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Chris Petersen Gives High Praise To BYU’s Zach Wilson, Defensive Depth

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 14: Head Coach Chris Petersen of the Washington Huskies looks on against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in the second quarter during their game at Husky Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

SEATTLE, Wash. – Washington head coach Chris Petersen is very familiar with the BYU football program. Petersen has gone up against BYU three different times dating back to 2012.

In those three games, Petersen has posted a 2-1 record against the Cougars. The one loss was in Provo in 2013 when Petersen was the head coach at Boise State.

Last year, Petersen’s Washington squad rocked a nationally-ranked BYU squad that had the Cougars wondering if everything they had accomplished two weeks prior at Wisconsin was a fluke or not.

Fast forward to this year, BYU looks to be a team better equipped to be competitive against Petersen’s Huskies this time around. Coach Pete sees the improvements in the Cougars from a year ago as well.

“Well they’re different on offense for sure,” Petersen said. “They’ve definitely tweaked their system. They were really run-oriented (last year), they still want to run the ball, but it is different. There is certainly some carry over, but it is different. The quarterback makes them better.”

In BYU’s blowout loss to the Huskies last season, the Cougars did not play Zach Wilson. Last season, BYU started senior Tanner Mangum who had helped lead the Cougars to a 3-1 start. But then ran into a buzzsaw against the Huskies.

Wilson now has two wins over Power Five opponents under his belt and is feeling confident heading into the Cougars game against the No. 22 Huskies.

“He’s (Wilson) a really good player. He’s super athletic, he gets the ball out quick, he’s got some moxie to him. So I think that on offense makes them significantly different there,” said Petersen.

Petersen believes BYU has a lot of depth on defense

Along with improvements on BYU’s offense, Coach Pete also sees growth on the defensive side of the ball from the Cougars.

“They have a lot of guys back, but they also play a lot of guys,” said Petersen. “Which is something, you know, we like to do around here. But they have a lot of depth. They’ll rotate a lot of guys at all positions, certainly in that front seven, and I think that helps them.”

The continuity in the personnel, but also the coaching has been a big reason for BYU’s strides on the defensive side of the ball according to Pete.

“Kalani’s a defensive coach, they are kind of running his stuff. In the second or third year into it, you just do it better,” Petersen said.

BYU will hope to be significantly better from where they were a year ago, but all indications point to them having a better opportunity to be competitive with the Huskies this time around on Saturday.

Kickoff between No. 22 Washington and BYU kick off Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (MT). You can listen to the game on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM, 1160 AM, and the KSL Newsradio app.

You can find more information on how to watch, stream or attend the game here.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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