BYU’s biggest season opener is almost here, and the excitement all along the Wasatch front is palpable. This is the first time ever we start the season with the Holy War, and before the game has even been played it’s widely agreed it should be like this every year. In order to learn more about the Utes football team, we called a quick truce with Block U to get some answers to 5 of our big questions as we prepare for the 2019 Holy War.
Utah opens the season ranked #14 in the Preseason Top 25. How does that ranking reflect the feelings and expectations of the program? Do you feel it is an accurate ranking?
The ranking seems fair considering the expectations to win at least the South division. The PAC-12 media picked the Utes to win the conference, however I think the national perception is either Oregon or Washington will take it, hence Utah falling just outside the top 10.
There were reports that Zack Moss injured his hand in practice this summer. He says he is ready to go, but no one has explicitly denied the existence of a hand injury. Do you expect him to be 100%? If not, who is the X-Factor on offense?
Zack’s hand has been a bit of a mystery. It’s clearly been injured, but the extent of that injury is unclear. I’d estimate he’s no worse than 80%, but I expect to see a healthy rotation of Devontae Henry-Cole and a mix of Jordan Wilmore/TJ Green/Devin Brumfield in at running back as well. If Moss isn’t the biggest offensive threat on the field, keep an eye the tight ends, Cole Fotheringham and Brant Kuithe, to really be a threat down field.
Which positional group on defense do you believe is the best, and how do you expect them to match up against their BYU counterparts? (ie. DL-OL, LBs-RBs & TEs, DBs-WR
It’s hard not to love the secondary this season. Jaylon Johnson and Julian Blackmon are proven commodities and NFL-ready talent. It’ll be exciting to see how well they match-up against BYU’s receivers.
Is there a position group on either offense or defense that you feel BYU has the advantage? Why or why not?
I don’t think it’s any secret that BYU has a really formidable offensive line. Bradlee Anae (and the rest of Utah’s defensive front) is plenty talented, but it’s week one and a rivalry game, making this matchup a little worrisome for me.
In your eyes, what is the one thing that Utah HAS to do in order to beat BYU? And vice versa, what is the one thing you think BYU HAS to do in order to put themselves in a position to win?
The key for BOTH teams is limiting turnovers. Lets not pretend that this has historically always been a close game. It doesn’t matter which team may be better on paper, this game just plays differently than any other. Keeping turnovers and mental mistakes to a minimum is going to be crucial.