Each week of the football season, Bevo Beat will interview a reporter who covers Texas’ upcoming opponent. Jared Lloyd, BYU beat writer for the Daily Herald in Provo, answered five questions about the Cougars. Both teams are coming off of dominant wins in their season opener. Kick off is 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Royal-Memorial Stadium.
Q: What did BYU’s 40-21 thumping of Texas last year do for the Cougars’ program?
A: The main thing that is did was establish this BYU football team as one that can play with anyone on a given day. The Cougars were far from perfect for the rest of the season. While the win was probably the hallmark of a somewhat-disappointing year in Provo overall, on that one September day, BYU came out a played a really good game in all aspects. The Cougars’ dream of returning to the national stage and wins like that are a must for that to become a reality.
Q: Texas coach Charlie Strong said on Monday that BYU quarterback Taysom Hill is a Heisman Trophy contender. Does the nation think highly enough of Hill and BYU that he could join Ty Detmer (1990) as a Heisman winner?
A: I think the answer is not this year, because there are too many big-name quarterbacks in front of him and he has too few opportunities to make the big statements to leapfrog the Jameis Winstons, Marcus Mariotas, Bryce Pettys, etc. But this is the type of year that could be a springboard to a Heisman campaign in 2015, when the Cougars play games against Michigan, Nebraska and UCLA.
Q: What did you learn about BYU in its 25-point rout over Connecticut on Saturday?
A: My main takeaway from the win over the overmatched Huskies was that the Cougars could face adversity and overcome it. In the past few years, BYU too often has crumbled when the chips started going against them. Despite having five potential starters suspended and a boat-load of penalties, the Cougars took care of business and won comfortably.
Q: How will the return of running back Jamaal Williams (suspended for the opener) impact the offense?
A: BYU has capable running backs behind Williams and they showed that they were serviceable at UConn, but none of them have his burst or explosiveness. Williams is the type of guy who can hit the hole, make a cut and be sprinting away from defenders. No doubt the Cougars will look to get him the ball both on the ground and through the air so he can make things happen.
Q: The SEC and the ACC have said they do not count BYU as a Big Five opponent. Is it in BYU’s best interest to join a conference, or can the Cougars continue to thrive as an independent?
A: I think the answer to this question is far from being determined for a couple of reasons. First, we are just beginning to see the tremors that will be the shakeup created by the College Football Playoff. I expect a number of changes to be coming in the next few years as teams and conferences jockey for position, so that could open some doors for BYU. Second, the Cougars haven’t really made a statement on the national scene since beating Oklahoma in Dallas in 2009. That means that it’s easy for BYU to be overlooked right now but if the Cougars start winning and pushing the top 10, suddenly independence looks more viable. Right now, I think the Cougars are content to wait and see what happens unless the perfect opportunity (like possible Big 12 inclusion) arose.
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