No Lack of Confidence from Cougars for BSU Game

After tanking against Boise State last season at home by a lopsided 50-12 score, it's hard to believe that BYU has much to feel confident about Friday night as they brave the blue turf of the bucking Broncos who boast a 20-game home win streak and are a perfect 10-0 in ESPN televised games.

Ever the optimist, BYU head coach Gary Crowton said, "We're really excited to play this game."

Crowton says he likes the matchup with Boise State who currently leads the nation in scoring offense, averaging 55 points per game. "I like the matchup and I think it's going to be an exciting game. They score a lot of points and we'll have to do the same."

After losing the time of possession battle to USC last week (36-23 minute margin), the Cougar offense know they have to keep the Broncos vaunted offense off the field and subsequently in check. Controlling the clock with a consistent running attack will be paramount this week.

Crowton reinforced the importance of developing a strong running game to keep opposing defenses off balance. "I just feel that we'll continue to get better at the run game. I thought we came off the ball a little bit better against Southern Cal. What we didn't do well is keep our pad level down to drive them. We have a long ways to go, but I see us getting hat-on-hat better and getting our pad level down. The effort is there with our running backs and I think it will come."

Sophomore offensive lineman Eddie Keele has great respect for Boise State's defensive line. "They're tough up front. Their defensive line doesn't give up and that's what makes them so tough. We definitely have a size and strength advantage over them. Hopefully we take advantage of that and drive them off the ball. I don't think they're any quicker than USC, but they are smaller. Hopefully we have some good success against them," he said.

Keele added: "I think we're going to run the ball a lot more and we'll get the average up. We're excited about that. Hopefully this week will be our breakout week in running the ball well. We have a lot of talented guys and hopefully we'll be able to show that talent on the field."

Though the Cougars defense gave up 381 yards last season against the Broncos, senior defensive back Jon Burbidge noted, "We have a lot of confidence going into this game. We were able to hold them to 180 total yards going into the fourth quarter before everything snowballed on us. We have a game plan tailored to what they do. We've scouted the last few games on them very well and we have a lot of confidence."

Fellow defensive back Spencer White added, "We're confident against anybody. We're a pretty confident bunch. We know that Boise State will be a big challenge, but we feel that we're up for it."

What is it that Boise State does that drives so many defensive coordinators bonkers?

Crowton offered this explanation: "They have good continuity in their coaching staff; they've been there a long time. They've had their system in place for a long time. They remind me a lot of Air Force in that way. They know what they're doing. They can bring in guys that they know will help them. Having that continuity and that stability is what is important. It takes some time, but once you get it going then you can do some good things," he said.

Burbidge was more specific in his evaluation, "They are a very high octane offense. They substitute players in and out frequently. They're always coming in with different personnel, which makes it tougher for us to call plays since we call those plays based on the guys they have in there. They also run a lot of different formations at you. They run 15-20 different formations with different personnel groups. I think that's where other teams struggle with them. They do things fast and they execute well."

While Burbidge is impressed with the system Boise State coach Dan Hawkins has in place, he has more confidence in Bronco Mendenhall and the defensive scheme they can throw at Boise State. "We know these guys. We know what they do. We have a lot of confidence in our system and in what we do. We're very confident going into this game. We know if we execute like we can that we can keep their offense in check."

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