Dick Harmon: BYU's loading up with one-year players fits a need
Both TD returns came on road trips. Houston’s Demarcus Ayers returned a kick 95 yards after a 10-0 BYU lead. He had four returns that averaged 41.8 yards. Washington’s John Ross had a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD in the Fight Hunger Bowl that broke a 7-7 tie game. He had two kickoffs that averaged 60-yards.
On the other end of things, BYU returner Adam Hine had a TD return called back against Utah and witnessed two or three other returns past midfield nullified due to penalties. It was unclean execution, perhaps a depth issue.
In spring practice, Mendenhall mentioned this coming fall he would play freshmen, play a lot of them, and play them quality minutes. Specifically he mentioned 22 plays a game for true freshmen. He has to.
BYU’s numbers are an interesting phenomenon with the new church mission guidelines. Quality, mature, in shape, experienced players are in great demand.
There are only two ways you get that brand of player: through junior college transfers, redshirt missionaries that have returned and been through conditioning, these one-year players and just putting freshmen on the field to get experience quick.
At this stage, nobody knows what kind of impact these one-year players will have on the program except to provide instant depth and further competition for position playing time.
It is very tough for a one-year player to come in July, practice with the team about three to four weeks including two a days and learn all that is needed to make an immediate impact.
I think Leslie can do that. BYU has to hope transfer receiver Devon Blackman can do it too. It is a luxury to have Jackson and Nelson come to town.
“We need more bodies, more players and more people to contribute,” is how Mendenhall put it at the end of spring drills.
This trio helps meet that demand.
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at email@example.com.
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