The second matchup for the Longhorns in the 2013 season will be on the road in Provo, Utah against BYU. BYU comes off a loss to Virginia and what seemed to be an injury plagued 8-5 season last year. In his ninth year at BYU, Coach Bronco Mendenhall comes into this season with the same blue collar style defensive strategy. Last week against the Cavaliers the Cougs made mistakes t that cost them the game. With a weather delay and poor field conditions BYU just couldn’t get any momentum. They started an stopped a bunch on offense and let the Cavaliers hang around in the game. One crucial turnover late sealed the fate for the Cougars and got their 2013 season off to a 0-1 start. Both teams fell victim to slow starts last week, the one who comes out fast from the get go will win this game.
OFFENSE: The Cougars return key players at the skill positions, with the most important being the quarterback Taysom Hill. Hill comes off a season ending knee injury that sidelined him for over half the year last year. Hill is a do everything type of quarterback, good runner and thrower and is definitely the catalyst of this offense. Hill has exceptional athletic talent but, is still pretty raw when it comes to on-field snaps so look for Manny Diaz and the Longhorns D to try and confuse the young quarterback. Hill is joined in the backfield by returning lettermen H backs Mike Alisa and Jamaal Williams two exceptional backs that split time due to an arm injury that is still plaguing Alisa today. The wide-outs are a good core group highlighted by stand out receiver Cody Hoffman. When Hill gets out of the pocket he will use his speed to extend the play and target Hoffman. This will be a good early test for the UT DB’s to try an shut down an up and coming group of receivers.
DEFENSE: It all starts in the middle for the Cougars on defense. Very similar to what Hill does for them on offense, star linebacker Kyle Van Noy (potentially a future first-round NFL draft pick) is the focal point of the BYU defense. Even though Noy suffered a tweak hamstring in the off season he will still be that has his helmet in there on every play. As I mentioned before, the Achilles heel for this defense will be in the secondary. BYU lost both their starting corners Jordan Johnson and Treton Trammell to ACL injuries in the offseason. If there was ever a game David Ash had an opportunity to pick on a young secondary it’s this one.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Coach Mendenhall is confident with his punter situation at the moment. His kicking game is not where he would like it to be. Despite having a senior kicker Justin Sorensen has had confidence issues and has battled some injuries. It got so frustrating for the team that they brought a JUCO place kicker to compete with Sorensen for the job. If it came down to Taysom Hill’s legs or the foot of one of his kickers don’t be surprised if Coach Mendenhall calls Hill’s number.
Take the Horns minus 7.5