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PROVO -- "We spent the past couple of days preparing for Washington." BYU Running back Bryan Kariya said. "It's good to finally start getting going for those guys, so we're excited obviously to play the first game."
As BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall begins his sixth season in Cougar town, he's working with the youngest team he has ever had. BYU is returning only about a dozen starters and Mendenhall is counting on these young Cougars growing up fast. "I trust who these kids are, they're going to have to play more for me to trust what they are capable of and how they are going to demonstrate that on the field."
Nowhere is the youth more glaring than at quarterback; where you can call BYU "2 Quarterback U." Redshirt Jr. Riley Nelson and true freshman Jake Heaps will share the job. Nelson's more of a run/throw wild card; Heaps is just and 'ol fashioned gunslinger, seasoned well beyond his years. "Our whole game plan, Jake and I can execute all of it." says Nelson. "...but obviously there are some more tailored to my skill set and some more to his skill set. Really it's pick your poison."
"Our offensive staff has a brand new challenge ahead of them. How do you design a lot of what we've done that's been successful and keep that part, preserving the core yet stimulating progress." Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
Come Saturday, Bronco's defensive corps will be focused on the Washington Quarterback. Senior Jake Locker is on top of many NFL draft boards and showed BYU fans what he could do when they last me in Seattle. Facing a running and throwing quarterback throughout fall camp has prepared the BYU defense well for Locker. "Certainly, because we practice against an active quarterback and defended a few active quarterbacks since." Mendenhall said. "Whether we'll be successful remains to be seen but certainly the ideas we might have and knowing what to prepare for."
"The guy we're going up against is one of the best in the nation, if not the best, he's on everyone's short list of Heisman hopefuls." Vic So'oto Said.
Jordan Pendleton is the only returning starter among Bronco's front seven, but this group is quick and has has veteran defensive backs to allow them to gamble. They might be able to bring more pressure than in past seasons. Mendenhall says "I think we have a little bit more depth and a little bit more athleticism, especially on our edges and being able to substitute some young, outside backers. So you might see some of that in third and long situations and with an experienced secondary, that's always helpful." Bryan Kariya said "A great thing for us down here is to play at home. As far as that goes, they have the same quarterback, he's a great player, but we're gonna take it to them."