PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – When he absolutely has to have a completion this coming season, who is going to be Zach Wilson’s go-to guy? Well, it may be a different BYU receiver each game.
“I think that’s actually a good thing,” said BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes. “While there is certainly value in having a go-to guy, I think there is even more value in having a really good group.”
“It’s good to have a go-to guy, but at the same time, we have a lot of threats on the field,” said Wilson, who took over the starting quarterback job halfway through the 2018 season. “Defenses have to play honest. They can’t sit there and say they’re going to take everything away from him and then the offense will shut down. The good thing is I have a lot of weapons.”
“We definitely have more than one guy who can contribute and definitely more than one guy who can be that person,” said wide receiver Aleva Hifo. “It’s nice to know that we have a group of guys that Zach can go to on the field.”
One of those weapons may not be available this season. Neil Pau’u, who had 18 catches for 216 yards and a touchdown last season, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and may face a suspension or even dismissal from the team.
Hifo is BYU’s leading returning wide receiver with 28 catches for 358 and two touchdowns , and he along with guys like Talon Shumway, Gunner Romney, Dax Milne and Micah Simon are continuing to build chemistry with Wilson.
“He’s very close with all the receivers off the field,” said Hifo, who also rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns in 2018. “I feel that kind of chemistry is something that you want with your quarterback. He’s always pulling us to want to throw. But from the receiver aspect, we definitely need to be more productive.”
BYU wide receivers caught just 131 passes in 13 games last season.
The Cougars best pass catcher 29 receptions for 511 yards and two scores a year ago. But Bushman was underutilized, and hopes to be more involved in the passing game.
“I wouldn’t say there was a frustration level,” said Bushman, who was a freshman All-American in 2017. “Obviously each player wants to be put in position where they can succeed. But at the same time, you want to do what is best for the team. So, you just have to trust the coaches.”
Besides, every receiver thinks he’s open on every play.
“That was something that we kind of have to cool down last year for sure just because he was a freshman,” said Simon. “If we’re always in his ear, it could really kind of make him second guess himself. But yeah as receivers, we always think we’re open. That’s just how it is.”