Brigham Young University Cougars @ West Virginia University Mountaineers Saturday, September 24, 2016
FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland
Score: Brigham Young (32), West Virginia (35)
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
Brigham Young Offense
Taysom Hill, QB, RS Senior, #7: Hill continues to be the X-factor of the Cougar offense. When BYU has success moving the ball, it is because Hill makes plays with his legs and can extend to force creases in zones. Hill again (like Week 2 vs. Utah) failed to show much in the way of rhythm and timing; failing to consistently deliver throws with purpose and allow for additional RAC. Hill’s injury history and age will be significant factors against him gaining a look as a NFL Quarterback.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Senior, #21: Williams had an excellent effort, topping 100 rushing yards in the first half in this contest. There was an additional gear shown in the open field that I didn’t see against Utah; Williams will need that burst to add an extra element to his game. He runs hard and with purpose, particularly downhill, but fails to generate much in the way of force or leverage behind his pads. He isn’t a pile churning runner to his ability to break away down the field is going to add a much needed extra layer. I enjoyed this effort from Williams; who is creative in space and does well to create yardage for himself when he’s isolated in areas one on one.
Brigham Young Defense
Harvey Langi, OBLB, Senior, #21: I continue to fail to see Langi as much of a viable prospect going forward. He was more active this past week than his previous effort I saw against Utah; logging a sack and an additional 0.5 TFL. From an athletic profile stand point I simply don’t see initial explosiveness or short area agility/mobility to suggest there’s a package to mold and be able to produce against NFL competition.
Butch Pau’u, MLB, RS Sophomore, #38: Pau’u is the standout player on the Cougar defense thus far this season. Relentless in pursuit and effort, I’m a big fan of how he processed and attacks plays with quickness. Pau’u is a bit undersized at approximately 6000, 230 lbs but he hits with a strong amount of pop due to his leverage. Pau’u spent the 2012 season as a redshirt and then spent two years on a mission trip before playing the past two seasons. His football intelligence looks to be off the charts and he will regularly be the first to arrive at the football. He does take some sloppy angles, costing him more finished plays and he lacks length to be effective as a wrap up tackler with consistency. But he’s consistently in the right place: he had 19 tackles vs. UCLA and another 5 with an interception this week. He has 42 total tackles through 4 games. A name to watch, as he was a 2012 recruit. Much older than his eligibility suggests.
West Virginia Offense
Adam Pankey, OT, RS Senior, #57: Pankey left quite a bit to be desired as both a pass protector and a run blocker. Pankey appears to be weighed down by lethargic feet in space; he has the look of an interior OL with a massive frame and thick torso. Gaining depth off of the snap and getting into a kick slide was a struggle; even against unspectacular edge rushers for the Cougars defense. Pankey’s future looks to be on the inside as he is too limited in change of direction and foot quickness to sustain himself working against speed rushers on the boundary.
Tyler Orlosky, C, RS Senior, #65: Orlosky had his name called late in the game for a miscommunication with QB Skyler Howard that resulted in a turnover inside the 10 that could have cost the Mountaineers the game. It looked to me to be a gaffe on the part of Howard, who engaged in a leg lift to signify ready to snap before walking up to the LOS to make a change. Regardless of the responsibility, it did not cost them the game and Orlosky had a solid effort otherwise. RB Rushel Shell had success finding space on interior runs and Orlosky did well to wall of defenders to provide lanes. He isn’t a people mover but he does have success sustaining blocks and that is much more important for a Center prospect. Orlosky has adequate levels of functional athleticism to play in space and should be regarded as one of the top C prospects in the country.
Rushel Shell, RB, RS Senior, #7: Shell, a Pitt transfer, had his least productive yardage game of the season; only registering 35 rushing yards for 3.2 YPC. But stats don’t tell the story here, Shell (5100, 225 lbs) made decisive cuts and on a handful of plays was able to create yardage against backfield penetration. Shell is a physically stout runner and does well to drop the pads and move the pile. It was nice to see Shell involved as a receiver as well, something that is not regularly showcased. Shell had 4 receptions for 22 yards and caught the ball well with his hands. Shell appears to be a traditional case of a rotational power/short yardage back (his career 3rd down conversion rate on 3 rd and 1-3 to go is 66%). There are times when Shell tried to be a more elusive runner than his skill set allows, I would like to see him continue to develop a downhill mentality to make the most out of runs when a crease is present.
Shelton Gibson, WR, RS Junior, #1: Gibson looks like the next WR with legitimate prospects out of Morgantown. He’s not as dynamic or physically imposing as a Kevin White but he sure is smooth. I enjoyed watching Gibson in space running routes, he found success establishing separation and extending to the football to ensure the catch. Gibson (6010, 198 lbs) enjoyed his second consecutive 100-yard effort, catching four passes for 144 yards. Gibson’s strength as a route runner stems from how loose his frame is; he has little effort in selling false stems/breaks and producing steep angles in his lower body to cut sharply off his route stem. A name to watch, as he’s developing strong chemistry with QB Skyler Howard.
West Virginia Defense
Noble Nwachukwu, DE, RS Senior, #97: I was disappointed by just how little an impact Nwachukwu had in this game: this was a player people in Morgantown were very excited for. Nwachukwu is a bit of a difficult study: he’s undersized to play the B-gap as frequently as the WVU 3-3-5 defense asks him to; yet there are still ample opportunities to impact the game as a pass rusher.
Ironically, it came across as though Nwachukwu’s run game was much more of a strength, as he showed adequate anchor and pop in the hands to hold the point of attack effectively in stretches. Yet other reps were met with him being blown off the ball on first contact. Nwachukwu has only logged 8 tackles, 1 sack and 1 TFL through three games; he’s going to need to ramp it up if he’s going to meet the expectations folks in Morgantown had placed on him prior to the season.
Jeremy Tyler, FS, Senior, #2: Tyler was a man possessed against BYU. Tyler gave me flashbacks of Karl Joseph with his ability to close down and attack the LOS as a run defender. Tyler has spent the majority of his career at WVU buried behind the likes of Joseph and fellow NFL draft selection K.J. Dillon; he’s now logged just 4 career starts. But he’s playing the same role as Joseph at Free Safety and has the same style of play: burst, power, leverage as a tackler and impressive range. He logged an interception in the middle of the field off of Taysom Hill and I’m going to be very interested to keep track of his skill set and performance throughout the course of his Senior season.
Best Players on the Field:
Jeremy Tyler, FS; Jamaal Williams, RB, Shelton Gibson, WR, Butch Pau’u, MLB
Adam Pankey, OT; Noble Nwachukwu, DE; Harvey Langi, OBLB