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Mitch Payne
Offense

QUARTERBACK

Max Hall 6-1, 201, Jr.

IT'S TIME: Hall, who passed for 3,848 yards and 25 touchdowns last season, returns as the starter. It's imperative that Hall remain healthy for BYU to have the kind of special season they are seeking because there's a definite drop-off to backups Brenden Gaskins, Kurt McEuen and Stephen Covey.

RUNNING BACKS

Harvey Unga 6-0, 239, So.

Fui Vakapuna 6-1, 253, Sr.

IT'S TIME: Unga was the MWC's freshman of the year after rushing for 1,227 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns. Last year's starter, Manase Tonga, was ruled academically ineligible, meaning much of the fullback workload will fall to Fui Vakapuna, who has been injury-prone the last couple of years. Freshman J.J. DiLuigi and Wayne Latu should make an impact as well.

TIGHT END

Dennis Pitta 6-5, 250, Jr.

IT'S TIME: BYU is blessed with a pair of talented tight ends in Pitta and Andrew George. Both are tall, athletic playmakers. There are times when the Cougars will use both weapons at the same time.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Austin Collie 6-2, 206, Jr.

Michael Reed 6-1, 202, Sr.

Luke Ashworth 6-2, 195, So.

IT'S TIME: The Cougars are deep at this position with a bevy of sure-handed pass-catchers. Collie entered fall camp with a stress fracture in his leg. Will he be healthy and at full-strength by the start of the season and stay that way?

OFFENSIVE LINE

Matt Reynolds 6-6, 321, Fr.

Ray Feinga 6-5, 348, Sr.

Dallas Reynolds 6-5, 320, Sr.

David Oswald 6-8, 330, Sr.

Travis Bright 6-5, 313, Sr.

IT'S TIME: One of the strengths of this team is the O-line. Dallas Reynolds has slid over from left tackle to center after projected starter Tom Sorensen was sidelined during fall camp with a shoulder injury. Feinga, Oswald and Bright are each solid. But the O-line will have to improve on pass protection. The Cougars gave up 20 sacks last season.

Defense

CORNERBACKS

Brandon Howard, 5-9, 164, junior

G Pittman, 5-10, 189, freshman

Scott Johnson, 5-11, 184, junior

Brandon Bradley 6-2, 201, sophomore

IT'S TIME: It's been four years since BYU lost a boatload of defensive recruits to off-field issues. Field corners Howard and Pittman join a cadre of athletes who are on scholarship to vie for this position manned by walk-on Kayle Buchannan last season. In a heated battle for who starts at boundary corner, Johnson has held on through two-a-days, but Bradley's athleticism could bring him on the field for situational coverage especially inside the 20-yard line where his size gives him an edge.

SAFETIES

David Tafuna, 6-1, 211, senior

Kellen Fowler, 5-11, 187, senior

Jordan Pendleton, 6-2, 218, freshman

Andrew Rich, 6-3, 202, sophomore

IT'S TIME: Kat safety Tafuna is overcoming a foot injury from a year ago and a concussion in fall camp, and Andrew Rich is capable of playing both safety positions and is the first reserve on the field even though Jordan Pendleton is working out as No. 2. A four-game starter a year ago when Quinn Gooch got injured, free safety Kellen Fowler will help quarterback the defense with his smarts before leaving for law school at the University of Virginia.

LINEBACKERS

Matt Ah You, 5-11, 227, junior

Shawn Doman, 6-2, 232, junior

Matt Bauman, 6-1, 232, junior

Vic So'oto, 6-3, 245, junior

Iona Pritchard, 6-0, 234, freshman

Coleby Clawson, 6-2, 220, junior

David Nixon, 6-3, 223, senior

Daniel Sorensen, 6-1, 208, freshman

IT'S TIME: Back off a mission, Ah You started several games as a freshman and has been in a heated battle to hold off Shawn Doman at the strongside middle linebacker spot. While true freshman Iona Pritchard has taken reps backing up Bauman, if Bauman went down, Matt Ah You would likely move over and start at the weakside middle linebacker position. After playing two years as a tight end, the time has come for Vic So'oto to use his athleticism as a hitter instead of catching passes. He'll line up either behind David Nixon or start on the opposite side. Neglected and left off a lot of honor lists, Nixon is out to step out of the shadow of Bryan Kehl and continue to make big plays that have been a trademark of his Cougar career.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Jan Jorgensen, 6-3, 275, junior

Ian Dulan, 6-1, 255, junior

Russell Tialavea, 6-3, 300, junior

Matt Putman, 6-6, 237, freshman

Bernard Afutiti, 6-0, 260, junior

Mosese Foketi, 6-0, 277, senior

IT'S TIME: With Jorgensen returning as the MWC's top sack leader, Matt Putman has stepped in as a second big weapon at chasing down quarterbacks. Ever since he started as a freshman, Ian Dulan has solidly held on to his starting spot, but this year he has some stiff competition from JC All-American Bernard Afutiti. A year ago at the start of fall practice, Tialavea suffered a season-ending ACL tear in his knee, and this is a chance for him to return to his impressive form showed as a freshman and sophomore and Foketi looks to finish his career strong.

Special teams

PLACEKICKERS

Mitch Payne 6-2, 208, So.

Justin Sorensen 6-1, 202, Fr.

PUNTER

C.J. Santiago 6-2, 211, Sr.

KICK RETURNERS

Austin Collie 6-2, 209, Jr.

Luke Ashworth 6-2, 195, So.

Bryce Mahuika 5-9, 190, Sr.

Reed White 5-10, 190, Sr.

IT'S TIME: While Payne and Sorensen could share kicking chores, the punting job belongs to Santiago, who is improving on his consistency. There are some question about the returners — both Collie and Mahuika have been slowed by injuries.