Oct 122005
Authors: Nick Piburn

If there is ever a team known for having a pass first offense, other than any team Steve Spurrier coaches, it's BYU. In the '80s the Cougars were a national power behind the arms of quarterbacks Steve Young and Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer.

The Cougars aren't quite that talented at the quarterback position this season, but the number of times they go to the air is reminiscent of 20 years ago.

This year's man taking the snaps is junior John Beck. Beck is atop the Mountain West Conference, fifth in the nation in passing yards with 1,734. Beck also leads the nation in completions with 156, and is second in attempts with 244. Beck has also passed for 11 touchdowns, but added seven interceptions.

"He's good but he forces the ball a lot," said CSU junior cornerback Robert Herbert. "He tries to make every throw and if he does that, I'll jump him."

The Cougars have been a predominately pass first team this year, but Head Coach Sonny Lubick knows there's more to their attack than that.

"I think we went into this game last year and they were averaging about 50 yards per game and they rushed for about 200 against us," Lubick said. "They were running the ball twenty times and passing it sixty (before last week), and last week was a touch more balanced."

Other than what the Cougars did to the Rams last year, another reason for Lubick's worry is the abilities of their runners. BYU junior running back Curtis Brown is tied for third in the MWC with 4.8 yards per carry.

Besides Brown's potential to get more carries this week, he also has to be contained in the passing game. Brown leads the cougars with 29 receptions and is fifth in the MWC in averaging 114.6 total yards per game.

Whether the Cougars run more against the Rams is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure – their short passing game will be featured.

"I think they're going to run a little, but they pass a lot," Herbert said. "They stack three guys in your zone and run short routes with them. Our coaches told us if they're going to do that then we need to jack 'em. So I'm going to jack 'em."

While the offense is unlike most, the defense may be even more awkward. BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall brought his defense scheme from New Mexico, a five-man line with only three defensive backs, and brought it to Cougar country in 2004. He was hired as head coach in the end of 2004, replacing Gary Crowton.

Mendenhall's defense uses a lot of schemes and counts on their cornerbacks to shut down receivers. The Cougar's also only have one safety, which translates into their linebackers having to cover more than most.

"They depend a lot on their two corners to go one on one with receiver. Last week Utah tried to double cover Dave (Anderson) but that didn't even work" said sophomore h-back Kory Sperry. "When I think about going against linebackers it's exciting, but I still have to go out and do my job."

Most Ram fans get excited when Sperry is matched up with linebackers. Look for the Cougars to scheme something to stop the Ram passing game, if they don't, their one-on-one coverage might get burned.

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