2008 BYU Cougars Football Preview
BYU 2007 Record: (11-2, 8-0 MWC)
2007 Bowl: Las Vegas Bowl vs. UCLA (W 17-16)
BYU Head Coach: Bronco Mendenhall (28-10 at BYU, 28-10 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Robert Anae
Defensive Coordinator: Jaime Hill
Returning Leaders for BYU:
- Rushing: Harvey Unga, RB, 1,227 yards
- Passing: Max Hall, QB, 3,848 yards
- Receiving: Austin Collie, WR, 946 yards
- Tackles: Jan Jorgensen, DE, 77
- Sacks: Jan Jorgensen, DE, 14.0
- Interceptions: Matt Bauman, LB, 1
Other Key Returnees: G Travis Bright, DE Brett Denney, LB Shawn Doman, DE Ian Dulan, G Ray Feinga, LB David Nixon, TE Dennis Pitta, WR Michael Reed, OT Dallas Reynolds, RB Fui Vakapuna
Key Losses: CB Kayle Buchanan, CB Ben Criddle, S Quinn Gooch, S Corby Hodgkiss, LB Bryan Kehl, LB Kelly Poppinga, LB Mark Staffieri, RB Manase Tonga
After two straight 10-2 seasons and two consecutive Mountain West titles, BYU is looking for even better things this time around. With a dynamic offense returning and enough weapons on defense to work with, Coach Bronco Mendenhall and company are one of the few non-BCS teams who are thinking about a BCS Bowl.
Max Hall had a good debut season as the starting quarterback for the Cougars, throwing for 3,848 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. If he makes the progress that many signal callers make heading into their second year running the show, the BYU offense will be very hard to stop. Receiver Austin Collie returned from his mission last year and immediately became Hall’s favorite target. This year should be even better for Collie, but Hall will have plenty of other options. Tight end Dennis Pitta is a superb pass catcher and a nice target in the redzone and Luke Ashworth and Spencer Hafoka both had great springs after coming back from their missions and should compliment Collie at the wideout spots quite well.
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Replacing a majority of the secondary and a few starting linebackers is tops on the list of things to do for BYU. Corners Brandon Howard and Scott Johnson have some experience, but can they help keep the Cougar’s defense the best in the conference? Making matters more disheartening is the loss of linebackers Kelly Poppinga, Bryan Kehl and Markell Staffieri. Those will not be easy guys to replace and that will put a lot of pressure on some inexperienced players. Former tight end Vic So’oto might find himself in a starting role and Matt Bauman has to prove that he is ready for a full time starting position.
The Bottom Line for the Cougars:
While the back eight has some issues that need addressed, the defense has its leader with Jan Jorgensen. As a sophomore, Jorgensen tallied 14 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. As an upperclassman, and one of the more experienced players on the team, he will be asked to be a leader as well as a sack machine. And as long as the front line can get pressure, the secondary will have some time to adjust.
2007 BYU Cougars Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 144.38 (67th in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 298.38 (14, 1)
Total Offense: 442.77 (25, 1)
Scoring Offense: 30.08 (47, 1)
Rushing Defense: 97.46 (9, 1)
Pass Defense: 210.38 (32, 6)
Total Defense: 307.85 (10, 1)
Scoring Defense: 18.54 (9, 2)
Turnover Margin: -.46 (93, 7)
Sacks: 2.46 (33, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.54 (34, 2)
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Guest Writer
Check out all of the 2008 college football previews online through College Sports Fans.