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BYU vs Connecticut Preview: Breakout Players

This week is the return of BYU football and Vanquish the Foe wants to help you identify key players to watch this Friday night. Make sure you check back weekly for updated articles about breakout players on both sides of the ball.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This Friday night is the return of BYU football. We don't get the satisfaction of watching them play in beloved Lavell Edwards Stadium but we do get to watch them from the comfort of our home. Unless you are one of the lucky ones who are watching the game at Rentschler Field. Vanquish the Foe would like to give you a couple of names and players to watch for during the game. Check in weekly while we update these from week to week including new perspectives and views on the game.

Let's start off with the Connecticut Huskies and some of the players and positions to watch.

Alex Mateas, Center- UCONN struggled a lot last season pounding the rock and moving the ball on the ground. Last year they averaged 84.4 yards rushing a game. The Cougars averaged nearly 200 yards more rushing a game than the Huskies. All but one player is new to the offensive line from last season. However, this does not mean that he is an anchor on the offensive line and the leader of the group, and may possibly lose his job. So watch for him to earn his stripes and get a good jump on the line and help the Huskies move the ball.

Casey Cochran, QB - We have all been hearing interesting stories about this quarterback this past week. Other than not knowing much about BYU football and thinking they were in a tough conference, he is also owner of a great mullet that we will all see tonight.

He did not start out as the starter last year but finished the season surprisingly strong. UCONN closed the season on a three game winning streak. On those last three games he threw for 7 touchdowns and only one interception. He is a fairly accurate passer and has a 63.4% completion throughout 8 games.

Reuben Frank, DE - Frank will be able to serve as the hybrid edge player who will switch between a standing outside linebacker in a 3-4 and a down-in-the-dirt defensive end as part of 4-3 packages. He will have a big responsibility of keeping Taysom Hill and the running game in check.

Now lets focus on the BYU side of things and the players that we should focus on and look forward to seeing trot out on the field.

Taysom Hill, QB - This one is a little bit obvious but the one we have been all waiting for. After watching him tear defenses apart with his legs, and improve his accuracy over the years we are all excited to see what he can do for his junior season. This could end up being a fun game to watch Taysom shake off the rust and get back into the groove of things. The Huskies defense averaged over 30 points on defense so we might see some high scoring offense from Hill Friday night.

Devin Mahina, TE - Mahina has not been given the opportunity to play the role of a pass catching tight end, despite his size that could make for a good target. This is Mahinas' senior season and he will play a big role in run blocking for Taysom and the BYU running game. We have heard a lot about the offensive line improving this off season but if BYU wants to run the ball on the outside, then we are going to need to see Mahina block the ends and crashing linebackers. Look for him to continue to grow in the pass blocking as well to give Hill some more time to throw the ball.

Bronson Kaufusi, LB - This should be an exciting time for the Cougars defense as Kaufusi will be taking more of a linebacker position compared to last year on the line. He has the speed and anticipation for fly off the snap and cause some havoc in the backfield. Look for him to play on the line as well from time to time depending on the package that BYU will be playing. If anyone remembers his short basketball stunt we all know that he is good at getting his arms up and swatting balls away. This should be a highly productive game for Kaufusi while he settles into his new position.