5 To Watch: BYU Offense

Brandon Gurney of the Salt Lake City Deseret News offers five key offensive players to watch for BYU when the Irish host the Cougars Saturday in South Bend.

#13 -- QB Riley Nelson: Nelson is BYU's senior starter at quarterback and isn't your typical BYU quarterback. He lacks arm strength, size and isn't particularly fast or quick, but he's someone who has Coach Bronco Mendenhall's complete confidence despite all of his deficiencies. He's a big-time competitor who has played well above his natural ability throughout his career and is well-respected by his teammates.

Nelson has battled through back injuries for most of the year, but appeared to be fully recovered last week against Oregon State. He still struggled in the game, however, throwing three interceptions. He's sort of a feast or famine type player, but trends toward famine against stellar defenses such as what he'll face against Notre Dame.

#2 -- WR Cody Hoffman: Hoffman is easily BYU's best play-maker on offense. He has good size (6-4) and is fast enough down the field to cause opposing defenses a lot of problems. He's built a very strong connection with Nelson and is the player Nelson looks for when the play breaks down.

Hoffman wasn't recruited by anyone out of High School, but has proven to be the best receiver BYU's had since Austin Collie. He already has 41 receptions on the year for 534 yards.

#21 -- RB Jamaal Williams: Williams is a true freshman who was thrust into the starting role due to a season-ending injury to Michael Alisa. He's a very talented player who has decent size (6-0, 200) and knows how to run north and south.

Williams has rushed for 350 yards on 65 carries after seeing limited playing time for the first two games of the year.

#1 -- WR Ross Apo: Apo has been somewhat of an enigma since he signed with BYU. He was a four-star recruit who had offers from almost every Big12 program out of high school, including Oklahoma and Texas. He's struggled to reach his potential, however, due to a string of minor injuries among other factors.

Nelson primarily looks to Hoffman to make plays, but has looked Apo's way more often here of late. Apo has tremendous size (6-4) and legtimate sub 4.5 speed that makes him a consistent threat to get behind the coverage and make big plays.

#82 -- TE Kaneakua Friel: BYU has a rich tight end tradition, but has struggled to field a truly great tight end since Dennis Pitta graduated in 2009. Friel is the starting tight end and had a very promising start to the season, but has gone somewhat quite here of late.

He has 23 receptions for 266 yards on the year which is second on the team, but is coming off his worst performance of the year last week -- dropping three passes thrown his way. He looks to recover against a tough Notre Dame defense.

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