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BYU football notebook: Offensive line rotation set for Virginia

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 12:48 p.m. MDT

Solomone Kafu practices during Alumni Day and the final day of spring football practice at BYU in Provo on Friday, March 30, 2012.  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Solomone Kafu practices during Alumni Day and the final day of spring football practice at BYU in Provo on Friday, March 30, 2012. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

PROVO — It won’t exactly mimic a Chinese fire drill, but the subbing in and out of offensive linemen will be constant, fast and seemingly hectic to the casual observer.

The rotations will all be carefully orchestrated by offensive line coach Garett Tujague with the purpose of maximizing the pace and the effort of the offensive front. At certain junctures it will be just one player subbed out, in other instances an entire group will replace the other.

All in all, 11 offensive linemen will travel to Virginia and every single one will play, according to Tujague. How much each player will play, and in what capacity, has been outlined by coaches, but you never really know what will unfold until game time.

“We’ve tested it in our team settings and we’ve seen who can go how far and for how long,” Tujague explained. “There will be a lot of eyes on those guys, so if we need to do a one-man rotation at a time or a full line, we can do both. It’s more of watching their play and them trusting me to put them in situations to be successful.”

Terrance Alletto during   BYU football practice  Monday, March 18, 2013, in Provo.  
 (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Terrance Alletto during BYU football practice Monday, March 18, 2013, in Provo. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

The 11 players will include the nine linemen listed on the depth chart, which includes Ryker Mathews and Brad Wilcox at left tackle; Solomone Kafu and Brayden Kearsley at left guard; Terrance Alletto and Kearsley at center; Brock Stringham and Manaaki Vaitai at right guard; and Michael Yeck and De’Ondre Wesley at right tackle. Tui Crichton and Kyle Johnson will also travel and play primarily at guard.

“It’s exciting because we all know we’re going to play,” Stringham said. “We sort of have an idea how much, and when, but we’re obviously going to have to be on our toes during every part of the game. That’s exciting, and it really motivates you.”

Vocal leaders

Fast and accurate communication will be paramount in maintaining the pace of the new and ambitious offense. Coaches can and will do all they can to get players executing accurately, but a lot of it will be left up to the players.

Ryker Mathews, a freshman offensive lineman, watches during a play as BYU football practices Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News) Ryker Mathews, a freshman offensive lineman, watches during a play as BYU football practices Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

Many of Tujague’s players have taken the lead in this regard during practices, and will be looked at to be very vocal during games.

“You get used to your coach yelling at you, but when it’s your peer, and it’s an opportunity for a peer to teach another peer, that’s when learning takes place,” Tujague said.

One of those vocal players has been guard Brock Stringham.

“I love having Brock there by me, and he’s probably been the most vocal of all the guys, and that really helps,” Alletto said. “It helps me focus on the pace, the guards bark out instructions and it’s working well, and I think it will work well against Virginia.”

Stringham is someone who has embraced the new offense despite not practicing in spring due to injury. Despite the late start, Stringham has risen to be a leader on the line and is anxious to get going.

“I love every part of this offense,” Stringham said. “To me, it’s how football should be played. I love the smash-mouth part of it. The complicated calls are gone and all we’re focusing on is firing off the ball and focusing on killing the guy in front of us.”

Badger back to Provo

Sources confirm that former Timpview standout Chris Badger intends on transferring from Notre Dame to join BYU’s program. Badger is a 5-foot-11, 197-pound safety who was a consensus first-team All-State selection his senior season.

Badger signed with Notre Dame in 2010 before serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Ecuador. He joined the Irish for the 2012 season before deciding to transfer to BYU. Badger is currently seeking a waiver from the NCAA to play immediately, but it’s anticipated he won’t be eligible until the 2014 season when he'll then have three years of eligibility remaining.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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