PROVO — There's no doubt, BYU has been decimated by injuries this season.
The latest to go down is sophomore cornerback Troy Warner, who confirmed on his Instagram account this week that he will miss the remainder of the season due to an injury suffered at East Carolina.
Earlier in the week, coach Kalani Sitake had said it was “probably highly unlikely” that Warner would return this season.
“To lose any starter at this point where we already have a couple of guys injured on the defense, it’s tough, but we have guys that can step in and play,” said Cougar safety Micah Hannemann.
Sophomores Chris Wilcox and Trevion Greene are among those who will fill the void left by Warner, who finished the season with 36 tackles, five pass breakups and one fumble recovery.
“It hurt us a lot losing Troy Warner,” Sitake said. “That was hard to deal with. Troy’s been solid. Not perfect, but he’s played really well for his second year starting.”
Warner is the 13th starter, or projected starter, to suffer an injury resulting in missing significant playing time.
TONGA ON THE RISE: BYU freshman defensive lineman Khyiris Tonga has been one of the bright spots of the defense this season.
And he’s learning on the job.
“He’s the most aggressive kid on the team, the strongest. He’s so raw and so new that he makes a lot of mistakes,” said senior defensive lineman Kesni Tausinga. “He gets out of control and flies up field and the ball will cut under. That can come from a lot of us players. If we can focus on our technique and have controlled aggression, we can still stay within your assignment and be as aggressive as possible. Khyiris has come a long way, he’s playing better and better. He’s learning how to control his strength.”
LOOKING FOR A COMPLETE GAME: With five games remaining on the schedule, the Cougars still haven’t come close to reaching their potential.
“Everybody’s pretty frustrated that we haven’t played our best football yet. At the same time, we have to focus on San Jose State this week,” said senior linebacker Grant Jones. “We’re thinking about getting better, staying together as a team and play our best football. That’s what we need to do. We still haven’t played our best football this season.”
“We’ve just got to dig deep and continue to fight. At some point, it’s going to work,” said offensive lineman Thomas Shoaf. “We believe it, we trust in it. We trust our coaches, we trust our technique. We’ve got to execute. It’s a broken record. It’s the same every week.”