PROVO — With Tom Sorensen out due to a shoulder injury, BYU's offensive line is undergoing a shake-up.

Sorensen, projected to be the Cougars' starting center, could be out for 4-6 weeks after injuring his shoulder. He was scheduled to meet with a doctor Tuesday. Coach Bronco Mendenhall said Sorensen likely will have surgery.

"The pain was not allowing him to be effective in our eyes nor his," Mendenhall said. "I gave him (until Monday) to kind of try to sort through it as you build up what you expect to happen in a year, and then it doesn't necessarily go like that. We'll find out the severity of it and the time frame."

Sorensen was expected to be the heir apparent to two-year starter Sete Aulai, who graduated. Sorensen saw action in seven games last season.

In Sorensen's place, the Cougars are looking at Dallas Reynolds, who is an All-Mountain West first-team performer at left tackle, sophomore Garrett Reden and junior R.J. Willing.

"We're still considering Dallas Reynolds as a possibility. We'll fill in the best five," Mendenhall said. "The good news is, they're all good players. It's going to be what unit, which five, works best together."

It also means freshman Matt Reynolds, who recently returned home from a mission, has been seeing time with the first team at left tackle, taking his brother's spot. Dallas Reynolds became a starter as a freshman after his mission. Could Matt Reynolds take over at left tackle like Dallas did?

"Maybe," Mendenhall said. "The difference being that Matt had a redshirt year. Dallas came right off his mission and had to play. While it might sound subtle, to us it's a giant difference with a year of grooming."

AFUTITI TO REPORT?: One player expected to be in camp but is not is defensive lineman Bernard Afutiti, a junior college All- American out of Mt. San Antonio Junior College. Mendenhall said he expects the highly touted recruit to be in camp today or Thursday. First, Afutiti's academic transcripts must be cleared from Compton Community College and Mt. San Antonio.

"I don't think there's any risk that he won't be here, that he won't be eligible," Mendenhall said. "But until we have the actual transcripts in hand from the admissions office, that's the holdup currently."

ON THE DEFENSE: BYU's defense returns only three starters from last year's team, but senior linebacker David Nixon is pleased with the way younger players are responding in fall camp.

"We're a lot further along than I expected, to be honest. We have some freshmen who are learning the positions," Nixon said. "They're watching the guys in front of them, learning from them. The good thing is, all of us have so much experience, we can coach up the younger guys and help them out.

"Right now, we're pretty satisfied with how things are going. There's tons of room for improvement, but for the third day, I'm pretty optimistic about where it's headed."


E-mail: jeffc@desnews.com