Been There, Done That

During the off-season, Bronco Mendenhall gave up the 3-3-5 defense that he brought to Provo in 2003, but when the Cougars line up for their home opener against Tulsa this Saturday, there will still be plenty of 3-3-5 on the field. This time, however, it will be BYU's opponent lining up in the unconventional alignment.

"The system they run is very similar to what our defense used to do, but it's different in its own way in how they execute it," said BYU offensive lineman Eddie Keele regarding Tulsa's version of the 3-3-5. "It's a little more laid back in that they don't blitz from as many different places or as often as our defense did, but it's similar, and I think that's good for us."

The offensive line should have an easier time reading their keys against Tulsa after practicing against a similar scheme for the last three years. Although the coverage schemes Tulsa will present vary some bit, the blocking keys are relatively the same.

"When we put the defensive match ups on the board on Monday and talked about who and what we'd match up against it just came naturally having seen it so many times," said Keele. "I'm glad we're going against a defense we're so familiar with this week since we didn't do as good of a job as we should have last week and need to improve. We're confident against what they play defensively, and we're confident in what we do as well."


No two defensive systems mirror the other exactly and such is the case with the Tulsa 3-3-5 versus the now defunct Mendenhall version. The front that the offensive line will see coming at them may be similar to the BYU's old scheme, but the linebackers and defensive backs are not likely to be familiar to quarterback John Beck and his receivers.

"It's not super similar to what our defense used to do, but it is similar in some aspects," explained Beck. "They don't line up five across like our defense did. They don't drop down and use that coverage shell like ours did, but they do blitz a lot and they play a lot of man coverage."

The old BYU 3-3-5 system featured a Cougarback in the middle flanked by two KATs, who were often asked to blitz and do most things linebackers normally do. Tulsa employs a so-called Bandit with a traditional free and strong safety. While all three of the safeties in the old Cougar 3-3-5 system were asked to do a variety of different assignments, Tulsa's Bandit does most of the multi-taking.

"They have one or two safeties play a bit closer to the line than our old guys did," said receiver Zac Collie. "They don't use the shell where all of them line up straight across and then break different ways, but the safeties they play up are almost just like linebackers in how they play."

As mentioned Tulsa uses a lot of man-coverage which BYU rarely sees throughout the year because most defenses are hesitant to cover BYU in man coverage. When the Cougars last faced a mostly man-coverage system they put 517 yards on TCU.

"We don't see a lot of man coverage here." said Collie. "Being a receiver you want to go against man coverage and we should be licking our chops as receivers if they do go as much man coverage as they do on film. Hopefully we can come out and have a big game."

"Obviously when you play that system you have a lot of confidence in your cornerbacks and what they can do one-on-one," said Beck. "They're very good in coverage and they'll be a challenge, but I like the challenge and I like our guys going up against them man-on-man."


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