Looking at BYU’s opposing quarterbacks


Last season BYU faced some of its toughest opposing quarterbacks since four of the 13 were drafted by the 36th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Those quarterbacks taken early in the pro draft included Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton.

This season, BYU won’t face as seemingly daunting of a quarterback gauntlet. In the first two weeks, the Cougars will face a pair of teams whose QB competitions ran far into fall camp before Ole Miss’ Barry Brunetti and Texas’ Garrett Gilbert won the right to start for their respective teams in Week 1. Not until the third week of the season will BYU face an established signal-caller — Utah’s Jordan Wynn. Incidentally, Wynn went through surgery in the off-season and was unable to throw in spring practice.

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Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn runs the ball during NCAA college football practice Friday, Aug. 12, 2011, in Salt Lake City.

After that the Cougars will face a quarterback who was recently arrested for driving with a suspended license. BYU will also face two teams that recently lost quarterbacks who started four straight years.

The Cougars’ biggest challenge from an opposing quarterback will likely come from Hawaii’s Bryant Moniz, who led the NCAA last year in total offense (367.29 yards per game) and passed for 5,040 yards and 39 touchdowns, both tops in the country. But BYU won’t face Moniz and the Warriors until the final week of the regular season, a stark contrast to 2010 when most of the toughest quarterbacks the Cougars faced came early in the year.

Although BYU will be facing many teams with uncertainty at quarterback, the Cougars won’t take them lightly.

“Every Division I quarterback is pretty good to me,” said sophomore linebacker Kyle Van Noy. “It’s hard to get a scholarship these days with so many athletes around the country. We’re not looking at any team lightly at quarterback. Some are better than others, some have flaws and we’re going to try to expose them.”

This year’s defense could be one of the most talented in a long time, and with a crop of unproven quarterbacks at other schools, it could spell trouble for opponents.

“When you stop and look at it, a new quarterback is a tough thing for a college team,” said junior linebacker Brandon Ogletree. “You saw that with us last year. Having a veteran quarterback is huge; you never know what can happen with a young quarterback and coach [Bronco] Mendenhall is going to mix it up on them and make them make the tough decisions.”

Although the Cougars will face teams with relatively weak quarterbacks, BYU will face some talented offensive lines. The offensive line at Ole Miss was recently rated No. 15 in the country by Athlon Sports. Look for the Cougars to put pressure on opposing offenses to force the quarterback to make tough choices, especially early in the season against the Rebels and Texas.

While the BYU defense will have an experiential edge against some of the young quarterbacks it will face, the players are aware there may be some disadvantages to new quarterbacks.

“We approach every game the same, no matter who the quarterback is,” senior linebacker Jordan Pendleton said. “Having a new quarterback is kind of a disadvantage to us because we don’t know what they’re capable of and we can’t go off previous film.”

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