PROVO — As is often the case for a position group's most veteran player at fall camp, BYU defensive lineman Remington Peck is fielding a lot of questions these days.
Peck, a junior, enters the 2014 season with two years of playing experience and a full three years in the program. He's subsequently being relied on heavily by his fellow defensive linemen.
“It’s kind of crazy thinking I’m the old man of the group,” Peck said. “It’s crazy having your sense of responsibility change and have everyone look to you, but it’s been good and I’ve tried to step up and help teach where I can.”
Peck isn’t the most vocal player, nor the most imposing athlete, but is considered by both coaches and players as one of the smartest football minds on the entire team. His football knowledge has proved a big asset over his previous two seasons on the field and in team meetings and workouts.
“Remington has played a lot and he’s someone who works tirelessly on the fundamentals and you see that,” said defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi. “He’s my most experienced guy. And he’s working to get bigger and stronger, but what he does works well and he’s proven that.”
LINE PLAY INTENSIFIES: Entering his fourth season practicing at BYU, Peck has seen a lot of variation with how the Cougar defensive line stacks up against the offensive line in practice. Things are move even in the head-to-head battles between the two units these days, according to the former Bingham High standout.
“Two springs ago, when coach (Robert) Anae first came back the (defensive line) would honestly win every rep,” Peck said. “We’d do (a variety of drills) and the defensive line would win every rep against the offensive line, and it’s completely different now.”
Indeed, a full year of Anae’s offensive system has made the offensive line much more competitive in practice.
“They really are a completely different line,” Peck said. “I mean, it’s a battle. Especially from this spring and into fall camp. They’re just a completely different offensive line and I think that’s just been time they’ve spend playing in the offense and time where they’ve just grown up. So it’s been good.”
DEPTH OVER EXPERIENCE AT NOSE: Depth is an important thing to have at any defensive line position, but perhaps most important for the physically demanding nose tackle position. For this reason Kaufusi likes to field a three-man rotation at the position — a luxury he didn't have the last few years.
Stalwarts such as Romney Fuga and Eathyn Manumaleuna did relatively well playing extensive, and at times, almost exclusive reps at the position, with very little depth behind them.
While this year's unit lacks a strong and experienced nose tackle, Kaufusi believes stronger depth will more than suffice.
"We have better depth this year, no question, and that part I really enjoy," Kaufusi said. "We have enough that we're hoping we won't have to rely on just a few guys, but have enough guys to get the work done."
Specifically, senior Marques Johnson, who played a lot last season, is leading the way. Behind him currently are Travis Tuiloma and Kesni Tausinga, who both recently returned from missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"Travis is doing great. He's a lot skinnier than I'd like, but I think it's helped him focus on other ways to beat an offense and he's quicker and faster than he used to be," Kaufusi said. "Kesni has been nicked up a bit, but I've liked what he's shown and Marques is someone we know can play. So I like how we're stacking up at nose tackle."
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