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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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Doman takes the blame for BYU's second-half failures in red zone

A bit too negative? Several readers didn't care for my article in last Saturday's Tribune that outlined the Cougars' woes in the red zone against Washington State. How can you nit-pick over a 30-6 win, they said.

Monday, BYU offensive coordinator acknowledged the same struggles, and pretty much took the blame for some of them.

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"Yeah, that was concerning to me," Doman said. "We had done so well there, running 48 plays, in the first half. I was real impressed with our guys and how they had done. Then, goodness, we got into those situations down there in the red zone and didn't finish. I think a lot of it had to do with our lack of ability to target well, and be physical in the run game.

I don't think you can be really good in that area if you can't physically run the ball well, and I think I made a couple errors on some of those third-and-7s, third-and-8s, going into the end zone. I made a couple of mistakes as well with the play-calling. So, combination of that, hopefully we will see an improvement this week."

My notebook in today's Tribune provided coach Bronco Mendenhall's reaction to the plethora of penalties called on BYU, most notably the personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. There are some interesting comments about the calls from readers; Be sure to check those out.

The college football polls came out Tuesday morning, and BYU crept closer to the Top 25 in both the AP Poll (media) and USA Today (coaches) Poll. BYU is No. 28 in the media poll and the No. 27 in the coaches poll. Interesting to note that Boise State -- the team BYU will play on Sept. 20 -- dropped out of the AP poll but stayed in the coaches poll at No. 25.

If BYU and Utah, also receiving votes in both polls, win this weekend and there are some upsets, we might just see a clash of ranked teams on Sept. 15 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

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Christian Capel's Washington State blog in the Spokesman-Review had some interesting comments from WSU players on Monday. For instance, here's what WSU quarterback Jeff Tuel said when he was asked if BYU's defense was a big factor in WSU's failure to score a touchdown.

"BYU’s a good defense. They played us really well. Mature team, really fundamentally sound. We shot ourselves in the foot a bunch whether it was interceptions or holding calls. We just really shot ourselves in the foot and you can just make excuses for holding and interceptions and whatnot, but that’s not going to get us anywhere and the bottom line is, we had a chance to put it in the end zone and we didn’t. It’s a combination of both us and I think BYU. I tip my cap to their defense as well."

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If you watched the video I posted of coach Bronco Mendenhall's session with reporters last night, you may have noticed that Mendenhall was asked about the temptation of looking past the FCS Wildcats and begin preparing for the Utes.

"No," he said. "There are so many lessons [from history]. Having played Northern Iowa, Eastern Washington. Well, my wife is a fan of college football now, and so she was watching the games and I think Northern Iowa played somebody really close, Wisconsin, and man, any given week [anything can happen]. And again, our approach already isn't about who we are playing, we have so much we can improve on, etc.

I sure hope there is no thought that way. There certainly isn't on my part."

Here are a couple of Mendenhall's comments from last night's media session:

On what Weber State looks like on film:

"I really like their quarterback. He's gritty and tough and a good scrambler. They have quarterback runs in their system. He's tough. I like him. They played Fresno 24-10, and a pretty tight game through about halfway through the fourth quarter. The final score really wasn't indicative. But yeah, I think they are coached well, and I like a lot of things that they do."

On the offense Weber State runs:

"Spread offense, so they will have three and four receivers, with the quarterback zone read, and stuff. Then they have some two-back, left over from coach Mac, and power, those kind of physical run game approaches. So, some changes from before, and some things have carried over. ... Weber State's quarterback, from similar formations, if he doesn't like what he sees, he's a running threat."

On what they can improve on after watching WSU film:

"Teamwise, we can clean up some special teams a little bit. We had a long kick return against us, so we need to fit our lanes a little bit better. Our punt protection on one particular punt could have been shored up. PAT and field goal protection, even though none were blocked, I thought that could have been improved. Blue-zone scoring and offensively in terms of touchdowns rather than field goals. We missed a field goal.

A couple times defensively our guys didn't plaster, or didn't stay on their receivers well enough as the quarterback had time to scramble around and made a couple of long throws that way. So those are just some random things that came to mind."

On how Blair Tushaus graded out at center:

"You know, he did a really nice job in terms of directing the calls and protection, and then delivering the ball to the quarterback. And now the mastery and the physical play of executing the job, once he has directed all the traffic, because there is so much for the center to do. You make all the calls, deliver the ball, and then you have to actually do your job. So he's assignment sound. So now mastery of the assignment is kinda the next step."

On whether Joe Sampson showed some leadership traits on defensive side:

"Joe did a really nice job. He was not only really productive, and assignment sound in directing our defense, then he is on at least two special teams as a starter. That's a huge difference on our team, is the starting players are begging to be on [special teams] and run down on extra plays. That's a really good sign."

On playing overseas like Notre Dame and Navy did, and whether he would be in favor of it:

"Not necessarily. Maybe if it were the last game of the year, or for a bowl game. The thought of starting the year with a trip like that, and then still having to play your season, if there is a bye after it, maybe, something like that. But you would have to look hard at what you had before that game, or what you had after it."



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