Following up on our excellent conversation yesterday, we are joined by the excellent Mountain West Connection! Head over to see our answers to their questions.
1. Many Nole fans consider Saturday's forecast high in the low 90's as a disadvantage for the Cougars from Utah. Is the climate difference overblown, and how has BYU handled similar games in the recent past? Traveling 2 hours east is also a possible factor, correct?
I think the heat is over blown, but the humidity could be an issue because of cramping. The closest thing to playing in Fort Worth when they travel to play TCU every other year. The last time BYU traveled to the east coast was when they played Boston College and if I recall it was a close game that BC won near the end of the game. If the game were a noon eastern kick then there could be an issue with the two hour time change, but with the kick being at 1:30PM local time in Utah they will be fine. At least they are not flying the day of like they tried when Gary Crowton was their coach when they played Nevada, that was a complete mess.
2. How much has the return of Eathyn Manumaleuna meant to the defense?
Very big because he started every game as a freshman back in 2007 before he left on his church mission, and in his first game back against Washington he had a great game. His claim to fame was blocking a field goal against UCLA in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl to allow BYU to win. He is a player and will require some double team at times since he is pushing 300 pounds.
3. Heaps or Nelson? Coach Mendenhall said Nelson would get the nod but that both would play. If you're coaching, who do you play and why?
Heaps for possibly the entire game, because we all saw how Oklahoma's Landry Jones shredded the Seminole defense. Now, I do not think Jake Heaps will be able to pick apart the secondary, but he has a better chance of having success then Riley Nelson. Even though Nelson is going to start they will still split series, which was a disaster last week against Air Force where they combined for 88 yards. Against Florida State Heaps give them the best chance to win since he can actually throw the ball down field. The ideal situation is to emulate the 2006 Florida team that had Chris Leak starting and Tim Tebow coming in on short yardage plays; Heaps would play the Leak role and Nelson the Tebow roll. That makes the most sense.
4. With two rather average offensive performances so far, what are the issues facing this offense?
The quarterback play is the glaring hole and the reason for the inconsistency. When Riley Nelson is in the offense consists of broken plays where he runs, they run designed runs, or run the option. When Heaps is in the offense is the BYU offense everyone knows with a lot of passing. To be fair, the offense did lose the schools best set of tight ends ever with Dennis Pita going to the NFL, the schools all-time leading rusher in Harvey Unga who is with the Chicago Bears, and quarterback Max Hall who is with the Arizona Cardinals.
Also, the offensive lineman are used to blocking for a passing quarterback and not a scrambler like Nelson, plus the wide receivers are giving up on routes when Nelson in the game, because they are now having to block for him once Nelson takes off after a short scan of the field. The running game is the only constant with JJ DiLuigi but he had trouble holding onto the ball in the Air Force game.
5. What is the health of this team like right now? I saw that Ogletree might be out with an injury. Anyone else questionable?
The health is pretty good and only Ogeltree is questionable.