It’ll be a top-20 matchup between BYU Football and the University of Washington Saturday evening. We teamed up with UW Dawg Pound to get some answers about the opponent, from the opponent. Thanks to John Sayler for answering our questions.
VTF: How is your offensive line doing without All-American Left Tackle Trey Adams?
DP: The Washington offensive line has been the same for the past three seasons: Good, but inconsistent. That sums up Adams as well. Trey has great feet, so UW has missed his ability to pass protect and get downfield to block. But some of the guys they have been playing at left tackle in this absence are probably stronger. Jared Hilbers has been Adams primary replacement and is one of the strongest players on the Husky team. There is big potential in some of the up-and-coming lineman like RG Jaxson Kirkland and LG Luke Wattenberg. Overall, this unit can really play well at times, but there have assignment mix-ups far too often.
VTF: Jake Locker or Jake Browning? Haha, just kidding, but seriously. Let’s talk about Jake Browning. Do you feel that he’s regressing or lackluster in any regard? He and Tanner Magnum have a lot of similarities here, in the eyes of some fans, whether or not it’s deserved.
DP: I think he’s extremely lackluster in interviews. Besides that, he’s one of the main reasons UW has been so good the past few seasons. No different this year, just a few blunders, one of the near-colossal variety against Utah that will require a few more good games in a row to put out of memory. Efficiency is not satisfying to a lot of fans unless it comes with a championship. Jake Browning is as efficient as they come, but has only the one Pac-12 Championship. He did that as a sophomore, so the expectation was that he would win another... and another.
The longer a QB plays for a team, the more the criticism rolls in. If Browning has regressed, it’s because the offense as a whole has regressed from 2016 when they averaged over 40 points per game.
VTF: I have to ask about 1984. Any hard feelings? Air it out.
DP: It’s a shame that back in 1984 the National Champion was not crowned by winning a championship game.
I’m sure it would have been a great one.
VTF: Your secondary is unbelievable. One of the best in the country in allowing fewest yards per game and only allowing ONE passing TD (that stat blows my mind). Who in your secondary do you see having the best NFL career?
DP: This secondary is really tough to pass against. Not only are the players good, but they play six or even seven DBs regularly. The top NFL prospects are safety Taylor Rapp and cornerback Byron Murphy. I tend to vacillate between the two as far as who will be the better pro, but right now I am thinking Murphy just based on his athleticism. Everyone back there can hit (and will hit), including 5’8” nickel Myles Bryant. Jojo McIntosh is the enforcer at strong safety, and Jordan Miller is a really good coverage corner on the opposite side from Murphy. There is depth back there as well, so you will see about 8-9 guys rotate through in the secondary.
VTF: We run a lot of the fly sweep. Have your DBs played a lot of man to man, and do you think they’ll be coming up to defend our unique offense?
DP: They have seen the fly sweep. Ask Britain Covey’s chiropractor how his patient enjoyed running it against Washington two weeks ago.
But the thing is, if the play is blocked well and the runner makes the right move, it will work. That is kind of the case for any play though.
UW plays tons of man, and also plays zone on top of that so there is lots of double coverage. They use a six man front, and any of the 18-20 guys in the defensive rotation can be in that front. Linemen also drop and play coverage. As unique as BYU’s offense is, Washington matches them with some interesting looks of their own.
VTF: How do you see this game ending up? General feelings, or a score prediction if you’re so inclined.
DP: BYU is kind of a wildcard. We’re not sure what to expect, but I assume UW will play its six-man front, tempt BYU to run the ball over and over, and try to force some turnovers. With the Huskies, if the running game and Myles Gaskin get going, that’s when they put teams away. Browning will loosen up the defense with some long throws and play action, and UW will try to wear the Cougars down.
I think BYU comes to play, and it’ll be a good game. But in the end, the Dawgs are too much.