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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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Football story package looks at the history, influence of BYU's offense

Plenty of great stuff in Sunday's Tribune sports section for BYU football fans, as Tribune columnist Kurt Kragthorpe and I present a package of stories on BYU's passing offense, which turns 40 this season after coach LaVell Edwards installed it in 1973 (a year after he took over as head coach in 1972).

Kragthorpe did most of the heavy lifting, and ranked all 45 quarterbacks who have taken a snap at BYU the past 39 seasons. Lots of folks have ranked the top five, or top 10 BYU QBs in history, but has anyone ranked the top 45 from the last four decades?

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The mainbar details how it all began, and why. There's a sidebar from Kragthorpe's conversation with Washington State coach Mike Leach, who brings his WSU Cougars to Provo on Aug. 30.

I spoke to several former BYU quarterbacks about what it is like to hold the "office" of BYU QB for this piece.

And here's the LaVell Edwards family tree of coaching in graphic form from the Tribune's Amy Lewis.

I was able to spend a little bit of time at the recent BYU football media day talking to former BYU QBs John Beck and Max Hall about a variety of topics.

Here are a few leftover comments from both that didn't make the package of stories.

Beck on what it is like being a senior quarterback at BYU:

"I think there is like a level of confidence where you have that in your pocket, and you know you are going to be able to go out there and play well. And you know it is your team, you have built that camaraderie with guys and you just now know, 'this is what we are capable of.' And you know how to get it done.

I think that's going to be huge with Riley [Nelson] this season, just because they know. There is no wondering about what it is like to come from behind, what it will take to make a play at the end of the game, what is it like to be the leader of this team?

He knows, he feels comfortable in that role, and now he can just go out there and play.

And also, there's another thing: the coaches feel confident in what he can do, and they don't have to go out and over-coach him. Because the coaches want that player to play a certain way because they think that will help that player play his best.

But the coaching is not always right for that particular player, because every player is unique, his own person.

But when a player finds himself, and he knows, 'this is how I play the best, this is what I am looking for,' he knows those things, and now he can just play.

Continued Beck: "I think this is going to be a great year for Riley, just to go be Riley, go play. All the things you have worked on all these years, just go do it. And have fun."

Hall on whether he recognized elements of the BYU offense in the NFL:

"Yeah, I did. I saw a lot of the same concepts that we had at BYU in the NFL. Yeah, they might have been called something different or get to the spots a different way. But a lot of the West Coast concepts, and pro-style concepts that are interwined in the BYU offense, you will see in the NFL.

It is just that we say it here [at BYU] in two words and in the NFL they say it is two sentences or so. It is a lot more wordy up there."

Hall on watching BYU's offense under Brandon Doman as opposed to Robert Anae and whether there are differences:

"Yeah, I see differences. I see it with Riley, especially, just because Riley has a different set of talents. He is a lot better on his feet than I was, and he's better at making plays on the run. So they get him out of the pocket a lot more.

But a lot of the base concepts are the same, a lot of the philosophy is the same. The identity might be a little different with Riley, but it is still the same base stuff."

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