BYU Football: 5 Biggest Early Season Storylines for Cougars
After two weeks of football and game-delaying thunder storms, BYU is sitting with a 1-1 record. Despite losing to an average Virginia team on the road, the Cougs came back to upset 15th-ranked Texas at home.
We've seen solid defense and struggling passing. We've seen BYU's rushing attack overpower a Longhorn defense, and rainstorms swamp football fields.
With two games down, here are five storylines that have come out of the last few weeks.
Alani and Uani, Who?
Weeks ago,, I, along with many other Cougar fans, was fretting over the loss of middle linebackers Brandon Ogletree and Uona Kaveinga. The two bruisers played a huge role in BYU's successful run defense, and it appeared that there wouldn't be any way to replace them.
And then came Alani Fua and Uani 'Unga—a duo of talented backers that both had big games. After moving Spencer Hadley from Sam to Mike linebacker, and inserting Fua on the edge, he and 'Unga combined for a whopping 32 tackles in the first two games.
Taysom Hill Is Not Your Prototypical BYU Quarterback
Jim McMahon. Steve Young. Robbie Bosco. Ty Detmer.
BYU has a famed history of quarterbacks, whose names can be found throughout record books.
But none since Eldon Fortie in 1962 have chalked 259 rushing yards in a single game. Taysom Hill did just that against Texas, and tore up the Longhorn defense with three rushing touchdowns.
Hill's passing has not been sharp in the opening weeks of this season, as he has completed only 22 of 66 throws, but if he can make big plays with his arm, watch out.
Justin Sorensen Looks as Good as New
Last year, when BYU was facing a fourth down in field goal range, they might as well have gone for it. They couldn't place much faith in their injured place-kicker Justin Sorensen, and it showed periodically.
But this year is much, much different. Sorensen is looking like his dominant self, and has knocked in all five of his field goals and PATs attempted. Sure, he sneaked one in by way of the goal post against Texas, but he still made it.
In close games, Sorensen will be a much-needed weapon. It will be great to have him back at full strength.
Run Fast, Run Hard?
Robert Anae showed up at BYU with an interesting format for a fast-paced offensive system, and we expected it to wear down opposing defenses. It has worked, but when executed correctly, it's done something else—open up running holes.
Props go to the offensive line for stepping up after a rough Week 1 performance, and guiding Taysom Hill, Jamaal Williams and Paul Lasike to dominating showings against UT. BYU has two players in the NCAA's top 10 for rushing yards per game (Williams and Hill), and plenty of respect is due to Anae, Garrett, Tujague and the line for this success.
If BYU can continue to dominate through running the ball, it will take a lot more pressure off of a struggling aerial attack.
Aside from Secondary Depth, the Defense Is Strong
BYU was expected to take a huge step down from last year's third-ranked defense, and although it seems that opposing offenses are putting up more points, the D is still solid. The linebacker corps is incredible, while the shallow secondary and veteran line are also playing well.
The Cougars have held opponents to only 11 of 37 third-down attempts, and are tied for eighth in the country in tackles for loss. If the secondary can limit the amount of long passes given up, it could be another great year for the Cougar defense.