Football is back in the Mountain West and with it, the roundtable turns back towards topics that reflect the start of the season. This week’s question is what are the biggest challenges each team faces to prepare for the season?
Zach: For Boise State, it has to be getting the offensive line game ready. There will be 3-4 new starters on this unit and it is by far the biggest question mark. This unit needs to protect Bachmeier.
Mike: I’ll discuss Colorado State. I think their biggest challenge is tuning out all of the outside noise. Covid has overshadowed things, but they have had a lot going on this offseason. There were the reports against new coach Steve Addazio. Then they team stopped summer organized activities for a while because of Covid. Then their best player declared for the NFL and even though they ended up staying, two others entered the transfer portal. Needless to say, it would be easier for the coaches and players to be distracted. If they can over come that, I think they have the talent to have an above-average season.
Alex: There are a lot of questions surrounding UNLV football this upcoming season. There are, like there have been the past two decades, plenty of questions about the defense and who will start at quarterback. However, I think with a lot of the same team coming back from last year, I do not think that will be too much of an issue as the group will have some continuity. So, the biggest challenge UNLV faces this year surrounds new coach Marcus Arroyo and if the team had enough time to get acclimated to his new offense and the defensive coaches new schemes. Even though they are not the only team with a new coach, teams like Fresno State and San Diego State bring in coaches who are familiar with their players and programs. Arroyo certainly has a plan that can be successful, but I wonder if the shorten offseason and lack of time to get familiar with the new systems could hurt the Rebels early in the season.
Graham_Gibson: For Utah State, it will be quarterback play. No official announcement has been made in terms of who will replace Jordan Love, although there is a lot of speculation that Jason Shelly will get the nod because he has the most experience in the position group. Considering that Utah State starts the season on the road against Boise State which is a really important game to try and win, the Aggies may just choose to go with experience. Another concern for the Aggies may be the defense making big plays. Whoever ends up starting at quarterback will need to play well for the Aggies to do well in any of the first three games against Boise State, San Diego State and Nevada.