O-Line Looks to Quiet Wolf Pack Calls

The Cougar offensive line took a bit of a beating against Florida State in Tallahassee last Saturday. The Cougars offensive line expects a lot of trench antics and different package looks up front, but regardless of the defensive call they expect to succeed.

The Cougars will have their hands full with Nevada's front seven this Saturday, but it isn't anything they haven't seen before.

"They like to go from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 and give an under-G look [four down linemen with a defensive tackle lining up on the offensive guard]," said Jason Speredon. "They twist a lot like Florida State [and] do a lot of TEs and ET stuff [where the defensive tackles and ends stunt in a cross pattern]. It really just depends on who goes first."

"They're kind of like our defense a little bit," said Braden Brown. "They'll have both a little bit of a 3-4 and 4-3 base. They'll go from a 3-4 to a 4-3, and that's nice because that's something that we've been practicing against here all of fall camp."

The Cougars are preparing for a variety of wrinkles from the Wolf Pack, whether it's moving up on the line, dropping a defensive end back into coverage, twisting and stunting, or blitzing linebackers.

"They do a lot of twisting like Florida State, and so we've been practicing a lot of that this week," said Brown. "I just think the biggest thing with them is they execute those things really well. I think when teams watch that Florida State film they're going to think they can twist against us and do things that will put pressure on our quarterback. We have great coaches here that are preparing us for those things and now we have to go out and execute those fundamentals."

Speredon said "they'll blitz you on third-and-medium and third-and-long, so we can expect them to blitz depending on how they're going to game plan. I think we're getting some good looks in practice with our scout team and they're helping us to prepare for anything that will be coming our way."

Defensive end Ryan Coulson, a 6-foot-3-inch, 255-pound senior, played in all 13 games last year and started seven. Coulson was converted from a linebacker to defensive end in 2008 and fits in well with the type of defensive scheme Nevada runs.

The Cougar offensive line is expecting Nevada's smaller yet quick off-the-ball speed-rushing types to pull out all the stops in their ever-changing 3-4/4-3 scheme.

"Terence [Brown] does a great job in directing the traffic," Speredon said. "It's just a matter of if they shift; then all of a sudden we have to change up the calls a little bit and adjust to the blocking scenarios based on how they use these guys up front. It should be something we get a lot of reps with and should be a major surprise to us."

In the same mold as Coulson is 6-foot-1-inch, 245-pound defensive end Dontay Moch, the biggest force on the Wolf Pack defensive line. He is another fast linebacker-type playing at the defensive end position. BYU's offensive line faces a similar situation during practices whenever a smaller outside linebacker lines up outside the offensive tackle.

"Yeah, absolutely, and it's similar to ours but our defensive scout team tries to give us their look so we are practicing against what things they do rather than what we do," Speredon said. "I think [Moch] is probably their fastest guy. He's quick and is all over the field. But there are some differences in how they use that outside guy in a 4-3 look. A lot of times they'll drop him back depending on the blitz. It's a lot to look for, but I think we'll be ready.

"Moch is a great athlete," Brown said. "He's a great athlete and a great pass rusher. He's a tough guy to block. They like to change him up and flop him, so both me and Matt Reynolds will be going up against him. I know he plays a lot of the weak side defensive end spot, so we'll both get a taste of him."

The Wolf Pack defensive line isn't very big and gives up anywhere from 40-to-50 pounds to BYU's offensive line.

"They have a good front seven and they're not very big but they play hard and they're very physical," Brown said. "Usually those are the hardest guys to block. They're a mix between Air Force and Florida State. They're a little more athletic than Air Force but they play hard like Air Force.

"They're real effort guys with a lot of heart, kind of like the guys up front for Air Force. We're going to have to keep our eyes up and look for any movement up front. It's just preparation. None of their front four are really big - maybe 245, 255 and 260-pound area. On our side of the ball we're all around 300-plus, but that doesn't mean that you don't have to prepare as hard. You still have to prepare for a strong bull rush that dents the pocket or how they use their speed to set up other guys."

Freshman quarterback Jake Heaps will get his first career start this Saturday, and it is almost certain that the Wolf Pack coaching staff will try and rattle the young gun early. The offensive line is preparing for more blitzes from the Wolf Pack than what Florida State did.

"I think it's all situational," Speredon said. "I think it will really depend on down and distance. I'm sure they saw the Florida State game and they know we're developing parts of our offense, so I would say that they'll probably blitz more than Florida State. If I had to pick I would say yes, they'll probably blitz more."

Looking to rebound from their performance in Florida, the Cougar offensive line is going into this weekend's contest with a chip on their shoulders.

"I think the offensive line is a little disappointed in how we all played last week," Brown said. "Our center Terence always says, ‘Put the game on our shoulders and we'll take it down and win.' I think we're going to have that same attitude. We're going to be fired up and going to go out there and play to win. We have a lot to prove and we're going to put that game on our shoulders and go out there with something to prove."

"One of the signs of a good player is someone who doesn't make the same mistakes twice," said Speredon. "Hopefully we'll have learned from those mistakes and get better and not make them twice."

Sperendon's Three Keys to Victory

"As an offensive line, it's kind of interesting, one big key is being unified, so communication is going to be key for us on the o-line," Speredon said. "I would say the second thing is our effort and finishing and playing ‘til that whistle blows. The last thing I would say is playing with passion and playing with heart and from a deeper place. Play for a different reason."

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