Q&A: BYU OC Brandon Doman, Part I

BYU promoted quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman to offensive coordinator last week, in a move the Cougars hope will get the offense back into high gear. I had a chance to catch up with Doman for a quick phone interview, and he had plenty to say, from his offensive philosophy, to the looming quarterback competition, to what went wrong in 2010.

Doman will continue to coach the quarterbacks along with calling the plays. Here is Part I of my interview with him:

What is your offensive philosophy?

BD: It will be unique because I am the quarterbacks coach and we always preach that the quarterbacks are the last line of defense for our offense. Hopefully if the offensive coordinator calls a play that doesn’t fit, then our quarterback is prepared well enough to get us into the right play, I’m a BYU guy and I’ve grown up being a BYU guy. I played quarterback here. I love what we’ve been able to do for a long time, throwing the football. I want to see us be a prolific throwing and passing offense. I want us to be a Top 10, Top 5 passing offense, but I also want us to be very balanced. I want us to be pro-style in that we’re able to run the football effectively and physically. But I want us to maintain the traditions of the past and be able to throw the football very well.

What went wrong for the offense this season? Was it the quarterback rotation at the beginning of the season that threw everything off kilter?

BD: Yes, that’s exactly what happened.

So what is going to happen in the spring with Jake Heaps and Riley Nelson?

BD: Riley will be healthy. The way that Jake played and finished the season was exceptional for a true freshman, and I think our team has rallied around him. He’s done a good job leading for the limited opportunity he’s had, but I think our head football coach will be the ultimate say on that. I know he would like it to be a very open competition with Jake Heaps being in the front. He will be the front-runner coming out of this season, but the other guy’s trying to get the job he currently has. To say that Jake and Riley are in equal position, it’s difficult to say that because Jake will be taking the first snaps. The other thing is at the end of every season, we have player evaluations. We do meetings and have a good feedback system here, and I haven’t had a chance to do that with each of the quarterbacks. I’m interested to see how they each are feeling about their position and how they’re doing. I’m anxious to see how enthused they are about the competition part of it. I’m anxious to see what these guys are thinking and what they want to do to proceed.

So given the struggles of last season, are you planning on picking a starter and having one quarterback in 2011?

BD: Yes.

How much does the experience of this season help Jake going into the spring?

BD: He played much wiser in that bowl game and wisdom is the application of knowledge. You don’t play at a high level until you’ve gained that knowledge. How your receivers run a 10-yard out, how one guy runs his curl, and the timing of the route that’s consistent down in and down out so a quarterback starts gaining confidence and learning how to apply it. The defenses change all the time, the game environment changes, stadiums are different, the weather is different. He went through all that as a young quarterback learning how to apply what he learned. For being as talented as he is, it happened pretty fast. I would say he played as wise as you possibly could for his age. Now I’m anxious to see him progress.

What does he need to work on to improve?

BD: Strength and conditioning. Sometimes I look at him, and I’m wondering if he’s going to have facial hair. He’s a young pup. He needs a strong foundation in the weight room to become an explosive athlete. He can throw it as good as anybody. Now he has to endure being a college quarterback, and that means working on his strength.