COMMENTARY — After a tough home opener last Saturday, BYU football heads to Maryland to face off against West Virginia in a neutral site game at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins, this afternoon. The game will be televised live on ESPN2 at 1:30 p.m. MDT.
There are a lot of ways you can spin it. All the games were close. The defense has been very good. The new coaching staff is fun to watch. The thing I like to keep in mind is that this year’s schedule is arguably one of the toughest schedules in many years — we all knew it would be a test and challenge to keep a winning record.
After the close consecutive losses to Utah and UCLA, we find BYU with its back against the wall, trying to fight into a winning record again. If the Cougars can head back east and beat the 2-0 West Virginia Mountaineers, things will look and feel much better for BYU faithful.
This week’s game vs. West Virginia will tell us everything we need to know about where the program is at as the new coaching staff looks to improve BYU’s reputation. Another close loss will make BYU fans even more impatient and question what this year’s changes will amount to ultimately. West Virginia is coming off a bye week so they will have had plenty of time to rest and prepare for the Cougars.
West Virginia’s defense doesn’t look all that impressive this season when looking at the competition they have played. The Mountaineers really struggle to stop the run, currently ranked 95th in the nation.
The Mountaineers have beaten the Missouri Tigers, the team that beat BYU on the road last year. WVU also beat Youngstown State 38-21 two weeks ago.
BYU will try to establish the run game and play really conservative on defense to try and control time of possession and field position. With BYU’s defense only giving up 17 points per game this season, we could definitely see another lower scoring affair from these two programs.
But what about the quarterback position?
Some BYU fans have booed the offense, and especially senior signal-caller Taysom Hill. Tanner Mangum, it’s argued, is a better fit for the style of offense Ty Detmer wants to run.
But doesn’t Hill deserve a few benefits of the doubt? Here’s a kid who could have transferred and played almost anywhere this year, who has give much of his adult life to trying to help a program he loves be successful. This is a guy who bleeds BYU blue. And that should earn him a bad game or two.
Mangum’s time will come, perhaps even this year (who knows?). But Kalani Sitake’s decision to stick with Hill for now is the right one. Hill hasn’t lost the job. Yet.
Blue Blood is a sports column written by former BYU lineman and captain Scott Young. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
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