BYU Offensive Line ‘Whiffed’ During West Virginia Loss
Nov 4, 2023, 10:09 PM
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – BYU football suffered a 37-7 loss at West Virginia on Saturday night. That type of score is a defeat in all three phases of the game.
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake would agree, saying the Cougars got outmatched in all phases of the ball game.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) November 5, 2023
But one area where BYU was outclassed was along the offensive line. Remember there was a time when BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick felt they upgraded at every position on offense?
On paper, the offensive line looked to be upgraded entering the Cougars first Big 12 season. Through nine games, it’s been a complete regression.
On Saturday against WVU, the offensive line gave up three sacks and eight tackles for loss to the same Mountaineer defense that gave up 41 points to Houston last month.
“Too many whiffs”
“I have to watch the film, but I just felt like there were too many whiffs,” said Kalani Sitake when asked if the offensive line hit a new low as a group. “And by that, it was just unblocked guys. Whether it’s the run game or pass pro, it wasn’t good enough.”
BYU was without starting guard Paul Maile on Saturday. Replacing Maile was Oklahoma State transfer Caleb Etienne. Many of the whiffs Sitake was referring to in his postgame comments were on the right side, involving Etienne, who has struggled this entire season for BYU.
Offensive tackle Brayden Keim and center Connor Pay had misses. Even left tackle Kingsley Suamataia had an uncharacteristic penalty.
BYU football offensive line underperformed for a new QB
The offensive gets amplified on a night when breaking in a new starting quarterback. That’s what BYU did against West Virginia, with Jake Retzlaff getting the nod for an injured Kedon Slovis, who took numerous hits, leading to him being sidelined.
“Jake battled. I don’t know if you guys agree with that or not. But he battled; he played hard. He threw the ball with great velocity and accuracy,” said Sitake.
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The issues with the offensive line are at the core of BYU’s offensive woes this season. BYU had another lackluster performance on the ground, running for only 67 yards against WVU’s defense.
The struggles up front have to start with offensive line coach Darrell Funk. Kalani Sitake isn’t known for making in-season firings. If the regression continues, Sitake might be forced with a tough decision to make changes again as he did last year to his staff.
Through nine games, BYU has whiffed this season along the offensive front. That lack of success in the trenches has led to BYU having doubts about its ability to reach bowl eligibility this season.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.
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