It’s here and I can’t believe it! It’s gameday on the Palouse and 8 months of anticipation has come down to tonight in Provo to begin a whole new era of Cougar football! That I can remember, there’s never been a year of anticipation like this around here. It’s cautious, yes, but it’s anticipation like never before. Let me phrase it this way: If the Wulff regime were still in town you can’t tell me that Eastern Washington would be sold out, you just can’t. In fact I haven’t seen a Division 2 opponent come close to selling out since … ever. It of course doesn’t hurt that our facilities are now 1/2 way to being top notch (with the Football facility still on the way), but the excitement surrounding the team far outweighs that of the stadium. Maybe that’s just cause we’re not playing in it this week though…
But let’s get to the game. Caleb did our Trend notes yesterday, setting up our keys to the game for this contest. Now I’m gonna just give you 3 matchups I really like as I look into this game tonight and some links to get you pumped up as we wind down to kickoff. Remember we’re trying to snap the 5 game opening day win streak for Brigham Young.
1: Front 7 vs the BYU O-line – Sounds stupid I know, since our defensive front 7 doesn’t match up particularly well with any O-line in the strength department this season and BYU is such a power team. But the Blue Cougars are planning on rotating offensive linemen for at least a little while it sounds like, and while that’s going on I like our Crimson Cougars to at least attempt to storm the castle and get after Riley Nelson.
2: Matchup: WSU receivers on the BYU secondary – If anybody saw Utah roll over BYU in last years “Holy War”, you’ll like this too. If there’s one thing BYU struggles with defensively, it’s big plays. WSU lived on big plays last season and there’s no reason to think that they won’t come up with some really big ones in this game. The premier matchup here is Junior Marquess Wilson, standing at 6’4 vs redshirt sophomore Jordan Johnson, who stands at 5’10. Johnson is considered the best athlete in the BYU secondary, but Wilson is a veteran with gamebreaker potential on every snap and Johnson hasn’t really played any football against a big receiver yet. Advantage Washington State.
3: Mike Leach vs Bronco Mendenhall – Ok not sure if there’s any advantage here but a coach who’s been on a tear with his program over the last several years vs the wizard who is new at his. These two coaches are masters of their craft and they “coach and approach” in very different ways, so you just have to love the matchup. One or two play calls could decide this game and the fact that these guys take such a role in play calling makes this even more intriguing.
Here’s some interesting thoughts from BYU Coach Bronco Mendenhall about our Cougs. And if you’re looking for even more gameday links to get ready for Cougar football, this article’s off WSUfootballblog.com giving us some “gameweek thoughts and overreactions“. CougCenter also has this nice piece on “embracing the unknown” for BYU and this season.
Let’s get it on!