by Daniel Olsen | The Cougars are about to embark on a football season unlike anything ever before. The last time they did not field a team was during World War II from 1943-1945. In the midst of a global pandemic they are looking to be the only team in the west side of the United States to get on the gridiron. How will BYU overcome the difficulty of these playing conditions along with an injury to a crucial piece to their roster? Let’s take a look.
1. You can’t replace Matt Bushman: While Bushman is a nationally elite tight end that can’t be cloned overnight, BYU has other pieces that can be the best versions of themselves and work together to make a whole team greater than the sum of its parts. The other guys getting time at tight end, Isaac Rex and Masen Wake, will look to fill that void. Perhaps this will help BYU quarterback Zach Wilson learn to make the appropriate reads and throw to other receivers. Bushman was his favorite target for a good reason but spreading the wealth is a good thing. These are Division 1 athletes who should be able to catch passes at this level.
2. Control possession time: Navy is especially good at having more possession time than their opponents because they are elite at the triple option. Those running plays keep chewing the clock during their possessions. BYU might not have a running back like Jamaal Williams in the backfield but they have some guys that can do some damage. Lopini Katoa especially can make some heads spin. If they can throw some curveballs of their own with some misdirection plays, they also can catch their opponent off guard. It’s key that they get first downs too because it won’t do them any good if they go three-and-out. Then they are just punting it back to the other team and playing right into their hands.
3. Amp up the defense: BYU has historically beaten really good teams even when not having their best offensive games. Take 2018 for example, when Tanner Mangum didn’t even throw for 100 yards and BYU was still able to knock off the 6th ranked Wisconsin Badgers. The Cougars allowed just 394 yards of offense and won the turnover battle. They can do something similar to upset a great Navy team coming off a double-digit win season.
Look for the final score prediction in tomorrow’s final breakdown of the matchups at each position!
Featured image via Salt Lake Tribune.