Offense -- what BC will do
BC starts the season on the road, at a high altitude, with a starting QB coming off a redshirt and a loaded offensive line. Is there any doubt what they are going to do? BC is going to run, run and then run some more. Hat on hat, push the ball, with the hope of wearing down the Cougars. My fear is that this is what Notre Dame tried last season, on the road in a season opener. The result? 11 net rushing yards and an Irish loss. BC has been very conservative in openers. I don’t expect them to do anything different this time. If they successfully establish the run, look for a lot of play action and the occasional bootleg. I also think BC will give Porter the green light to run on passing downs if his first two reads are covered.
BYU runs a 3-3-5 but will mix in some 3-4 and even 3-5. They are breaking in new faces on the d-line and their backfield. They also plan on blitzing like crazy. BC’s been pretty good at picking up blitzes. And I think the 3-3 will play to BC’s desire to run.
Offense -- what I think BC should do
Quinton Porter’s best series of football came in his second start in 2003. On the road, they caught Penn State by surprise with a series of play action passes, almost all of which were 15-20 yards darts to tight ends and receivers crossing over the middle. I would love to see them try that again. BYU is going to focus on the run and dare Porter to make plays. So if BC came out early with short passes to Miller and Blackmon, it would loosen things up for the running game. BC doesn’t have to go deep. Just have Lester run deep routes on the weak side over and over. Make BYU honor his speed and keep a defender or two away from the diamond patterns we’ll run with Palmer, Miller and Blackmon on the opposite side of the field.
Regardless of what BC does (Bible’s way or my way), this game will be won on the line. If they pick up the blitz and open holes in the running game, BC will control and score.
Defense -- what BC will do
Our defense is solid and almost as bland as the offense. Look for little blitzing and plenty of zone. I think they'll drop a lot of linebackers in coverage. Fortunately we're deep at the position, so we’ll sub a lot to keep guys fresh.
Defense -- what I think BC should do
If it ain’t broke... I complain about the predictability of the bend but don’t break defensive mentality, but in a game like this, where we don’t know exactly what BYU will do, it is a safe strategy. Plus if they use their old vertical passing game, it will give Kiwi time to get to the quarterback. If they use the Texas Tech style, they’ll score and move the ball, but they will also be surprised by the coverage ability of our linebackers. The only thing I don’t want to see is a lot of nickel. Maybe I am overestimating our linebackers or underestimating the effectiveness of BYU’s new offense, but I think our linebackers can handle the short, underneath stuff.
Special teams -- what BC will do
Special teams at high altitudes are a different ball game. There’s not much BC can do about BYU kicking away from Blackmon. What is in TOB’s hand is how to handle Ohliger. The kid struggled last year. I expect them to keep him comfortable in this game. If we face a fourth and long outside of 40, look for BC to punt or go for it. I think they don’t want to ruin his confidence this early in the season.
Special teams -- what BC should do
I’d take the opposite approach. Sink or swim time. Find out if he is still a liability before we get into the meat of the schedule. Plus the kid showed promise from long distances. The gimmes gave him trouble. And the altitude and extra carry should be a positive. If he makes a 50+ field goal against BYU, maybe he won’t get the yips on the 25 yarders.
BC will move the ball and score. BYU will move the ball too. The question is will BC wear them down and keep them from setting the pace? I think BC steps up. BC wins 27-23.