Scouting Report: Wyoming Defense

The Wyoming Cowboys will face the daunting task of slowing down BYU's high-powered offense. BYU will face a Cowboy defense that has only allowed one individual opponent to rush for 100 yards in their last 17 games.

The Cowboys have faced some tough running backs, and have won those battles. Against Virginia, the Cowboys held Cedric Peerman to only 18 yards, and against Boise State, they held Ian Johnson, ranked 29th in the country with 104.5 yards per game, to 83 yards. Ohio running back Kalvin McRay, who is currently ranked 12th in the country with 120.18 yards per game, was held to only 56 total rushing yards.

So who better to talk about the upcoming match-up against a tough Cowboy run defense than BYU star freshman Harvey Unga?

"They have some good linebackers on their defense," said Unga. "They have some guys that do things well at their position. They flow to the ball well and they play physical."

Unga gave some comparison's of Wyoming's linebackers to those of other teams that BYU has already faced.

"Watching Wyoming on film, I get the feeling they're a big, physical team," said Unga. "They're not big like Arizona's linebackers. They're more like New Mexico's linebackers, and they play hard and physical like New Mexico, except there are four of them instead of three."

However, the Wyoming defense isn't quite as complex as New Mexico's, which runs multiple defensive formations out of the 3-3-5. Instead, Wyoming runs a 3-4-4 defense.

"[The Cowboys] don't do any crazy blitzes like New Mexico or anything like that," said Unga. "They are a zone-blitz team though, and blitz based on what we are doing. It does help us out a little bit since we practice against that with our defense, but they do throw in some different things here and there. They like to blitz their corners, which is something we'll have to watch for. We've had the tendency to forget about those things from time to time in the past, but we've been working on that a lot in trying to pick up those types of blitzes."

Although Wyoming may have a few standout players defensively, the strength of the Cowboy defense is their ability to play as a whole within the 3-4-4 defensive scheme. The Cowboy defense will face an uphill battle with a BYU offense in possession of talent and great execution, and with an eye focused on winning the Mountain West Conference outright.

"The strength of the Wyoming defense is how well they are able to play collectively," Unga said. "They play well as a team and flow to the ball well. Sometimes that is enough to beat you because when you play together as a team, you're stronger as a whole."

One standout player manning the middle of Wyoming's defense is 6-foot, 230-pound junior Ward Dobbs. Dobbs was honored as a Second-Team All-MWC linebacker as a sophomore last year with 69 tackles. He was named a Co-Defensive Player of the Week in the Cowboy victory over Utah in 2006.

Another standout player is senior cornerback Julius Stinson, who was named an honorable mention All-MWC player as a junior.

Wyoming just came off a disappointing 50-0 loss to Utah last week, but the Cougars have the mentality that the score is in no way indicative of an automatic win. The Cougars know the Cowboy defense has nothing to lose and will play this game with full intensity, knowing they have a chance to knock off the current MWC leader.

"I believe they're a better team than what the scored showed last week," Unga said. "Football has been kind of crazy this year and there are so many different things, a lot of unexpected things, that have happened in football this year. You can never take any team too lightly, and I think it would be a mistake to base this Wyoming team off of their game from last week. We're going to go in there with the focus and mentality that we need to in there with. We have to be prepared and ready for Wyoming because we know their defense will practice and prepare to be ready for us."

Unga's Keys To Victory

Unga gives his three keys for BYU's offense to achieve success at War Memorial Stadium this weekend.

"My first key would be to start out fast," said Unga. "I think we need to start of quickly to get into a rhythm and put pressure on them early. Second, I would say we need to be successful with converting on third downs. The third key I would say is we need to be successful in running the ball and do it a lot."

Max Hall Report

BYU quarterback Max Hall gives BYU fans his personal scouting report on Wyoming and talks about the importance of winning this game.


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