BYU vs. Weber State: Five Things to Watch For

This week’s Five Things to Watch For will probably be quite different than the rest because the Brigham Young Cougars are playing an FCS foe. I am interested in things that I otherwise probably wouldn’t be if BYU was playing an FBS opponent.

Playing an FCS school is always makes the week a little interesting. The FBS school is almost always bigger, faster, and stronger and the fans expect they should win in blowout fashion. You don’t want to see one of your key players get injured in a game that most feel doesn’t matter too much, but you don’t want to overlook the team and lose like Michigan did to Appalachian State in 2007 and Virginia Tech did to James Madison in 2010, respectively.

1. Cody Hoffman. Will he play? How much? If he does play, how will he look?

Bronco was asked this question after practice on Monday. He said, “Yeah he’ll be great by Saturday. Man, those deep quad contusions or bruises; it hurts mostly when he slows or kind of slows down right now but I think he’ll be fine by Saturday.”

If you’ve ever had a deep bruise in your quad or calf, you know the feeling. You can play through it; it will just hurt a bit. The problem is if you get hit there again, you feel like you have to start over on the recovery process.

I personally don’t think Hoffman should play in this game. The other BYU receivers showed they are more than capable last week, and Hoffman’s full strength will be vital in the games to come. Utah and Boise State in back-to-back weeks are going to be tough, and Hoffman will need to be available then.

If he does play, it should only be for a quarter or so. Let him get some routes in, test his leg out, catch a few passes and then put some ice on that thing.

Hoffman is a gamer, so I’m sure he wants to play. Bronco needs to look at the big picture on this one, and a game against Weber State is not big picture.

2. Will we get to see more of Taysom Hill?

Hill is listed as No. 3 on the depth chart at the moment, with Lark as the backup to Riley Nelson.  However, it seems that Brandon Doman has a special liking for Hill, putting him in for a few plays last week against Washington State.

I expect we will see Nelson play the first half, and then the team will have a large enough cushion the backups will get some time. We will see a little action from Lark and then Hill will have cleanup duties. But will Doman put Hill in for another 4th and 1 from the 18-yard line before then? We can only hope.

3. What is the status of kicker Justin Sorensen?

Will he play? How healthy is he? He sat out most of the entire game against Washington State. He is listed as the projected starter for this week’s game, but that doesn’t mean anything. Riley Stephenson did a fine job. I don’t think the Cougars are in huge trouble if Sorensen can’t play soon, but it’s always nice to have a kicker who kicked a 62-yard field goal in high school at your disposal.

4. What backup player will turn our heads?

As I said before, BYU should build a decent enough lead in this game that the backups and third stringers see quite a bit of playing time. One who I have been intrigued by lately is David Foote. He is so quick off of the handoff, and usually makes the first tackler miss.

He had four carries last week, but I think he will get more this time around. I’m hoping to see him make more than the first tackler miss this week, and maybe break a big run for a score.

5. Any temptation to look beyond an FCS opponent as I am doing right now?

Bronco says there isn’t any.

“No,” he said after practice on Monday. “There are so many lessons having played Northern Iowa, Eastern Washington. My wife is fan of college football now so she was watching the games. Northern Iowa played Wisconsin close. Man, any given week and again our approach isn’t about who we are playing. We have so much we can improve on, etc. I sure hope there is no thought that way. There certainly isn’t on my part.”

Mendenhall is referring to Northern Iowa playing No. 12 Wisconsin last week, where NIU almost came away with a win. Wisconsin had to stop a driving Panther squad in the final minutes to secure a 26-21 win. Eastern Washington, another FCS school, did defeat Idaho last week.

I am most definitely looking past Weber State. They were 5-6 last season, have had coaching change after coaching change this summer, and were handled pretty well by Fresno State last week, 37-10.
Weber State is slightly better than last year’s Idaho State team the Cougars played, but after beating the Bengals 56-3, slightly better isn’t going to cut it.

And I’m not quite sure Bronco isn’t overlooking them too. In his post-practice interview on Monday, he didn’t even know Mike Hoke’s name (Hoke is the Weber State quarterback for the rest of you who are also overlooking this game).

As far as I’m concerned, the Cougars just need to get through this game, stay healthy, and get ready for Utah. I am interested to watch these five things, but more importantly, I want to see some good games the next two weeks.

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  1. Bronco doesn't learn opposing players' names. He learns their numbers.


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