BYU offensive line coming together in time for Cougars' season opener
Michelle Tessier, Deseret News
PROVO — Figuring out a two-deep roster on BYU's offensive line has proved to be a difficult task.
Difficult for fans, difficult for media and even difficult for offensive line coach Garett Tujague.
When asked to lay out his two-deep along the offensive front, or even give a hint, Tujague responded with, “If you know it, let me know.”
Much of Tujague’s comment was in jest, but it also underscored his methodology of forming a two-deep roster. Last season, Tujague’s first at BYU, saw him re-evaluate and readjust his offensive line on a weekly basis — keeping everyone involved uncertain of who would be playing, and in what capacity.
This year he plans to do the same thing.
“You got to earn the right, I think, to be one of the guys who gets to put his hand on the ground on the sideline to run out first,” Tujague said. “So that’s definitely something that gets earned every week, (so) no one gets comfortable.”
Tujague did give an indication of several players he’s grown very comfortable with during preseason practices. Perhaps the most comfort he feels is with the two players expected to start at tackle — senior De’Ondre Wesley and freshman Ului Lapuaho.
Wesley started for much of last season at left tackle, but was recently switched to right tackle. “He’s more natural there,” said Tujague.
Lapuaho, a true freshman, has quietly become one of the most dependable linemen on the team, according to Tujague, to the point where the coach trusts the freshman to play at the critical left tackle spot.
THE NEW GUARD: A couple of new faces to the first- and second-team offensive line during practice sessions have been guards Tuni Kanuch and Brayden Kearsley.
Kanuch had been hampered by injury throughout fall camp but is finally healthy and ready to go, according to Tujague.
"He went out there today and it just brings a smile to my face," Tujague said following Tuesday's practice. "I love that kid. He's what we're all about as an offensive line. ... Hopefully he'll be on the plane for Connecticut."
As for Kearsley, Tujague believes he's one of the three most-improved linemen since spring camp.
"He's done a great job getting his body ready for the season," Tujague said.
INTERIOR FOCUS: Tujague indicated that while his tackles are pretty well-established, the guard and center positions are a little less so. Players he did mention as his lead guys currently are freshman Tejan Koroma at center, along with senior Brock Stringham and sophomore Kyle Johnson at guard.
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