Tom Smart, Deseret News
PROVO — Not featured, not a problem.
That’s the attitude of BYU's offensive players — or at least the attitude coaches are working hard to instill.
When asked about featuring certain players in the offense — namely sophomore running back Jamaal Williams — position coach Mark Atuaia indicated it’s not a current priority.
“That’s going to be the main thing with all of the players on offense,” Atuaia said. “We have guys to go and execute what we want and right now that’s the culture we have on our offense and it’s working good for us.”
Atuaia stated that players will play based on their ability to execute whatever role asked of them. Players will be shuttled in and out because of the Cougars' new fast-paced offense — with coaches taking careful note of overall production.
Speaking about his offensive line, offensive coordinator Robert Anae said that process will happen over the first three games.
“By then we’ll have enough body of work to determine who is really ready and who we need to hold back with,” Anae said of the offensive line. “With who we play in the first three games — we’re going to know exactly how we stack up for the rest of the year.”
The starting offensive line during Monday’s practice consisted of Ryker Mathews (left tackle), Solomone Kafu (left guard), Terrance Alletto (center), Brock Stringham (right guard) and Michael Yeck (right tackle.)
BYU opens on the road against Virginia before taking on both Texas and Utah at home.
Leading up to those games, players say they'll need to be ready to go — at any moment.
“It keeps us on our toes knowing we could go in during any situation,” said running back Adam Hine. “I don’t think any of us know our roles yet, but those are going to be defined with how we execute when coaches put us in. You like that as a player since it gives you a chance to prove yourself and most of us will have that chance.”
BOOTH ASSIGNMENTS DOLED OUT: Anae indicated that coaches Jason Beck and Guy Holliday will most likely be in the press box during games while he calls plays from the field.
“It’s still a work in progress, but right now we’re training Jason Beck and Guy Holliday to be in the box,” Anae said.
TRUE FRESHMAN MAKES GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION: Reps had been few and far between for wide receiver Michael Davis, but a new position brought about some positive impact for the true freshman.
Playing cornerback with the second-team defense, Davis stepped in front of a short pass Monday to pick it off and take it for a touchdown.
Davis wasn’t the only player seen at a new position during Monday’s practice, as defensive coaches continue to look for the best combination of 11 players. Other changes included defensive end Eathyn Manumaleuna playing at nose tackle with the first-team defense for the first time this fall, and Spencer Hadley playing at Buck linebacker with the first team. Alani Fua assumed Hadley’s role at Sam linebacker.
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