I’m responsible for the running backs. That’s my job. If there’s one player that needs a little more attention than the others, then absolutely I do that. —Reno Mahe
PROVO — This is one of those times when BYU running backs coach Reno Mahe can draw upon his experiences as a player.
During his time attending BYU, Mahe violated the school’s honor code and had to pay the consequences before returning to the field.
Now, one of his players, Ula Tolutau, the team’s leading rusher, has run into some trouble. Tolutau was recently charged with marijuana possession.
Tolutau's status for Saturday’s game against San Jose State is uncertain because the program has a policy of not talking about individual players’ situations.
But Mahe said he makes sure his players know how much he cares and is willing to help them.
“I’m responsible for the running backs. That’s my job. If there’s one player that needs a little more attention than the others, then absolutely I do that,” he said. “Having had that experience here at BYU, I wish they would have had that policy when I was playing here, not talking about individual players and situations.
"At the end of the day, Kalani (Sitake) brought us in here to make sure that we watch over and take care of our players and help them do everything right that they’re supposed to," Mahe continued. "I draw on my own experiences on the field and off the field. Primarily on the field, having played the position, you’re able to treat them how you wanted to be treated. It’s nice to be able to draw from that. And having gone through the experience I went through at BYU, I learned and I appreciate everything I got out of this great school.”
Offensive coordinator Ty Detmer addressed the depth at running back and mentioned several players vying for playing time before adding, “We’ll wait to hear what’s going on with Ula.”
The Cougars got KJ Hall back from injury last week. Trey Dye is expected to be out for weeks due to an ankle injury suffered at Mississippi State. Meanwhile, Squally Canada will be available this week as he is also returning from an injury, while Riley Burt is getting more reps.
“Having KJ back last week helps. We’ve got Squally back from injury. He’s in the mix,” Detmer said. “Riley’s gotten a little more work each week. We’ve got those three that we’re looking at.”
Kavika Fonua is still injured, Detmer said, adding that he’s a candidate for a medical redshirt.