1. Will they really rotate the centers?
Offensive line coach Mark Weber has given every indication that he’s strongly considering rotating centers Blair Tushaus and Houston Reynolds come gametime. As if to emphasize this consideration, both were listed as potential starters on the two-deep roster.
If Weber chooses to rotate the centers there remains the question of ball-security. The team has expressed confidence that a center rotation will not disrupt how effectively Riley Nelson receives the ball under center. You never truly know until gametime, however.
2. Will Justin Sorensen kick?
I was loaded up on twitter by respondents claiming knowledge that Sorensen has decided not to kick during tonight’s game, but we’re waiting on official word. Even if Sorensen gives it a go there are a lot of questions surrounding how effective he’ll be. Look for BYU to go for it on fourth down a lot more regardless if Sorensen suits up or not.
3. How good is Jordan Johnson?
Yes, he’s looked good in practices, but how will he perform when stuck on an island covering Marquess Wilson? Johnson expressed a high amount of confidence in his abilities this past week, but we’ll see soon enough of he fares against one of the best wideouts on the west coast.
4. How will Mendenhall choose to defend WSU?
Historically, Mendenhall and BYU have not fared well against spread offenses, but there is reason to believe this year may be different. Mendenhall has usually sided with caution in defending prolific offenses, but has the athletes to be more aggressive with his scheming this season.
How creative Mendenhall gets with his coverages and blitz packages will certainly be worth noting throughout the evening.
5. What will BYU’s offense look like?
I’ve never entered a BYU season with less first-hand knowledge of what exactly the offense will run than this season. Coaches closed practices a week early and have been relatively mum on certain changes. I do believe that offensive coordinator Brandon Doman will use an offense that highlights Riley Nelson’s unique strengths much as Gary Crowton tailored an offense around Doman’s strengths in 2001. What is exactly will look like should be interesting.
6. How will Ross Apo and Kaneakua Friel perform?
Apo and Friel are two of the best athletes on the team with a subsequent high ceiling of performance. Apo has been limited by minor injuries, but looks healthy entering the season. Apo is a burner, but has shown hesitation going across the middle. Friel has shown flashes, but has struggled with his overall consistency. Both players could provide a huge boon to the the offense this season.
7. In what capacity will coaches utilize their freshmen?
Most notably among the true freshmen to be used are running backs Adam Hine and Jamaal Williams. Both players showed flashes of great play during fall camp, but were not listed on the depth chart. Alex Kuresa and Dylan Collie are two more players who could warrant quality time on offense.
A couple of freshmen who will be used extensively are Ryker Mathews at left tackle and Manoa Pikula, who won a spot on the two-deep backing up the somewhat gimpy Brandon Ogletree.
8. Who will be playing on the line?
It’s well-assumed that BYU will be going with its 2-4-5 formation a lot versus WSU, but who will be the two downlinemen during obvious passing downs? More specifically, how often will Ezekial Ansah and Bronson Kaufusi be utilized?
The team lacks a proven pass rusher at defensive end and coaches hope that either player can fit that bill.
9. How effective will the offensive line be with its run-blocking?
The offensive line wasn’t able to mount an effective running game last season, but will it be different this year? It’s hard for them to be much worse, but there are a lot of new parts and subsequent question marks regarding how effective they’ll prove to be.
10. Will BYU fans actually wear white?
Yes, it’s a white-out tonight, but BYU fans have historically been among the worst nationally in sporting their team colors. Asking them to wear a specific color could be a sketchy proposition to say the least.