As BYU prepares to face the new-look Washington State football team, many fans don't know what to expect. Much less, they don't know what Brigham Young should prepare for.
Well, here are four things that the Cougars (of BYU) need to have to win.
Of course, Wazzu finished dead-last in the Pac-12 North last season, but with a new coach in Mike Leach they are on the way to greater heights. If BYU wants to send Washington State home with a loss, here are four big keys they must accomplish.
Preston Hadley (right)
In fact, the offense they have now is a variation of the offense that LaVell Edwards put in at BYU. Add WSU's Marquess Wilson and Jeff Tuel to the equation, and we could see plenty of offensive production from Wazzu.
So, who can prevent that? The defensive backs. Preston Hadley, Joe Sampson, Craig Bills and Daniel Sorensen are are a few players who will have to step up. BYU should continue to run a 3-4 defense, and direct extra attention to the receivers.
Not only will having effective running backs help BYU win the opener, but it will greatly help the rest of the season. Last year, the running backs got off to a miserable start and didn't wake up until midway through the season.
Without Josh Quezada, Michael Alisa will need to step up. Adam Hine, Iona Pritchard, Paul Lasike and David Foote are others that will see an increase in carries, and any of them could step up to be second on the depth chart.
Also, a good start in the rushing game could help snap a dreadful trend—the past five of seven years, two losses have come in the first month of play. If the Cougars (of BYU) want to beat WSU, and have a great season, the running backs will have to get off to a good start.
BYU's wide receivers must be productive.
I know I've said this before. And I'll say it again and again and again. Now that running back Josh Quezada has transferred, the receivers are practically the core of the Cougar offense.
Ross Apo hasn't been the same since the quarterback change, and Cody Hoffman has sat out of fall camp thus far.
Something had better change.
Like I said earlier, the new offense that Wazzu has implemented was invented to score touchdowns.
And lots of them.
Obviously, if BYU wants to win they will have to score plenty of points. Riley Nelson will need to produce on offense, along with the running backs and receivers.
Brigham Young has scored an average of 17 points the last three season openers they have played in. To beat this tough Washington State team, they will need plenty more than that.