Scouting out the Texas receivers

Against Virginia, the depleted BYU secondary fared very well. Now the Cougar secondary will face an even more talented group of receivers with Texas next up on the schedule.

Texas runs its own version of an up-tempo offense.

"Well, they're going hurry-up tempo and they're running a little bit of zone read and trying to get their athletes in space attacking the perimeter," said Coach Howell. "They do a really good job in the pass game attacking the seams. I think they do a really good job of utilizing their personnel."

"When we played them before [in 2011] they tried to disguise things a little more with option and some motion stuff," said Austen Jorgensen, who will start on Saturday if Uani Unga isn't healthy enough to play. "This year they line up and say, 'This is what we're going to do, try and stop it.' Now they line up in a spread and pass it or they just run to try and beat you with their talent and execution."

Texas also has a number of dangerous players at the skill positions.

"They've got some speedy guys, especially at receiver," said Jorgensen.

Slot receiver Daje Johnson

Johnson is the x-man in the Texas offense. At 5 feet 10 inches and 180 pounds, he ran a laser-timed 4.34 forty. He plays multiple positions such as slot and tailback. He'll be a major factor in the Longhorns' offense and is someone the Cougar defense should watch out for.

"Last year he actually played tailback pretty much the entire year," said Fox Sports Texas reporter Kevin Flaherty. "This year they're doing it differently because he's a much better receiver now. He's a little bit more polished there than he used to be, so the coaches don't have to rotate him on and off the field like they did before. Last year you didn't know what you were going to get if you sent him on a route. This year he's a wide receiver, but in certain cases he'll play running back."

Johnson will be a primary weapon in the Texas offense due to his versatility.

"He's a little bit of everything," said Coach Howell. "You know, he's all over the place. He's fly-sweep, he's tailback, he's slot and they put him everywhere. They're multiple with that guy."

"I think if you were sitting in the Texas coaching room, a lot of your discussion would be involved right now with how to get Daje Johnson the ball," said Flaherty. "The thing about him is his ability to break tackles too. You'll see him go vertical quite a bit because of his speed, so they're going to try and exploit his speed down the seam. You'll also see him do a lot of things Texas had Jaxon Shipley do the last time BYU played Texas."

Jorgensen has seen on film what Johnson can do.

"He's a receiver and he's a running back and he also returns kicks, so they have him doing a lot of different things," said Jorgensen. "He can cut back and he can go straight ahead. I wouldn't say physicality is his thing, so I think we're going to try and hit him in the mouth and try to keep him in the box and contained rather than letting him get out and run."

The task of bottling up Johnson will belong to a number of players.

"It will mix up between outside backers, safeties and DBs," Jorgensen said. "It will mostly be outside backers and we'll try and keep him boxed in as much as we can."

Wide receiver Mike Davis

As the z-receiver position, Mike Davis is the Longhorns' deep threat. Davis will match up against BYU's Robertson Daniel, who was given the task of bottling up Virginia's speedy receivers last week.

"They bring a lot of speed," Daniel said. "As far as [Davis], they love to send him deep in early downs. They look at him as more their speed guy who can stretch the field, and that's what they try to do. They try to get him the ball in early downs deep.

"The other guy [Mike Davis] is kind of a burner, so you just have to kind of understand what they're going to do with them. They have a specific plan with each receiver, I feel like, and our kids understand that. So, I think we have a good idea of what they're going to do."

Wide receiver Jaxon Shipley

BYU fans might remember Jaxon Shipley from the last time the Cougars played the Longhorns. Shipley was a freshman then but did very well against the BYU defense. Now, he has a lot more experience.

"They've got a couple good receivers," said Coach Howell. "They do a really good job hitting those guys in the seam, and, you know, they're getting their good guys in spaces where they can make plays. Shipley runs really, really, really good routes. He's really savvy."

"Shipley is a great route-runner, so you have to have great eye control and technique," said Daniel. "He's a talented receiver. When it comes to Shipley, he's really good in his routes and you can't tell one route from another. It makes it tough and it's going to be a good challenge."

Against New Mexico State last week, Texas was able to put up 356 passing yards as the Longhorns went on to set a school record with 715 yards of offense. To ensure that BYU doesn't happen against BYU, Coach Howell said the defense needs to accomplish some specific things.

"Keep them in front, tackle them, don't let them get around us, don't let them get over the top, and that's our plan," said Coach Howell. "We're going to stay true to what we do, and you have to be in your gap, and if the ball is running in your gap you have to make a play."

"I think Texas is a good team, but with all the preparation we've been doing, there's nothing special about them," said Daniel. "They're going to test you deep, and then try and establish the run game. We have to be smart there. I know they're going to try and test me deep early in the downs."

Daniel will need to lock down the field side against those speedy Texas receivers.

"Rob did a great job [against Virginia] and it was his first start with us," said linebacker Spencer Hadley. "Did a great job and was consistent, which is what we needed from our corners. He had a great game and I was really proud of him in the way he flew around too. He's really adopted the mentality of the BYU defense. He's a good player."

"I feel like I've grown a lot because the boundary corner is more physical and more of a press game," said Daniel. "With the field corner you're playing eight-to-10 yards off, and it's more of a finesse part of the game. Jordan Johnson has really helped me with that part of the game."

What the Cougar defenders will see from Texas is an offense that will try and keep them guessing.

"What Texas does really well with their receivers are combination routes, so they all break out of their stance at the same time and it's really hard to know what they're doing beforehand," said Daniel. "They run different routes from the same formations and you never really know what route those are because they line up in a similar way. So they can disguise their routes by running similar formations."

Daniel's three keys to victory

"I would say the three things for us to have a victory are to first stop the run," Daniel said. "We have to stop the run on early downs and stop Shipley on third downs. Then we have to make sure we don't get beat over the top, so we have to defend the deep routes. Then third, I would say keep them out of the end zone."

Skye PoVey

Cornerback Skye PoVey had a very good game against Virginia last week. His next challenge will be making an effort to keep Jaxon Shipley and Kendall Sanders bottled up. It's going to be a difficult task, but PoVey is excited for the challenge. He shared his thoughts on the Texas games earlier this week:

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