It's one of the classic mysteries, only a slight variation on the "what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?"
In the college football version, it becomes "what happens when big and powerful meets small and speedy?"
That appears to be what is on tap for BYU football's offensive line this weekend against Arizona in the Cactus Kickoff at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (8:30 p.m. MDT, Fox Sports 1).
"The big thing for us is going to be making sure we know what we are supposed to do," Cougar offensive line coach Mike Empey said Wednesday after practice. "We've got to identify things and not make mistakes."
According to their respective depth charts, BYU's five starting offensive linemen are listed as follows:
- 6-foot-5, 301 pounds (Andrew Eide, left tackle)
- 6-3, 305 (Keyan Norman, left guard)
- 6-0, 295 (Tejan Koroma, center)
- 6-3, 307 (Parker Dawe, right guard)
- 6-7, 335 (Ului Lapuaho, right tackle)
Compare that size to the listed defensive front for the Wildcats:
- 6-2, 247 (Justin Belknap, end)
- 6-1, 247 (Parker Zelle, nose
- 6-1, 271 (Sani Fuimaono, tackle)
It appears that BYU will have at least a 30-pound advantage at the point of attack -- but will it translate into offensive success?
One of the factors, according to Empey, is that there are similarities to the guys the Cougar offense has seen for the last month
"I feel like the team we are going to play in Week 1 -- the scheme may have some differences but athletically, and the way they are, they are a lot like our own defense," Empey said. "They are active, they move around a lot, they are athletic guys who have a good motor and are going to work really hard. Having gone against our own defense, I feel like we've seen those type of guys. So it shouldn't be a surprise to see someone who is physical and active."
One of the keys in this type of matchup for the BYU front is being consistent with their footwork. While that will be big on Saturday, that's something Empey said he is going to be preaching the entire year.
"You are always working on footwork," Empey said. "Right now we have worked on a lot of things and they are doing a good job"
He explained that sometimes the offensive line sees the fundamentals that it worked on in camp erode because it gets into the weekly grind of games. He's determined to not let that happen.
"Footwork is one of those things that I don't want to get sloppy, so we will carry a lot of footwork drills through our pre-practice and early practice routine because I want them to focus on that," Empey said. "We have to be able to move our feet in traffic and to pass block. We try to emphasize those every day."
He also wants to have a lot of guys who are able to rotate in or step up as needed.
"I want to develop depth and go two-deep," Empey said. "I don't just want to have five. No one is ever going to go through the game with just five guys. I have a starting point with this five and I feel like at this point they have distinguished themselves enough that this is my best unit to start with. I have some talented guys who aren't in the first five who I feel like I can rotate in."
He said he isn't surprised at how things have shaken out for the offensive linemen.
"I feel like I knew all along who our top 10 or 11 guys are going to be," Empey said. "I just wanted them to have a chance to differentiate themselves. I'll always try to have 10 or 11 guys ready."
While the line sets the tone for the offense, those guys aren't going to be alone in the blocking scheme. Tight ends and running backs also have their responsibilities and senior fullback Algernon Brown said he's confident in where the team is at in that regard as they get ready to face Arizona.
"We got to have the mindset that they might be fast and athletic but we have to beat them there, beat them to the block," Brown said. "We have to be athletes. I think this is a good opportunity for us."