Brigham Young University Cougars v. Utah University Utes
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
Score: Brigham Young 19, Utah 20
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
Taysom Hill, QB, RS Senior, #7: Hill has been on and off the radar as a college QB for several years, having endured endless numbers of injuries (particularly to his legs). Hill is back for one more go around but the missed time over 2 consecutive seasons has really stunted his growth as a passer and zapped much of the life out of his legs. Hill did have a spectacular run down the left sideline, showing impressive spatial awareness to stay in bounds; but a lot of plays Hill would’ve made 3 years ago were left on the field. No longer is Hill capable of the sudden climb in the pocket or redirection that made him flash off the screen. As a passer, Hill was erratic placing the ball in catchable areas for his receivers. Frequently throws were high or put into DB leverage as compared to throwing receivers open. A number of occasions Hill also failed to identify a hot throw in the pre-snap; failing to replace the blitz with the ball to take easy yardage.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Senior, #21: Williams is another returnee to the Cougar offense this year after an extended absence. Williams had an injury cut short his 2014 campaign and was asked to withdraw from the University in 2015 or face an indefinite suspension stemming from an undisclosed violation of team policies. It was not his first violation; he was also suspended 2014 season opener vs. Connecticut stemming from an alcohol incident. On the field, Williams was impressive. Averaging over 4.5 YPC, Williams proved physically that he’s a gifted runner. Quick feet and some flashes of strong balance allowed Williams to create space for himself and pick up after contact yardage. Williams’ pads run high and from a physicality standpoint there’s something to be desired. Williams’ pass protection efforts resulted with a collapsed pocket too frequently. With that said Williams has been a productive runner and looks the part of a rotational runner at this point in his college career.
Harvey Langi, OBLB, Senior, #21: Langi spent a lot of time at the edge of the LOS in this contest; but did not showcase any physical abilities to suggest there’s a future for him in that role going forward. Langi forced a fumble early on in the contest courtesy of a perfect form tackle; separating the ball from opponent with his head striking perfectly in place. But there isn’t levels of twitch or acceleration here to get too excited about, at least from this initial look. Langi plays with an admirable motor but I have questions regarding his functional athleticism and his ability to play on off the ball role.
JJ Dielman, OL, Senior, #68: Dielman spent the game at Center and was not particularly strong as an interior presence. Dielman showed mobility to cover large amounts of ground as a blocker and was able to get out in front of perimeter runs with a good deal of consistency; but his ability to reset the LOS or absorb contact was underwhelming. Dielman struggled to get hands out of his holsters and shock or put off backfield push with any consistency. As a result, Dielman ended a number of plays either on the ground or being collapsed backwards. Working at OT (where he would not be tasked with anchoring against such heavy hitters) is one potential solution to mitigate these issues but a lack of pop in the hands is a serious concern and one to watch going forward.
Kylie Fitts, EDGE, Senior, #11: I did not see a whole lot out of Fitts that was not showcased in the Preseason Senior Outlook. Fitts has the look of a base 4-3 DE; adequate and effective in setting the edge against the run but not inspiring as a pass rusher. Fitts continues to struggle to turn the corner against OTs and show ankle flexion and hip mobility to lean into pressures. This limitation severely handcuffs the upside. Fitts is physical at the point of attack and continues to show more of the same with this first look in 2016. Just don’t expect to see large sack numbers here; he’s a motor player but not tailored for boundary pass rush productivity.
Lowell Lotulelei, DT, Junior, #93: Lowell, the younger brother of Carolina Panther Star, makes it apparent that there is a relation very early on into viewing. Lotulelei has the ability to get off the snap quickly and does well as a slash/penetration player to push his frame into the backfield. Lotulelei had success against the Cougars forcing cuts and bowing RB routes deeper into the backfield on a number of occasions. Where Lotulelei struggles in this contest was as a rusher. His hands are heavy but the ability to press, disengage and continue into the backfield was shielded by a high number of double teams. I am particularly interested to circle back to Lotulelei later in the year to see if Fitts and other teammates can allow him to produce more single looks and what he is able to do with those opportunities as a pass rusher.
Best Players on the Field:
Kai Nacua, DB, Senior (Brigham Young); Butch Pau’u, MLB, Sophomore (Brigham Young); Lowell Lotulelei, DT
Taysom Hill, QB