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BYU football: Cougars adjusting to injuries at wide receiver

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 11:57 a.m. MDT

Kyle Van Noy (3), Cody Hoffman (2) and Skyler Ridley (17) of the Brigham Young Cougars celebrate a touchdown by Hoffman during NCAA football in Madison, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. 
 (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Kyle Van Noy (3), Cody Hoffman (2) and Skyler Ridley (17) of the Brigham Young Cougars celebrate a touchdown by Hoffman during NCAA football in Madison, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

PROVO — One man’s junkyard is another man’s gold mine.

That’s how BYU receivers coach Guy Holliday assessed the Cougars' group of wide receivers in the wake of Mitch Mathews’ season-ending shoulder injury.

Players such as sophomore Kurt Henderson and freshman walk-on Colby Pearson now have opportunities to step in and make gold mines for themselves.

“Somebody has the opportunity to step up and I’m confident somebody will,” Holliday said. “Nobody expected Mitch Mathews to be an impact player for us … so someone can step up and that’s the great thing about football. I’m excited to see who the guy is.”

Cody Hoffman (2) of the Brigham Young Cougars pulls in a touchdown pass against Dezmen Southward (12) of the Wisconsin Badgers during NCAA football in Madison, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.  (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Cody Hoffman (2) of the Brigham Young Cougars pulls in a touchdown pass against Dezmen Southward (12) of the Wisconsin Badgers during NCAA football in Madison, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Holliday anticipates no changes to the offense due to Mathews’ recent injury, which came on top of injuries to receivers JD Falslev, Eric Thornton, Brett Thompson and Devin Mahina.

“One man’s injury is not going to change us,” Holliday said. “Cody (Hoffman) didn’t play against Virginia and that didn’t change us. Last time I checked Cody was the all-time career touchdown leader, career reception leader and whatever career record there is. So if we didn’t change it for Cody — and I love Mitch — we’re not going to change it with Mitch out.”

MORE MATHEWS: One player coaches are counting to step up at receiver is Mitch Mathews’ older brother, Marcus Mathews. Marcus took the news of his brother’s injury hard, but is using it as motivation to step up his own play.

“I wish it was me in his situation with the injury instead of him, but it is what it is,” Marcus said. “It’s definitely a motivation to play in honor of Mitch, and how he’s played. I mean, you want to step up for anyone who goes down, but when it’s your brother it adds to that motivation a bit.”

Marcus had been seeing reps at outside receiver, but was switched to inside receiver this week. It’s the position he’s played most since arriving at BYU and felt comfortable after just one day of practice.

“It felt great. I had a really fun day today and did really well and made some great catches. It was great. It was fun,” he said.

PHILOSOPHICAL REASONS: With just 10 seconds remaining in the first half of last week's game against Wisconsin, offensive coordinator Robert Anae called two straight running plays instead of taking a knee to run out the clock.

It was the type of play-calling that burned him in the past — namely in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl against UCLA. With just 19 seconds left on the clock in the first half of that game, and BYU deep in its own territory, Harvey Unga coughed up the football — leading to a Bruin touchdown as time expired.

Anae explained his decision to not take a knee against Wisconsin to reporters on Tuesday.

"It's more about who we want to be with this offense," Anae said. "I just felt at that moment if we went into the half with the mindset of not being afraid and hitting it hard. We were getting the ball back, so that's more of a philosophical mindset than anything."

Email: bgurney@desnews.com Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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