Loyal Cougars

Five reasons BYU should stick with ‘Go Fast Go Hard’

Sticking to your guns is hard, but Geoff details why BYU should keep its fast-paced offense.

Three games into the Robert Anae 2.0 era, there has been some fan concern about his new “Go Fast, Go Hard” (GFGH) offense. That concern is not unwarranted. Scoring a measly thirteen points in a loss to BYU’s arch rival is not what any BYU fans wanted.  But GFGH still has massive potential. Here are some reasons to be optimistic about it.

1. GFGH is hard to do well

While this might seem like an argument against GFGH, I see it as the opposite. The fact that it is hard to do well means that there are real barriers to entry into the GFGH club. It takes a lot of time and practice to get good at these sorts of things and that means when BYU finally breaks through and the execution of the offense begins to match the pace of the offense, opposing defenses won’t know what hit them. That’s because very few teams in the country will have paid the price to become highly competent at executing at a high level while maintaining a blistering pace of play.

2. GFGH masks weaknesses

As Bronco mentioned this week, moving at a breakneck pace gives his inexperienced offensive line something of a leg up on the defense. Bronco pretty much said BYU’s 2013 offensive line is not capable of winning a lot of straight up, old school battles. They are too new, too young, too patched together still. GFGH gives the offensive linemen less to think about on run plays and wears defenses down. The better the line gets at executing assignments at this pace, the greater that advantage over the defense will become. That advantage grows as the game wears on and defenses tire out.

3. GFGH makes it easier to read defenses for the BYU quarterback

Taysom Hill recently pointed out that the faster the offense goes, they harder it is for opposing defenses to mask what they are doing. Not only does the pace wear defenses down, it also makes it very hard for defenses to mask coverages and blitzes. That means the QB’s pre-snap reads get easier too when the offense is humming along.

4. Speed doesn’t have to mean worse execution

I heard Brandon Doman in a radio interview saying that you always sacrifice execution when you pick up the pace. While that is certainly true when offenses first start moving quicker, it isn’t necessarily true over time. Consider virtuoso musicians like jazz legend Charlie Parker. That cat could bust out jazz licks with great precision at unbelievable speeds. Sure, when he was a beginner he had to go slower. But the more he practiced the better his execution became — even when playing at warp speed. That principle holds true with this offense too. The more the team moves at warp speed, the better they will get at executing their assignments with precision. My prediction is that at some point, hopefully in the near future, the combination of the fast pace BYU runs at and a higher level of execution will reach a critical mass and BYU will start scoring 40+ points consistently.

5. You don’t need “Oregon athletes” to make GFGH a devastating offense

A common criticism I hear is that GFGH will never work because BYU lacks individual players with blazing foot speed. This claim is unpersuasive to me. While incredible individual athletes help any team, one of the advantages of an entire offense moving at a fast pace while still executing is that it levels the playing field for teams who don’t have a roster full of 5 star recruits. As Roger French liked to say, “fatigue makes cowards of us all”. Anae’s goal for the GFGH offense is surely to get the execution levels as high as they were in the best of the Beck/Hall eras, only execute like that while running 50% more plays per game.  That is a lofty goal, but the payoff for achieving it is BYU returning to being a perennial top ten offense.

BYU is shooting for the stars with GFGH. But BYU football has been all about shooting for the stars since the 70’s. It will take time and gruelingly hard work for BYU to become excellent at executing the offense with precision in each of 100 offensive plays in a game. But BYU has the type of players with the discipline and dedication required to pull this off. When this investment in GFGH pays off I believe BYU that scoring more that 40 points against even top teams will become the norm rather than an anomaly.


  1. Sanpete

    September 26, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Yeah, I agree GFGH has a lot of potential. It’s a lot to ask of a sophomore quarterback, but Hill seems to have the smarts to pick it up and adjust. The offensive line is coming along, still inconsistent but showing promise as well. People have wondered if it’s affecting the receivers, who are having unusual trouble with drops. If so, they should be able to adjust with time. Friday should allow a chance to develop with a little less resistance in some positions than in the last game.

    • Dr. Nick

      September 26, 2013 at 11:36 am

      I couldn’t agree more. Taysom clearly needs to develop as a passer (I think a lot of the drops are either inaccurate throws or balls thrown much harder than needed) and the offensive line is a work in progress at best, but I have to think that the offensive will get better as everyone settles into it. There are clearly times when our players have been confused by the pace (the pass blocking has been a mess, for example), but over time I have to believe it will get better. Anae knows how to develop players and I am excited to see what he can turn this offense into over the course of a season or two.

  2. Geoff Johnston

    September 26, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I think Anae is going to get better at calling plays for his GFGH offense too. For instance he said this week that Hill was making too many long throws. I assume that means Anae plans to give Hill more easy throws to make to improve completion percentages and keep the chains moving.

  3. Geoff Johnston

    September 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I should add that to me Go Fast, Go Hard is entirely about the pace of play, regardless of which plays BYU runs. So things like read-option can come or go depending on the skill set of the QB but GFGH can be the norm with or without read-option.

  4. Dereck Smith

    September 26, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I’ve never been a fan of GFGH offenses, that being said, I think BYU needs to stick with this offense at least for the remainder of the year.

    Here are my reasons:

    1) Completely overhauling an offense midseason is just stupid. If there are struggles implementing a new offense after several months of practice, how will the Cougar Offense fair in a new offense with only a day or two of preperation?

    2) GFGH isn’t the root of the problem. Third down conversion (24%), blue zone TD rates (30.1%), and completion percentage (35.1%) are the biggest problems.

    BYU was in the blue zone 5 times against Utah. Only once they came away with a TD. In a game you loose 20-13 that is huge.

    The same thing happened vs Texas. BYU did score 4TDs, but 3 of those were on plays of 20+ yards. The 5 times the Cougars were less than 20 yards out of the Longhorn endzone, 4 ended in field goal attempts. It is win like than.

    3) As mentioned in the article, it helps this O line. As currently constituted, BYU’s offensive line is not going to win a lot of one on one battles against upper tier defenseive tackles. In this offense, they don’t have to do that. BYU is running the ball better this year (even outside of Hill) than they did last year even though the ability of the individual linemen has actually gone down.

    4) GFGH gives Hill more and better running oppertunities. Right now, Hills legs are far and away his (and probably the entire offense’s) best asset. In order for the Cougar offense to be successfull, they are going to have to have Hill eat up large chunks of yardage on the ground. Hill chances for success go up significantly when the opposing defense is tired and the defense doesn’t know who will be running the ball until the very last moment.

    • Dr. Nick

      September 26, 2013 at 11:44 am

      I agree particularly with #2. I don’t think the blue zone issue is related to the tempo. I do think it will get better if the read-option execution improves (which it should with time) and if Hill’s accuracy improves. I think a lot of our current issues in the blue zone come down to the fact that our run game down there seems to revert to a more traditional, power-up-the-middle style which our o-line does not do well, and that Hill’s accuracy issues are magnified when the windows get tighter as the field gets shorter.

    • Geoff Johnston

      September 26, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Yep. Your #2 is about execution and lack of execution is clearly the problem right now. The good news is execution should be getting better every single week if BYU is practicing properly.

  5. Jim Bell

    September 26, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    GFGH being difficult is also why the offense is behind in execution. It has come at the expense of QB development as a passer, as someone able to check through reads, and at the expense of time of possession, which has been a negative impact on otherwise stellar defense.

    • Geoff Johnston

      September 26, 2013 at 11:26 pm

      Probably true. The question now is how long will it take for the execution on the offense to get good enough to make the offense really start to click. I hope it happens Friday against MTSU.

  6. Chris Fuller

    September 27, 2013 at 8:29 am

    For three games into GFGH, all is working as it should except the QB passing game, which has to change drastically for GFGH to really work. And a three game sample is large enough to assess THill as being unable to pass the ball accurately enough to make the offense work. His break away speed on the ground may be impressive, but if he cannot through the ball accurately, his legs become completely immaterial. Hence, you sacrifice QB breakaway run-speed for a QB who can throw the ball accurately. With an accurate passer, the QB run, though not bread and butter to the GFGH can be the jam, used sparingly but effectively with a QB that is good at the run but not necessarily great. A new QB with much better accuracy opens up the GFGH running lanes for everyone, and the offense works at a far more effecient rate. But this will not and cannot happen with a QB that cannot complete passes. And unfortuately we know now that THill cannot throw the ball accurately.

    • Sanpete

      September 27, 2013 at 9:15 am

      One flaw in your argument is that we don’t know Hill can’t throw accurately. In practice he reportedly threw as well as Olsen. Also keep in mind that without receiver drops, Hill would have been 59% in the Utah game. If you consider intentional passes out of bounds, receiver route miscues, and Hail Marys, only about 25% of his attempts were bad passes. Ogletree has done a useful breakdown of his passing in the last game:


      It’s not unusual for sophomore quarterbacks with few starts to struggle for a time but then become excellent passers. With his wheels, the coaches are probably doing the right thing to get him maximum reps and try to bring him along.

    • Geoff Johnston

      September 27, 2013 at 9:24 am

      Well three games is not quite enough to conclude Hill is just an incurably inaccurate passer. But the evidence is growing of that so he needs to connect more often tonight. About 60-70% completions is where good BYU quarterbacks have been in the past. With his incredible wheels anything about 50% would probably suffice for now.