Texas vs. BYU: How Major Applewhite Can Scheme Around Kyle Van Noy
The Texas Longhorns shrugged off a shaky first 27 minutes in their season opener against New Mexico State, but their opponent in their second game of the season will not be so easily dominated.
The 'Horns will travel to Provo, Utah this weekend to take on the BYU Cougars, and they will have to deal with more than just the altitude.
Bronco Mendenhall's Cougars posted the FBS' third-ranked defense last season, although they will have replaced a number of pieces on defense, including first-round draft pick defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.
One player on which the Cougars will be reliant this season is senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy, and Texas will have to make it a point to locate him on every play.
The Longhorns proved to be offensively efficient in their season opener, but they will see an entirely different and improved team in game No. 2.
Run Right at Him
Kyle Van Noy plays the linebacker position with great speed, instincts and athleticism. But physicality and strength are not his strongest assets.
The Longhorns had mild success running the ball up the middle, and they could be tempted to use the power running look in conjunction with their quick passing game.
Texas does have some offensive linemen with the athleticism to deliver blocks at the second level, but Van Noy is a tough customer to deal with on any play.
While Van Noy does well with good space to operate, the Longhorns can look to take their game right to the BYU linebacker.
Establish Daje Johnson Early and Often
Sophomore running back/wide receiver Daje Johnson proved to be the most dynamic option for the Longhorns this past weekend.
Johnson posted 129 yards from scrimmage, adding two touchdowns from 66 and 24 yards out as a weapon in both the passing and running game.
With opposing defenses having to plan around the speedy Johnson, it could open up space for Texas' other offensive weapons.
Van Noy's speed will be tested against arguably the fastest guy on the field come Saturday, and if the Longhorns can get Van Noy to cheat toward Johnson's efforts, it could very well create plenty of more chances elsewhere.
Establish the Run and Go over the Top
The Longhorns can truthfully look to go five-deep at running back with Jalen Overstreet providing a great show in the late game against the Aggies.
Texas' run potential will need to be strong if it wants to recreate the offensive balance it was able to establish in its season opener.
Stemming from the run game will be the Longhorns' aerial attack that proved very dangerous, albeit against one of the FBS' worst projected teams this season. David Ash had a few blips early on, but he would wind up contributing huge numbers toward a record-setting night by the Texas offense.
Ash's connection with Mike Davis will be a big talking point leading up to this weekend, as will the possible emergence of both John Harris and Kendall Sanders, who returns from suspension and injury this week.
Use Misdirection and Keep Away
One of the best ways to take a defender out of a game is simply to stay away from him on offense.
Van Noy will be a force from the linebacker position, and Texas will have to give a number of looks to keep him honest.
Fortunately for the Longhorns, they can mix it up with a variety of combinations in the backfield.
At one point against New Mexico State, both Johnson and Johnathan Gray were in the backfield on the same play, and it eventually led to Johnson's 24-yard touchdown run.
The Longhorns will be looking to use their offensive tools in more ways than one, and those extra looks could provide the invaluable inches and seconds needed to break off a big play.