They aren’t tipping their hand to the media, but the BYU Cougars believe they have a big advantage in their game with the Washington Huskies on Saturday.
The Cougars are confident that their offensive line will be able to control the line of scrimmage against the Huskies.
BYU is experienced, physical, and deep up front, one of the top offensive lines in the country. Meanwhile, the Huskies have significant question marks along their defensive front seven.
Gone from last year’s is team is defensive end Daniel Teo-Nesheim, the Huskies all-time leading sack man, now with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Undersized sophomore Talia Crichton (6-3, 246) will try to fill in for Teo-Nesheim, along with former BYU prospect Hau’oli Jamora (6-3, 238, Fr).
At the other defensive end spot is Everrette Thompson (6-6, 244 Jr), who started three games at defensive tackle last year. There was some question as to whether Thompson would be back in time for the start of the season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon.
Thompson has been limited in his practice and preparation during fall camp for the Huskies and has lost weight. One has to wonder about his conditioning level coming from sea level to the mountains of Utah.
There are fewer questions at defensive tackle for Washington. Alemeda Ta’ Amu (6-3, 330 Jr) is a space eater on the inside. He started 11 games for the Huskies last year.
He is joined by Cameron Elisara (6-3, 269 Sr), another undersized player that dealt with an injury last year.
At linebacker the Huskies lose their top tackler in Donald Butler, who is now with the San Diego Chargers, but they do return Mason Foster (6-2, 242 Sr) at outside linebacker who was second on the team in tackles with 85. Foster is expected to be the leader among the front seven this season.
The middle linebacker spot is filled by former Judge Memorial High (SLC, Utah) star Cort Dennison (6-1, 236 Jr) who started five games last year.
The other outside backer spot will be manned by converted safety Victor Aiyewa (6-1, 219 Sr) who will try to replace the production of Butler.
Don’t be surprised to see the Cougars run more in this game and try to physically wear down the Washington defense, while taking the pressure off the Cougars’ two inexperienced quarterbacks. When these two teams met in 2008, BYU was clearly the more physical team.
If the Cougars can control the line of scrimmage as expected, they should be able to sustain drives and keep Washington’s dangerous quarterback Jake Locker and outstanding running back Chris Polk off the field in the process.
Last season, Washington’s defense gave up 390 yards and nearly 27 points per game.