Last Thursday’s scrimmage was a first for Cody Hoffman since he caught passes against Tulsa last December 30.
“This was the first time I’ve played in an actual game-time situation since we played in the Tulsa game,” said Hoffman with a smile after the scrimmage. “I had to beg them to get a couple reps.”
After violating team rules, Hoffman missed a number of practices early in fall camp. Still in a humorous frame of mind, he made light of his return to the field, where he caught two passes and scored a touchdown.
“It felt great being out there. It felt like old times,” Hoffman said with a smile. “It brought back memories of the past. I almost forgot what it was like to actually score a touchdown even though it was against our own defense. No, seriously though, the team is working really hard and you can see how we’re improving. I mean, I caught two passes and scored a touchdown. You know, get in and get the job done, then get out.”
Hoffman compared his style of play to that of a secret agent.
“I’m like a highly effective CIA agent,” he said while laughing. “I go in quietly, get the job done and then I get out. I had one touchdown but two catches. Maybe in our next scrimmage I’ll do better by scoring two touchdowns on two catches. Then I’ll be like James Bond and the Bourne Identity all rolled up into one.”
All fun aside, Hoffman believes the offense will be more potent this season.
“We’re returning a lot of players from last year and I think we came into this fall camp more prepared and ready physically than last year,” Hoffman said. “I think everyone is going to see the results the first game.”
Running back Michael Alisa will be the featured back in BYU’s offense, but the run game will become more diverse with a wider range of plays coming from the backfield.
“We just really developed the run game this year to be more effective and versatile in our offense,” said Hoffman. “We’re going to be able to run more things with different players back there. When you have a run game that is a threat, it puts a lot of pressure in the middle of the defense. When you have receivers on the outside that can run and spread defenses, it helps open up the run game for our running backs and vice versa.”
That’s not the only improvement to the offense.
“The one thing I think where we are making some improvements is how well we’re able to run a high-tempo offense,” Hoffman said. “I feel like we’re getting more and more used to running at a higher pace, but then we can turn it down when we need to. The one thing that you have to do is really focus more when you run a fast-pace offense, and I think we’re able to do that.”
As for wide receiver depth, Hoffman gave his thoughts on some of the guys on the depth chart.
Cody Raymond: “Cody is one of those shifty-type receivers. He’s got really good hands, and so if the ball is anywhere near him, he’s going to catch it. He really battles for balls and creates a mismatch for linebackers on the inside.”
Kurt Henderson: “Kurt is another young receiver that’s coming up. He plays on the outside and is someone that not a lot of people know much about, but I think he could see the field because he’s been having a good fall camp. He’s been making a lot of plays on the outside.”
Brett Thompson: “Brett is another one that could see some time this year. He’s a really smart player and is getting himself back from his mission, but he’s another receiver that can do some things out there.”
Mitch Mathews: “It’s hard to cover Mitch because he can get downfield pretty quickly, so when you have a guy that tall and with that amount of speed, he’s hard to stop. We just got to get him healthy.
“So we’ve got a lot of talent coming up and it’s young talent too. Coach Doman is doing a great job of knowing our strengths and how to use those strengths in our offense. I think you’re going to see a much better offense this year when we play Washington State. We’ve got some experienced talent and some young talent coming up.”
Here is where Hoffman also feels the team has progressed.
“Yeah, I think we’re seeing more of the younger guys on the team increase their reps and just getting better overall,” he said. “I think the more we get the younger guys involved, the better the team is from the top down. It just creates more competition overall.”