(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
The following comments are from head coach Bronco Mendenhall's Monday post-practice press briefing; including comments from sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill and senior defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall:
I’m looking forward to another great in-state matchup this week. I think that Utah State is playing really well and doing a nice job. A similar opponent in the University of Utah and both games were really close so I think if you looked at what the matchup looks like, it should be an exciting game. I think our team made some progress in some areas against Middle Tennessee. I thought we protected our quarterback and threw the ball better. I actually thought our special teams played better; we had some ball security issues, which would be the main negative of the game. But I still thought it was progress and I am looking forward improving and playing a game again.
Are you expecting Jamaal Williams to play this week?
Yes we are. Jamaal practiced today which was really positive.
Is the rivalry with Utah State on the same level as the Utah vs. BYU rivalry?
It’s a different kind of rivalry. I’m not saying it’s better or worse, I just think it’s different and I think it should be. Different teams, a little bit more distance, but still a great game and it has been the past number of years.
Do you expect Tyler Beck to play this weekend?
I do. He didn’t practice today and I’m not sure he’ll go tomorrow but possibly he’ll practice the next day. We did move Manoa Pikula back to inside linebacker as contingency.
Where does Chucky Keaton put a lot of pressure on the defense?
I think more than anything his mobility. He’s really hard to get on the ground and he can extend plays for a long time. If your coverage happens to hold, then he’s a scramble threat. I’m not sure how many times we’ve played against him but I feel like he has been there a long time.
What are the strengths of Utah State’s offense?
They have a lot of diversity, a lot of different types of plays and a lot of perimeter plays. They also have some unique and challenging concentration type plays. In the blue zone they have some gadgets that they use. It’s not a surprise that they’re scoring quite a few points, we just really have to concentrate well out on the field.
Sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill:
How was practice today?
It was a spirited day of practice but we were really focused. We know that we have a tough game this weekend. Logan is not an easy place to play, we were focused and we need to go get a win and that was our mentality today. I think we were a little sluggish having Saturday and Sunday off but for the most part, I thought it was a good practice.
What have you seen so far defensively about Utah State?
We’re pretty familiar with Utah State because a lot of what they do is what our defense does and we feel pretty comfortable in that regard. The thing that Utah State is good at is disguising their coverage and mixing it up. We’ll see a lot of odd and even fronts and a lot of different coverages.
Senior defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna:
What’s the goal of the offense to keep Keaton under control?
Our goal as the front seven is to contain him, especially the d-line. We’re working hard this week to keep him inside the pocket and if he needs to run, to make him run up the middle where we have guys. He’s very dangerous.
Is he one of the best quarterbacks you’ll face all season?
As of right now he is probably one of the best quarterbacks we will face this season. He’s a great athlete and he’s one of the better ones in the nation. He’s got the speed, the experience, he can pass and he’s growing and becoming a better quarterback each game.