Jamaal Williams isn't necessarily under the radar, but he will have a breakout game against the Cavaliers on Saturday. Under Anae's new offensive scheme, which will likely laud 80-90 plays, Jamaal will definitely get his chance to showcase the run on Saturday.
Typically up-tempo offenses lean towards the run. Oregon, the benchmark for the up-tempo, no-huddle offenses was third in the country last year in rushing yards averaging 315 yards per game. Kenjon Barner, the lead back for the Ducks averaged 136 yards a game, 6.4 yards per carry. Oregon ranked 73rd in the country in passing yards per game with 222, and finished the season 12-1, their sole loss coming in OT to the hands of Stanford.
BYU will run as many plays as Oregon per game. BYU will be running a no-huddle, up-tempo scheme similar to Oregon. Is it impossible for BYU to average 315 rushing yards per game? Probably, but that's why Oregon is the benchmark. A more realistic comparison might be Arizona.
Arizona's offense, where Anae took his two year intermission from BYU, where he was the Offensive Line Coach and the Running Game Coordinator, finished 15th in the country last year in rushing yards averaging 228 yards per contest. Ka'Deem Carey, the lead back for the Wildcats averaged the nation's best 148 yards per game. Arizona ranked 23rd in the country in passing with 298 yards per game, and finished the season 8-5, beating Nevada in their bowl game.
The rushing game thrives more in the up-tempo offense than the pass. Look for BYU to do the same, especially with the athletic Taysom Hill who may be one of the best runners on the team.
What does this mean for Jamaal? This means he'll get plenty of carries. Jamaal is the lead back in BYU's version of the up-tempo offense. Arizona might be the most likely comparison to BYU's new offense, considering Anae just came from there, he never ran the up-tempo before Arizona, but he does now.
Should we expect Jamaal to have a season like Ka'Deem Carey did last year, averaging nearly 150 yards a game? That might be a little steep, but with how many plays BYU will be running, it's not completely off the wall to see Jamaal average near 100 yards per contest.
BYU's offensive line has a lot to do with how well Jamaal does, but with Coach Tujague and Anae putting extra emphasis on the position, comparing Tujague to Roger French as far as how hard he pushes the O-line, BYU should be in for a good/great season rushing.
This is why I expect Jamaal Williams to not only have a breakout season, but breakout game against Virginia.
Jamaal Williams didn't get starter's carries until the 5th game of the season against Hawaii last year. But since then, he's been considered the lead back, and the future of BYU.
Jamaal finished the season with 775 yards, 12 touchdowns, with three games with 100+ yards, and seven games of 1 or more TD's. Jamaal carried the ball 166 times. Arizona's Carey had 303 carries, nearly double Jamaal. If Jamaal carried the ball 303 times this season at his average of 4.7 yards per carry, he'd finish the season with 1,424 yards at seasons end with above 20 TD's. He'd likely be a Doak Walker award finalist or winner with numbers like that.
To say the future is bright for Jamaal Williams is an understatement.
He will have a breakout game against Virginia. You can mark my words. But not only against Virginia, but the whole season. If he stays healthy, and stays all four years, Jamaal will go down as one of the best running backs of all-time at BYU. Statistically, and visually.
Run Jamaal, Run.