The outlook isn't all bad for BYU. The last time, and only time under Bronco Mendenhall, that BYU played Air Force in September with a new starting quarterback was 2007. The result: A 31-6 victory. Air Force also has the challenge to replace all five starters on the offensive line. Cornerback Reggie Rembert was injured in the season opener and odds are he will be out this week. Rembert, a senior, has started since he was a freshman. The Air Force defensive line appears to be a weakness that BYU can exploit with its very good offensive line. In the end, the deciding factor will be the BYU defense. If the new guys up front can play solid and follow their assignments, this game should not be any different than the last six. The BYU offense appears capable of scoring enough points for an easy victory.
Things to watch for:
- What surprises will Air Force have? Air Force will pull out all the stops. I fully expect passing plays and other offensive tricks to try and jump on top of BYU early and make the young BYU quarterbacks have to dig out of a deep hole. The surprises won't be limited to offense either. Air Force had a vanilla pass rush last week. That won't be the case in game 2.
- Are BYU's young tight ends ready? The size advantage that BYU has on Air Force usually means a big game for the Cougars' tight end(s). Will BYU be able to continue this with a handful of freshman playing at this spot?
- Will the quarterback rotation be any different? The even split last week between Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps rotating every series was a general approach to this unknown situation. Now that the coaches understand what each player can do a little better, do the coaches see a different way to rotate them that might be more productive?
- Will the wide receivers have a breakout game? The wide outs were expected to be the bulk of the production in the passing game this year. They certainly have the most experience of the BYU skill positions. Against Washington, however, wide receivers only accounted for 92 of BYU's 262 passing yards, and neither of the two touchdown passes were to wide receivers.
- Will BYU avoid injuries? Ross Apo injured his finger during practice this week. With a big game against Florida State next week, BYU will need everyone healthy to face the Seminoles who have lost a lot of players to injury and off the field issues.
Last game: BYU, 38-21 (2009)
Streak: BYU won last 6
KICKOFF: 2:00 PM (MDT)
Radio: KSL 1160 AM, 102.7 FM, www.ksl.com