Colton McKivitz Reflects on First Start, Details Preparation For Aggressive BYU Defense

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Coming off of his first start for West Virginia, left tackle Colton McKivitz discussed his initial impressions of BYU and the challenges that its aggressive defense poses.

Colton McKivitz became a household name to many West Virginia fans after coming in to replace Yodny Cajuste at left tackle in WVU's opening game against Missouri. In his first collegiate action, McKivitz dominated All-SEC defensive end Charles Harris, looking like a veteran instead of a redshirt freshman. Last week McKivitz made his first start in the gold and blue, and as head coach Dana Holgorsen put it, McKivitz looked more like a redshirt freshman. The ups and downs of young players is nothing new and shouldn't be alarming, and it gave McKivitz a valuable learning experience and a reference point going forward.

"My technique was kind of bad in the first half," McKivitz admitted. "Then after talking it over with Crook and Wickline we came out in the second half knowing that we were going to run the ball and do what we were supposed to do and that's what happened."

The Mountaineers can ill-afford to come out and perform the way they did against Youngstown State in the first half, as the Cougars have one of the better, if not the best, defenses that West Virginia will face in 2016. McKivitz discussed the Cougars stout defense and the challenges they will pose.

"They play hard all the time," McKivitz said in reference to BYU's defense. "Of course they're old, but they play hard, they're coached well and they're all good players."

The BYU defense has already faced three Pac 12 teams and is yet to allow more than 20 points in a contest. The unit differs from the previous two that the Mountaineers have faced in that they play an aggressive style of defense that aims to stop the run and disrupt the passing game with a myriad of blitzes. That makes the job for tackles McKivitz and Marcell Lazard even more important in Saturdays contest, as the Mountaineers offensive line looks to keep a zero in the sack column on the season. McKivitz knows it will be challenge to match up with the Cougars pass rush and run defense, but said the line is prepared for just about any look that is thrown at them on Saturday and is focused more so on itself than what the Cougars are doing defensively.

"They use a lot of stunts and slanting so it opens up gaps for their linebackers to make plays," Mckivits said."It just comes down to us doing what we're coached and following our technique and I think we can handle that."

In run blocking it will be imperative for the line to get a hat on a hat and know where Butch Pau'u is at all times. The sophomore middle linebacker registered 19 tackles in BYU's loss to UCLA and already has 37 through three games. For the third straight game it appears that the West Virginia offensive line will have its hands full with some tough competition, but if you ask McKivitz, they are up for the challenge.


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