On Saturday, October 10th, the BYU Cougars will play host to the East Carolina Pirates. This will be the first meeting between the two schools, and East Carolina's furthest trip West in years. East Carolina packs a potent offense, averaging 31.4 points per game. While they survived a close game with Towson in their first matchup, they dropped their next two games, including a seven point loss to the now 11th ranked Florida Gators—a loss which looks much better in hindsight. There's no doubt that this team will be a challenge to the Cougars, who will be looking to build off of a sloppy performance against the Huskies of Connecticut but a game that was never really out of BYU's control, despite the Cougars' propensity to turn the ball over in scoring opportunities, due to BYU's suffocating defense.
So, it is to defense that we turn for our breakout player of the week. I feel that a player that has a fairly good chance to click this game is sophomore Linebacker Fred Warner. Warner, a touted member of the 2014 recruit class, participated in 10 games as a true freshman, collecting 24 tackles and an interception along the way. While injury ended his promising freshman season, Warner has returned to the field as a sophomore with an opportunity to build upon his successes. He's played in every game this season, and has notched 17 solo tackles and four assists, for a total of 21 tackles. His best performance came in a nine tackle performance in BYU's Sept 12th 35-24 win over Boise State. He's disappeared a little bit since then, collecting only seven tackles over the next three games. Due to East Carolina's prolific offense, Warner will have to step up in both run support and pass coverage, as the Cougars' best chance to win this game on defense will be to force the Pirates to be one dimensional. If they can manage to do that, Warner should be able to use his speed in both pass rush and pass coverage to disrupt their passing attack and get the ball back to the offense.
Here's a nice video on Fred Warner's path to the Cougars.