BYU linebacker Jackson Kaufusi (47) tackles McNeese State quarterback Cody Orgeron, left, in the second one part throughout an NCAA faculty soccer sport Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
PROVO — So a long way this season, BYU’s defense has confronted two preseason Heisman Trophy applicants — Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate and Wisconsin working again Jonathan Taylor.
The No. 20 Cougars close down Tate and contained Taylor as they defeated the Wildcats and Badgers, respectively.
But BYU most likely is having a look at its hardest defensive problem when it visits No. 11 Washington Saturday (6:30 p.m. MDT, FOX).
The Huskies boast quarterback Jake Browning, a powerful offensive line, working again Myles Gaskin and huge receiver Aaron Fuller.
“Washington presents different challenges,” mentioned linebacker Adam Pulsipher. “They definitely have a lot of speed on the outside at the receiver position and also the running back position. That will test us.”
Four video games into the 2018 season, trainer Kalani Sitake mentioned there are lots of sides that the defense can support on — and on the best of the checklist is getting more sacks. The Cougars have recorded simply 5 this season, 3 via Corbin Kaufusi.
“We’re getting pressure on the quarterback. Every week, we’ve missed some sacks,” Sitake mentioned. “But we’re getting some disruption and you saw the result of that last week. We had some disruption in the Wisconsin game, but we couldn’t get the sacks. We’ll keep working on it. The guys are aware of it.”
How does Pulsipher assess the defense?
“I think we’re improving. We’re physical and we play hard,” he mentioned. “We’ll continue to make strides as we jell together more as a defense and put in some new pressures that will allow us to get to the quarterback a little bit more.”
This season, the Cougar defense has held each and every of its warring parties to fewer than 24 issues. BYU ranks No. 23 in scoring defense (17.zero ppg) and No. 28 in overall defense (328.Three ypg).
The Cougars even have 8 takeaways this season, together with 4 of their 30-Three victory over McNeese State final Saturday. Not handiest did BYU stay the Cowboys out of the tip zone, in addition they didn’t permit them a unmarried third-down conversion out of 10 makes an attempt.
BYU’s defense has performed neatly in spite of being with out 3 starters due to harm — beginning heart linebacker Butch Pau’u (who has ignored the previous two weeks), outdoor linebacker Zayne Anderson and beginning protection Dayan Ghanwoloku.
But the Cougars haven’t skilled a lot of a drop-off in efficiency.
In reality, one of the vital backups got here up giant final Saturday. Linebacker Rhett Sandlin and protection Tanner Jacobson each had interceptions whilst the 2 fumble recoveries have been via protection Sawyer Powell and defensive lineman Alden Tofa.
“It speaks to the depth of our team,” Pulsipher mentioned. “I think guys have stepped in and stepped up, guys like Riggs Powell, Isaiah Kaufusi at the linebacker position. The D-line rotates probably 10 different guys. Even in the secondary, with Tanner Jacobson stepping in and making a play. It speaks to the depth of the quality of players that we have.”
Sitake mentioned when injured starters are cleared to play via docs and running shoes, they aren’t routinely passed their beginning jobs. They will have to earn it in follow.
“It’s important that when the backups are in there, they show that they’re there for a reason,” mentioned linebackers trainer Ed Lamb. “Depth charts change. Coaches change their mind over the course of time. Things like that can spark those conversations.”
Pulsipher, who mans the center linebacker spot, likes taking part in at the back of nostril tackles Khyiris Tonga and Merrill Taliauli.
“It makes the job of the mike linebacker a lot easier when you have disruption, a guy taking on two blocks,” he mentioned. Both (Taliauli) and Khyiris taking part in that nostril spot are gifted guys who do various things neatly. Khyiris is in reality just right at penetration and Meti’s nice at taking up blocks, consuming up the ones blockers. That’s a laugh to play at the back of and get to make performs off of.”
While BYU enjoys just right defensive intensity, when it comes to going through Washington’s offense, the Cougars are hoping to have Pau’u, Anderson and Ghanwoloku again within the lineup Saturday.
“We’re a better team when everyone’s healthy and contributing,” Pulsipher mentioned. “Hopefully, guys will get again***
No. 20 BYU (Three-1) at No. 11 Washington (Three-1)
Saturday, 6:30 p.m. MDT, Husky Stadium
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM