDs given up to Utah and Boise State are considered).
3. Hoffman is a Riley man
Last year when Nelson came in at the end of the Utah State game, Cody Hoffman came alive. He started jumping and diving to catch throws that he would have missed if thrown by Heaps. He had a spring in his step for the rest of the season as he became Nelson's favorite (if not only) target. Last night, Hoffman looked uninspired, uninterested. Even as Hill threw to him in the end zone twice in a row (one ending in an offensive PI call and the other incomplete), Hoffman slowly jogged back to the huddle as if obligated to be out there. I hope I am wrong, but I can't help but conclude that Hoffman has some kind of special kinship with Nelson that makes him really want to play with him. Hill did a great job of spreading the throws around and getting Ross Apo involved, and I wonder whether Hoffman doesn't like that. I don't want this to be true, and I admit that it is pure speculation, but I'm calling it how I see it.
4. Our place-kicking game is bad
As I tweeted during the game, Bronco is looking more and more smart for going for two against Boise State last week. Against Hawaii, Riley Stephenson had one extra point blocked and missed another by his own doing. He has also missed field goals from as short as 13 yards. This puts extra pressure on the already anemic offense to get into the end zone because they know they cannot rely on three points once we enter the red zone.
This is an unfortunate time to still be struggling with issues like place kicking, offensive line communication, and quarterback controversies. BYU has tough games coming up against Utah State, Oregon State, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech, all of which could get ugly if these issues aren't ironed out quickly.