PROVO — While former BYU running back Jamaal Williams is pushing for the starting job for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, the battle to replace Williams in the Cougar backfield has been going on since the spring.
Offensive coordinator Ty Detmer has been saying for months that the ground game this season will be running back by committee.
Junior Squally Canada remains No. 1 on the depth chart, though others are looking to make an impact on the offense.
“You’re starting to see that natural instinct, where (Canada has) got some experience and that experience is helping him stay probably at the top,” Detmer said. “At the same time, those other guys are pushing.”
Sophomore Riley Burt has turned in an impressive fall camp while Ula Tolutau, KJ Hall, Trey Dye and Kavika Fonua are also vying for playing time.
“The more reps they get, the more they understand what’s expected in the run game. Overall, they all bring something different to the table,” Detmer said of the group. “We’ll try to utilize that group and sub when we need to, to get the right combination in there to help with their skill sets. It will still be by committee, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see all of them get a touch at some point in a game. As the season goes and that consistency starts to kick in, one or two of them may get a little more (playing time) than the others. Right now everybody’s still in the mix and everybody can play for us, which is a good thing.”
Tolutau, who is 6-foot-1, 255 pounds, gives BYU a bruising, pounding tailback. What are his strengths?
“Speed and size. That’s why he’s here,” Detmer said. “We were super excited to get him because he has those attributes. He needs reps. We’re young skill-wise, but we feel like we’re talented. It’s a matter of getting those guys experience in our system.”