#41 BYU Football 2013 Preview

Brigham Young Cougars

Overall Rank: #41
#2 FBS Independent

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#41 BYU Football 2013 PreviewBuy BYU Football Tickets

For most of the country, a successful season hinges on how a team plays within their conference. A conference title assures them of a nice bowl berth. For BCS conference teams, the prize is even greater. For an independent team like BYU though, success is what they make of it. They have no conference affiliation and thus no conference schedule. A good season is made by beating teams they are not necessarily familiar with. Last season, they managed to make a bowl game, but the season was more a story of close losses. BYU lost to Boise State by a score of 7-6. They lost to Notre Dame by just three points. Other than an Oregon State blowout, no defeat was by more than six. If the Cougars played in a BCS conference, these games would have been on a bigger stage and talk would have centered around how close BYU was to elite status. Instead, there was little to no talk at all.

2012 Record: (8-5)
2012 Bowl: Poinsettia Bowl vs. San Diego State (W 23-6)
Coach: Bronco Mendenhall (74-29 at BYU, 74-29 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Robert Anae
Defensive Coordinator: Nick Howell

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jamaal Williams, RB, 775 yards
Passing: Taysom Hill, QB, 425 yards
Receiving: Cody Hoffman, WR, 1,248 yards
Tackles: Daniel Sorensen, DB, 68
Sacks: Kyle Van Noy, LB, 13.0
Interceptions: Daniel Sorensen, DB, 3

Other Key Returnees: WR Ross Apo, WR JD Falslev, TE Kaneakua Friel, OL Michael Yeck, OL Ryker Mathews, DL Bronson Kaufusi, LB Spencer Hadley

Key Losses: QB Riley Nelson, QB James Lark, RB David Foote, LB Ezekiel Ansah, LB Brandon Ogletree, P Riley Stephenson

It really seems like Brigham Young would be getting more publicity if they were still a member of the Mountain West Conference. Not only did they have a number of close losses to top teams, but they had one of the very best defenses in the country in 2012. Here were their final rankings nationally: third in total defense, second in rush defense, 10th in pass defense and third in scoring defense. Some of their top guys graduated but linebacker Kyle Van Noy leads the returning players. Van Noy was one of the most disruptive forces anywhere in the nation last season. He finished in a tie for fifth in sacks and accumulated the sixth most tackles for loss. Perhaps his most impressive feat was how he managed to outshine Ezekiel Ansah. But it isn't just the defense that has the Cougars feeling confident. Returning on offense will be the team's leading rusher, Jamaal Williams, who notched 12 touchdowns on just 166 carries in 2012. Also returning is one of the top wide receivers east of USC: Cody Hoffman. Hoffman has nice size and is on his way to being BYU's all-time leader in receptions.

The only thing that may slow down Cody Hoffman's pursuit of Cougar history is the lack of experience of the man throwing him the ball. Taysom Hill saw very limited action behind center as a freshman. In fact, he was more effective as a runner than a thrower. He returns as the most experienced quarterback though. Playing against BYU will also be their schedule. Last season saw limited BCS conference opponents showing up to play Brigham Young. This year is different. It is always tough for independents to create yearly schedules with no conference affiliations to fall back on, and maybe the BYU brass was aiming for this type of schedule, but they will certainly have their hands full. Weeks one through three read as follows: at Virginia, vs. Texas and vs. Utah. The middle of the year will have the Cougars playing Georgia Tech, Houston, Boise State and Wisconsin four consecutive weeks. To top it all off, the men of Provo challenge Notre Dame November 23. It seems unrealistic for this defense to live up to last year's heights when such a formidable slate of opponents is waiting.

The Bottom Line:
Coming off of an under-the-radar effective season, Brigham Young may struggle to reach bowl eligibility in 2013. The defense was stellar but loses a couple playmakers, including their most athletic man on the front seven. The top skill position players on offense return but not all the top linemen do and both the starting and backup quarterbacks have since graduated. If BYU played the same exact schedule this season as they did last season, the experience returning may have yielded a similar, if not better year. A couple of those close losses turn into wins rather easily and suddenly BYU has double digit victories. However, this year's schedule should play much tougher. Bronco Mendenhall's squad could be hovering right around .500 heading into those final two road games of the year, the first of which is in South Bend.

Projected Bowl: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 153.15 (64th in nation)
Passing Offense: 247.23 (50)
Total Offense: 400.38 (60)
Scoring Offense: 28.69 (64)
Rushing Defense: 86.92 (2)
Pass Defense: 179.15 (10)
Total Defense: 266.08 (3)
Scoring Defense: 14.00 (3)
Turnover Margin: -0.23 (76)
Sacks: 2.62 (22)
Sacks Allowed: 2.31 (82)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#21 Kyle Van Noy
#67 Cody Hoffman


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