Over the next few weeks I’m going to start previewing the BYU Football schedule. It’s a better use of my time then another obligatory off season expansion post. I’m going to go game by game starting with Nebraska and ending with Utah State. Oddly enough this is going to be the first time BYU and Nebraska ever play in football.
BYU kicks its season off against Nebraska in around 120 days. Who are this year’s Cornhuskers and how will BYU line up with them? I know depth charts aren’t set and there are still a lot of unknowns, but I will update this post the week of the game.
Last season Nebraska went 9-4 and bounced in and out of the top 25 all season. They peaked at number 11 in the AP and Coaches poll in week 11 just before they lost to Wisconsin and Minnesota in back to back weeks. This year’s Nebraska team is different though.
The assumption is that returning starting QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. is going to start against BYU. He is a junior, started all of last year, and had a good number of snaps as a freshmen the year before that. All the research I’ve done on Armstrong shows that he’s streaky. He’s a dual threat quarterback, but he has a rough time reading defenses. At times he sticks to one read and doesn’t notice other receivers open at all.
In Nebraska’s loss to USC in the Holiday Bowl, Armstrong threw 32-51 for 381 yards with 3 touchdowns and a pick. The bowl game looked like a summary for the season for Armstrong. He was good in parts and bad in others.
Last year, he had Ameer Abdullah (2nd round pick to the Lions) as a feature back behind him. Abdullah was a beast for Nebraska, totaling over one thousand yards the last three years. As of right now, they are still deciding on a running back and may have to do running back by committee. It will be interesting to see how this affects Armstrong.
All reports coming out of spring football say the defense looks great. You have to take spring football with a grain of salt. The Nebraska defense was okay last year with a good defensive line but, injuries last year hampered the rest. This still seems to be up in the air.
Coaching is the biggest difference between the 2015 Cornhuskers and the 2014 Cornhuskers. Nebraska decided that 9-4 was not good enough to continue to put up with Bo Pelini and hired the guy most opposite of Pelini, nice guy Mike Riley. Riley is the most familiar part of Nebraska for BYU. The Cougars played his Oregon State teams the last few years.
Mike Riley brings a pro set offense and all of the returning starters have to adjust. A new coach and a new system is good for the Cougars. BYU is more familiar with Mike Riley then some of his players are right now. BYU played Mike Riley at Oregon State 3 times with a 2-1 record.
Too Early Prediction:
There will be an adjustment period for Nebraska with Mike Riley. They will not have success right away. As long as BYU plays their game, they can take advantage. BYU wins 42-27 in Taysom Hills triumphant return to the field. Go Cougars.