The BYU Cougars have posted an 8-5 record in each of the last three seasons. It’s been disappointing, but with most of the key roster positions returning—and with quarterback Taysom Hill coming back from injury—this Cougars team could end up being Michigan’s toughest non-conference opponent in 2015.
Taysom Hill (QB)
Hill didn’t quite make it through half of last season before a leg fracture and ligament tear sidelined him for the remainder of the year. One of the only criticisms of Hill was his inability to throw downfield, but it’s a part of his game he’s been improving this offseason. Cougars offensive coordinator Rober Anae says he wants to work on protecting his quarterback, which would in effect have him distributing the ball more often, rather than making him gun it with his legs all the time.
Hill is going to be a big problem for Michigan. If his downfield passing has improved even a little bit—if he can just make the defense respect it—a world of opportunity and danger will open up.
Increasingly consistent with short and intermediate throws, BYU wouldn’t have a problem throwing small punches before something inevitably breaks loose.
Michigan’s defensive front will be talented, but talented enough to contain one of the best athletes in the country at quarterback? We’ll see.
Bronson Kaufusi (DE/LB)
Kaufusi is BYU’s most versatile defender and, on back-to-back plays, could give Michigan’s backfield and wide receivers a good amount of trouble. He’ll drop back as a linebacker in coverage sometimes, but the Cougars’ defensive front last year wasn’t very productive when that happened.
Listed officially as a defensive linemen, Kaufusi will probably spend most of his time on the line, which would then leave room for linebacker Sione Takitaki, who played well in a limited role last season.
Then again, BYU took its biggest losses this offseason in the secondary. That could force Kaufusi back into coverage more often than defensive coordinator Nick Howell would like.