In addition to the weekly previews that we’ll do to showcase the Cougars match up that week we are going to provide you with an “insider” perspective as well. Each week we’ll ask questions of a blogger for BYU’s opponent that week and post their answers as a post for you to read. We’ll give you some background info and link you to their own site so you can read all the good stuff they are doing while supporting their own teams.
Week 1 – Washington State Cougars
Respondent: Kyle Rancourt
AcademicallyIneligible: Talk about your offense and what BYU fans should expect to see this week.
CougCenter: Our offense is the only reason anyone has any hope this season. Led by senior QB Jeff Tuel and All-American WR Marquess Wilson, our offense is going to be pretty damn good. Our offensive line leaves a little to be desired, but they should give Tuel enough time to find the open man. We’re really thin depth wise, so if one of the guys on the line goes down, yuck. BYU fans should expect us to throw it. A lot. And then expect us to throw it some more.
AI: Talk about your defense and what BYU fans should expect to see this week.
CC: Our defense is, in a word, bad. They’re improved from last year, but when you’re one of the worst defenses in the country, there’s really only one way to go from there. Our defense will blitz a lot, so at least we’re fully embracing that our team is a video game. Mike Leach has never really cared about getting beat on defense because that means his offense gets the ball back.
AI: How do you think your team stacks up against BYU offensively and defensively?
CC: Offensively, I think WSU has the advantage. Obviously BYU has a more balanced attack, as WSU will almost never run the ball. WSU’s WRs are just flat out better, though. That’s not a slight on BYU, that’s more indicative of how good this group of guys really are. Marquess Wilson is on his way to becoming the best WR in school history, and one of the best in Pac 12 history. Defensively, BYU has a huge advantage. I wouldn’t be surprised if WSU has negative rushing yards on the day.
AI: Who are the one or two players we should watch for this week when you line up against the Cougars?
CC: Like I’ve previously mentioned, Jeff Tuel and Marquess Wilson are our big name guys. A few others to consider: true freshman WR Gabe Marks, who has been everything we thought he could be and more; WR Andrei Lintz, who is a converted TE; and OLB Travis Long, a converted DE who will now play the “Buck” LB position in the new 3-4 defense. Basically, he’ll be the one blitzing every single down.
AI: What are your thoughts on Mike Leach and the direction your Cougars are headed?
CC: I’m in love with Mike Leach, and I’m not entirely sure I’m awake right now. I feel like this has all been a dream. How in the hell is Mike Leach our head coach? Anyway, it’s tough to comment on the “direction of the team” because they haven’t played a single down, but I do enjoy that Leach has a very specific idea of what he wants to do, and he’s implementing that. He’s converting TEs and RBs to WR, WRs to CBs, DTs to Olinemen, etc. He knows what type of players he wants at each position, and he’s not afraid to shake up the roster in order to accomplish that. He also brings name recognition on a national scale to Pullman for the first time ever. ESPN talks about WSU. The Cougars are now America’s Team. Sorry, Dallas.
AI: What is your prediction for this game and why do you feel this will be the outcome?
CC: I have two predictions, actually. The first is WSU 45, BYU 42. WSU scores early and often, but their defense allows BYU back in it. Cougs win a close one. Or … BYU 35, WSU 21. WSU scores when they get the ball, but the defense is horrible and can’t stop BYU. The Cougars of Brigham Young control the clock by running the ball a lot to limit Jeff Tuel’s touches. It works, and BYU skates to an easy victory.
I don’t really see it going any other way. Either we win a close one, or get taken to the woodshed. I would love to say we win going away, but I just don’t see that happening. Not Week 1, not on the road, not against BYU’s defense.
Many, many thanks go out to the team at CougCenter and particularly Kyle Rancourt for getting back to me so quickly and on such short notice. Go give these guys a follow and watch for good things to finally come from Pullman . . . hopefully after they leave Provo.