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Thursday, October 25, 2012

BYU vs. Georgia Tech: 5 Things to Watch for

The Brigham Young Cougars will play the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Boddy Dodd Stadium, which has a fantastic view of the Downtown Atlanta skyline. That may be fun to watch for a few seconds as the game coverage transitions in and out of commercial breaks, but it is not one of the five things fans should be watching for during the game on Saturday.

1. Option stoppers?

When BYU played Air Force annually in the WAC and MWC, the Cougars were great at stopping the option. Georgia Tech runs the option, and they run it very well. The Yellow Jackets average 339.6 yards rushing per game. No two options attacks are the same. What worked against Air Force may or may not work to stop Georgia Tech. Does BYU still have the option magic?

2. Road weary?

BYU is making back-to-back road trips east of the Mississippi River. Up until last week, BYU had not traveled outside of the Mountain Time Zone. BYU has not traveled east of the Mississippi River in back-to-back weeks since the first two games of the 2000 season. That BYU team lost the first (Florida State) and won the second (Virginia), but they had to rally from a 21-0 halftime deficit to win in overtime, 38-35.

How will the long travel impact BYU’s play? Coming out slow could be devastating for BYU since Georgia Tech uses so much game time running the option.

3. Time of possession.

Against Boston College last week, Tech had 43:37 time of possession. BYU doesn’t want to be caught in the same situation. Expect BYU to continue to use a ball control style of offense with short passes and probably more rushing attempts than usual. Jamaal Williams may become the first BYU player to carry the ball 20 times in a game this season.

4. Kickoff returns.

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has talked about instructing Joe Sampson not to return the kickoff out of the end zone unless he can get past the 25-yard line. Sampson only got to the 16-yard line on a return against Notre Dame when BYU really could have used 9 extra yards. Will Sampson still be back returning kicks? Cody Hoffman was stellar last year, but has just three returns this year. Two, however, were over 30 yards. Will he return to doing kickoff returns?

5. Jamaal Williams encore?

The true freshman running back has had over 100 all-purpose yards the last two weeks. Will he have an encore 100 yard performance again? The Georgia Tech defense has given up a lot of yards this season. As noted above, Williams could see a spike in the number of times he runs the ball. He will probably be highly involved in the passing game as well. He is starting to get attention for his success this season as a freshman. A big game in the media capital of the south would get him on a few more peoples’ radars.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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