BYU’s lacking pass rush will allow Maalik Murphy to get comfortable in the pocket early in this game
There is one big flaw with the idea that the Cougars can stack the box to try and put pressure on Murphy in the pocket and on the Texas ground game to rattle the Longhorns early; BYU hasn’t been able to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
You might say that BYU would be able to more effectively get pressure on the quarterback if they try to send more pass rushers at Murphy, but that hasn’t worked for them either this season. BYU not only ranks last in the Big 12 in sacks per game and sack rate, but it also is the only team in the conference that doesn’t have a sack when sending more than five defenders to rush the passer.
This issue for the Cougars is partly due to them not having any effective and proven pass rushers up front outside of redshirt junior defensive end Tyler Batty and Nelson. And we just mentioned that Nelson will likely miss the Texas game for BYU due to injury.
Batty and Nelson are BYU’s only two starters along the front seven that grade out among the top half of pass rushers in the Big 12 this season.
Thus, with BYU having a minimal number of effective and proven pass rushers to send at Murphy, they would likely be better served just to put those defenders back in coverage to take away opportunities in the passing game for Texas.
We already discussed the problem with BYU not having enough personnel in the box early against Texas since Sark will likely want to establish the ground game early on offense.
BYU’s defensive conundrum here works out well for Murphy. The Cougars’ inability to get effective pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season means he will have more time to get comfortable in the pocket to go through his reads in this game.
If Murphy has more clean pockets to work with, that opens up the passing game playbook for Sark and the Longhorns earlier than most would expect, given that Texas has a first-time starting quarterback this week.