PROVO — It’s no secret that BYU’s overall success this season will heavily depend on the production of its offensive line. That fact is not lost on sophomore center Terrance Alletto.
He welcomes the challenge.
“The whole team knows it’s on us, so we definitely feel the pressure. But I like it,” Alletto said. “I like the opportunity to rise to the occasion. I think any athlete does and plays for that reason.”
Alletto was named BYU's starting center at the close of spring practices and has seen all the first-team reps so far this fall.
To maintain the starting role, Alletto will have to battle for his spot every day and learn to work with several other guys who are consistently rotated in and out by new position coach Garett Tujague. Throw in the breakneck pace of the new offensive system, and it’s a challenge.
“You have to be on your toes and you can’t let up,” Alletto said. “Coach Tujague demands a lot and if you let up you’re out. That’s the message, so it’s up to us to maintain the pace. But I love it. I love the challenge.”
Throughout practice sessions so far, Tujague has gotten after his players as much as possible. Players who are seen not giving a full effort, or even taking time to put their hands on their knees or their hips, are told, in no uncertain terms, to get with the program.
“It’s tough, but we know it’s going to be worth it,” Alletto said about Tujague’s regimen. “It’s going to make us all better and make the offense better. This offense will only be as good as we, as an offensive line, can play.”
Through spring and into two days of fall practices, Tujague is happy with what he’s seen from Alletto.
“Terrance does a great job of getting the offense to where it needs to be and sets the pace for the entire offense,” Tujague said Monday. “Without him no one else can line up, so his position is extremely important.”
10 GUYS: To maintain the pace of the new offense, Tujague ultimately wants to find 10 capable guys who can rotate along the offensive line during games. He even aims to rotate his centers, if necessary, and says Manaaki Vaitai is right on Alletto’s heels for the starting spot.
“He’s pushing Terrance and my hope is that all these guys keep pushing each other,” Tujague said. “If any guys starts dropping off then the next guy goes in. ... All I’m asking is for these guys to go as hard as they can and when they can’t they go out.”
KEARSLEY IMPRESSES: True freshman Brayden Kearsley came into fall camp with a lot of hype, and through two days of practice Tujague likes what he sees.
“He’s (been) very impressive,” Tujague said. “He’s young and his will and desire are there, but it’s a whole new thing.”
When asked if Kearsley has a shot at Tujague’s desired 10-man rotation he responded, “Absolutely.”
APO RISES UP: Receiver Ross Apo was not listed as a starting receiver out of spring practices, but he is determined to get his spot back. After some struggles during day one Apo provided the play of the day with a diving 40-yard touchdown catch Monday.
Following the catch his teammates all rallied around him.
“Ross has been through a lot and been through some ups and downs,” said receiver JD Falslev. “Ross is still a guy that we count on, a guy that we know we can throw the ball to. He’s done a lot better job in taking the criticism from coaches — the constructive criticism — and using that. As an offense we want to celebrate any success that we have.”
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