BYU had a decent season in 2008. After being projected to be at the top of the Mountain West Conference last season, the Cougars ended the season in third place behind Utah and TCU, respectively.
They finished the 2008 season 10-3, losing the Las Vegas Bowl against Arizona.
Key returners for the Cougars are:
QB Max Hall. He is projected as one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the nation coming into the 2009 season. Last year, he passed for 3,957 yards on 330 completions. He was a 69.18% passer and had 35 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. He passing efficiency last season was 11th best in the nation at 157.21.
RB Harvey Unga. He rushed for 1,132 yards and 11 touchdowns on 240 carries in 2008. In two seasons for the Cougars, Harvey has rushed the ball 488 times for 2,368 yards and 25 touchdowns, while averaging 4.85 yards per carry.
TE Dennis Pitta. Dennis Pitta ranks as one of the better Tight Ends in the country coming into the season this year. He is the leading receiver back for BYU in 2009. He caught 83 passes for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns.
LB Matt Bauman. Matt Bauman is a force at Linebacker. In 2008, he had 50 solo tackles, 58 assisted tackles, 10 total tackles for a loss, and two sacks. He led the team in total tackles and was fourth on the team for sacks.
In 2008, the defense was nothing special for the Cougars. However, coming into the 2009 campaign, they return eight of 11 starters. All eight of the returning starts are seniors, so they have the experience that many teams do not have.
Each level of defense lost one starter last year. Meaning there are no real question marks to fill coming into the 2009 season on defense.
On offense, when you have one of the nations top quarterbacks returning, it is always a plus. What adds to that is the fact that they also return their leading rusher from 2008, as well as their second leading receiver.
In 2008, the BYU offense was one of the nation's top offenses. They averaged over 34 points and over 444 yards of offense every game.
They may return Max Hall and Harvey Unga, but what makes the offense a weakness is the fact that they need to replace four offensive line starters. They also need to replace their deep threat from 2008, Austin Collie.
The defense will be rock solid and improved from the 2008 season. BYU has senior leadership on both sides of the ball. The biggest concern is the offensive line. If they can protect Hall and block for Unga, BYU will be a very difficult opponent.
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