Kedon Slovis Keeping BYU Loose Entering Big Stage At No. 7 Texas
Oct 27, 2023, 9:37 AM | Updated: 10:20 am
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
AUSTIN, Texas – Few quarterbacks have faced more adversity in their college football careers than Kedon Slovis.
The star signal-caller for BYU has had a share of struggles over the past two games. He blamed himself for BYU’s embarrassing 44-11 loss at TCU, even though there was plenty of blame in all phases from that one.
In the face of adversity, he bounced back to lead BYU to a win last week over Texas Tech. But the passing game was non-existent in the second half against the Red Raiders, as the Cougars only passed for 15 yards.
To date on the season, Slovis has passed for 1,519 yards, 12 touchdowns, and four interceptions while completing 56.6% of his passes.
Kedon Slovis: “When we’re loose and having fun, we play at our best”
That type of play won’t work against No. 7 Texas this week. Slovis knows that. But he also realizes he can’t make the game more significant than it needs to be as BYU comes into the one-time Big 12 matchup as a three-touchdown underdog.
“I think that’s kind of how we need to be more often going into games,” said Slovis. “This team, when we’re loose and having fun and playing free, we’ve played our best. When we’re uptight and worried about making mistakes, that’s when we’re not playing our best. …As leaders, we’ve kind of recognized that’s who we need to be week in, week out and especially this week, being underdogs. That’s a better mentality going forward.”
It’s good that Slovis is keeping things light because the Texas defense poses a lot of challenges for BYU’s offense, which still ranks 72nd nationally in scoring (27.6) and 122nd in total offense (301.9).
Texas defense poses many challenges
BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick believes that the Texas defensive line might be the best he’s coached against in his 24 years as a coach.
T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II are two of the top potential NFL draft prospects along the Longhorn defensive front. Then they have a edge rusher in Anthony Hill, who is emerging as a star as a true freshman.
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) October 26, 2023
“They’re just really big and athletic and they play with great technique and they play really hard and they’re deep,” Roderick said. “They’re two-deep at every position. This is one of the best d-lines I’ve ever coached against.”
Texas has some question marks in the secondary. They’ve been prone to giving up big plays through the air since the win at Alabama in week two. The Longhorns have dealt with injuries in that area, so that will be a spot Slovis and BYU’s receiver will need to attack.
For that to happen, BYU’s offensive line, which has struggled in run blocking but has shown well in pass protection this season, will need to provide Slovis the necessary time. The good news for BYU’s offensive front is that they appear to be trending up after making switches to the personnel coming out of the bye week.
Slovis recognizes the talent that Texas has on their defensive front.
“I think the biggest thing that stands out is their defensive line, they’re really good,” Slovis said. “They get home, maybe they are rushing four, they don’t need exotic blitzes to get penetration and do good things. So I think that gives us a great challenge or opportunity, one of the better D-lines, if not the best line we’ve faced all year. Excited to go against them–a really talented group.”
Kedon Slovis embracing the opportunity in front of him at Texas
When Slovis was in the Transfer Portal last December, he prioritized the scheme, fit, and stage a team could provide to help him reach his goal of making it to the NFL.
That’s why BYU was a top priority for him.
With his relationship with former BYU QB John Beck at 3DQB, plus BYU getting its last two starting QBs drafted. Then, on top of all that, BYU was entering the Big 12 Conference. BYU, early in the portal process, became a top choice for Slovis.
It wouldn’t hurt Slovis’ NFL chances if he had a big game against the Longhorns.
Very few stages are bigger than what awaits BYU on Saturday against Texas. More than 100,000 fans are expected to be in attendance for the game. It will be only the third time in BYU’s history they will play a game in front of 100,000 fans.
For Slovis, it’s a chance to go up against a blueblood brand with one of the nation’s most talented rosters. Many believe it would help his NFL draft stock if he shows well in this game.
“It’s a really good conference. So you know, I feel like every week it’s a great challenge to go play a lot of teams. But obviously, Texas is such a great program. It’s going to be a great atmosphere. You know, it’s always fun to go play in those games. I know the guys are obviously excited and extra fired up for every game but there’s something really cool about going to play in front of 100,000 people at a blue-blood school. It’s a really tough challenge but I think that’s what excites everyone.”
The last thing Slovis and this BYU offense want to happen is a repeat of the TCU game. That was a matchup that left BYU looking like they were in mud compared to the speed of the Horned Frogs.
Then you see the speed on the Texas roster. Can BYU match up?
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) October 22, 2023
“There’s a reason I’m here. I believe in the guys that we have in the room and in the building and I think we have really good players,” Slovis said. “Again, they have really good players too. We’ll have to elevate our talent play really well. But you know, if we execute what we can do, it gives us a chance.”
Keep it loose, heading into a big-time matchup.
BYU vs. No. 7 Texas
Date: Saturday, October 28, 2023
Location: Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. (MT)
Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame coverage begins at 9 a.m.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.
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