Boston College will feature a defensive scheme similar to that run by Arizona. The defense is anchored by three talented linebackers in junior Tyronne Pruitt, making his fourth start, Jolonn Dunbar, who blocked a Clemson extra point that led to their one point win in over time, and Brian Toal, who might miss the BYU game due to injury.
"They have a similar defense to Arizona's so we're familiar with it," said Jake Kuresa. "Obviously we're not very pleased with how we did against Arizona, and I assume that because our running game was kind of shut down against Arizona that they're going to show us a similar scheme because they have similar personnel on their defense. I'm sure they're going to show us the same type of things."
"I think the heart of the team is their linebackers," said power tailback Fui Vakapuna. "We'll be going up mostly against them and see what they give us and we'll give them what we've got. They have good linebackers. They are well disciplined, and with a well disciplined team you have to execute well to get around that to find a weakness in what they give us."
BYU's offensive line checks in at an average of 6-foot-4 and 316.8 pounds. In comparison, Boston College's defensive averages just over 6-foot-3 and 302.5 pounds. That gives BYU a 14.3-pound per man average.
"Yeah, they've got big guys up front, huge," said Kuresa. "I think [one tackle] is around 340, and he's big. Number 60 is big and number 90 is big and when you're going against someone that heavy, you got to do things a bit different. You gotta get a little lower to get better balance for leverage. Sometimes you think you can let your side to side stuff fall back a little bit because they're so big, but I don't think that's the case with these guys because they can move well. They're coached well and they use their hands well, but we're coached well, and I think it will be evenly matched up front as far as them being good and us being good. It will come down to who has prepared better, who wants to be physical the longest and who is going to give in first."
BYU's offense will have to be physical up front in order to beat Boston College's front seven. The Cougars hope to learn from their frustrating experience at Arizona and not make the same mistakes twice.
"I think they're strength is their front seven," said Kuresa. "That's just kind of how their scheme is and that's how it was last year, but they do a few unique things with their blitz packages that we've been studying and getting used to. I think overall we were mentally unprepared to play against Arizona, and I think mentally we'll be prepared to play against Boston College.
"The difference is we didn't really apply it fast enough against Arizona. It was kind of overwhelming because it was the first time for some of us playing together as a group, and that first game is always a learning curve. Now weather it takes the first play to figure out how it's done, the first quarter, the first half or what ever there is always a learning curve, and I think it took us two and a half quarters to figure it out against Arizona which is a lot longer than I expected. I think the difference between now and then is now we have it figured out."
After two games, Boston College is averaging 2.8 yards per rush and 97.5 yards on the ground per game. After keeping both Arizona and Tulsa to under a 100 yards rushing, BYU's defense looks to go three for three against the Eagles. Boston College has only totaled 195 yards in two games, but despite the low rushing totals, BYU's defenders believe the Eagles will seek to establish the run.
"You know they want to run the ball," said BYU linebacker Cameron Jensen. "They pull the guards a lot, and they have an experienced O-line. They have lost quite a few from that good O-line they had last year, but they've got a few coming back. They want to wear you down, and that's their whole philosophy so come the fourth quarter they can control the game.
"Their running backs aren't real shifty guys. They're more straight up and down the field type backs. They've also passed the ball more this year than they did last year, but they were also behind in both their games."
Inside linebacker Aaron Wagner also believes Boston College will try to run the ball early, but Wagner and his teammates intend to force the Eagles to throw.
"Obviously when looking at them on film, they like to throw the ball a lot, but that was because they started their season getting behind in both of their games," said Wagner. "They've been kind of forced to air it out a little bit, but with the big O-line that they have just like last year, I don't expect them to come out and just throw the ball against us. I think their O-line is big, and they're still good, so I think they're going to try and test us by running the ball against us. I think they'll soon realize like everybody else has that they won't get very far against us with our front seven, so they'll air it out again just like they've done the last two games they've played in."
BYU's defensive line comes in with averaging 6-foot-2 and 271.3 pounds per person, while Boston College's offensive line averages 6-foot-5 and 306.2 pounds. Surely the Eagles count on their 34.9-pound advantage to run the ball right over the Cougars. Whether Boston College favors the run or the pass, BYU expects to be prepared.
"We've been working on our pass coverage and being really disciplined in our pass crossing and drive routs and things like that," said Robinson. "We'll be good and we're really prepared for them that's for sure. They've lost that stud receiver Will Blackmon who went into the league from last year. He was a corner, receiver and punt return guy. I don't know to much about their personnel, but I do know they have a new find in a freshman, number six [Jeff Smith]. He got a lot of return yards, and they're going to stick him in the game and try to get the ball to him when he comes in, so we'll have to keep our eyes open for him. I'm not too worried though, we're a better team."
"They'll have the same game plan as everybody else," said Cameron Jensen. "They'll come out and test the run and that won't work, so then they'll turn to play action and get desperate and then start throwing the ball."
If Boston College gets down early and BYU does stuff starting running back, the Cougar secondary will be forced to keep ACC leading passer Matt Ryan (267.5 ypg.) in check.
"They're receivers are all quick," said Robinson. "However, they're not the 6-6 type guys and are more my height. I think their tallest receiver is around six-foot but they're all fast, so that will be a good challenge, because they're all speedy."
After facing speedy Tulsa and Arizona receivers, Robinson is confident his secondary will perform well against Boston College.
"I expect every game to do well," Robinson said. "I've had confidence in my abilities all year and the confidence of this defense has been high all year. Everyone has been pretty happy with the way we've been performing, and we expect to continue playing at a high level throughout the year."
"It's going to be a physical game," said Kuresa. "I think we know what we're doing and we need to in order to play against a ranked team like that, so we're going to give them a good game. They know we are because it's our chance to make a statement."
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