Notre Dame Opponent Preview: BYU Cougars Defense


Sept. 17, 2011; Provo, UT, USA; BYU Cougars player Preston Hadley (7) forces Utah Utes wide receiver DeVonte Christoper to drop the ball for an incompletion during the second quarter at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas C. Pizac-US PRESSWIRE

BYU is currently ranked 7th in scoring defense giving up 13.6 points per game, ranked 3rd in rushing defense only giving up 67.86 rushing yards per game, and ranked 24th in pass defense giving up 193.0 passing yards per game. Overall, BYU ranks 5th in total defense on the season, while opposing teams average 260.9 yards per game.

Brandon Ogletree

The 5’11’’ 228 pound senior linebacker who leads the team in tackles with 57, also with 6 tackles for loss. He is smaller for a middle linebacker, but he is tough. He doesn’t shy away from taking on blocks and fills inside gaps well. The area he struggles is his lateral movement. When Ogletree moves side to side he tends to loose good technique and over or under pursues plays. Ogletree is a good player, don’t get me wrong, but if you make him shuffle across the line the offense is more than likely to get into the secondary. His ability to read and react is good, being that his first step is always forward and he finds the ball carrier. Pass coverage is the where Ogletree can really be exposed, since he is usually manned up with the running back. Theo, George, and Cierre can really expose this guy in the passing game.

 Preston Hadley

The 6’ 200 pound senior defensive back that is second on the team in tackles with 38, adding an interception, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 5 pass breakups. He is BYU’s playmaker in the secondary and verbal leader. Hadley has a hard time bringing down the bigger tight ends, which is good, because there is an All-American tight end that lines up at flanker for the Irish. He is good in run support and watch for him on an occasional corner blitz. From what I have seen he rarely plays press defense on receivers, but usually 5-7 yards off the line of scrimmage. The single thing that makes this guy a good player is his ability to read the offensive line and quarterback right after the ball is snapped. Hadley isn’t even looking at the receiver, but reading the offense determining if it is a pass or run. He rarely gets beat deep, but will give you the comebacks and slants especially on late downs.

Spencer Hadley

The 6’1’’ 227 pound junior outside linebacker that is fourth on the team in tackles with 33, adding 7 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. Hadley is a very good pass rusher using his speed and quick feet to elude offensive lineman to get to the quarterback. He also makes it hard on offenses by rarely letting anyone get outside of him. His smaller size holds him back at times especially if an offensive tackle gets ahold of him in the running game. Hadley also gets caught in misreading play action and leave the flats open. Overall a good player, look for him all over the field.

Overall, BYU is a good defense, and the best thing to do against them is keep them off balance. Read option and the passing game will be the key in this football game. I think that Notre Dame will continue to run the ball effectively, but they can’t get too predictable. Let Golson do his thing and Notre Dame should win this football game, but I think it will be closer than most people think.