PROVO — Playing along the defensive front may be a stretch, but Troy Warner could be used to fill several different roles for the BYU football team this coming season.
The 6-foot-1, 199-pound junior was listed as defensive lineman on his name card at BYU's Media Day, and joked about being put in a three-point stance off the front line to the press.
"Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if I see time at defensive end, or something," Warner joked. "I can't really speak to how many times I'm listed on the (depth chart), but what I do know is coaches know I'm a versatile player."
Warner is currently listed as a potential starter at the left cornerback, free safety and strong safety positions heading into fall camp. Where he ultimately ends up seeing most of his playing time largely is dependant upon others around him, and their ability to fill certain spots.
The Southern California native saw time playing at cornerback immediately as a true freshman in 2016, and then again the following season before incurring a Lisfranc injury, which cut his sophomore year short after eight games played. But reprising his role at cornerback this season isn't exactly the ideal scenario this year.
"It will be a good thing for the defense if he's not at corner," remarked defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki.
It all has to do with playing Warner where he's most capable, and all involved believe his best position is at safety, despite not having played there much at all at the collegiate level.
"My play style and my skill set — it's more suited for me to play safety," Warner said. "I think I can help the team more at safety … and I think the coaches have known since I arrived on campus that I was going to be a safety."
So why the hangup of just moving him to safety permanently? As mentioned, it has more to do with the talent around Warner than any other factor.
The Cougars have been historically weak on quality corner depth, and were as much when Warner entered the program in 2016. For that reason, he was thrust into action on the outside coverage spot immediately while acquitting himself nicely.
This season indicates better depth at corner, with players such as Chris Wilcox, Trevion Greene, Austin McChesney, Michael Shelton and others all candidates to effectively man both corner positions. But until they prove effective enough, Warner will remain at the spot he's played since arriving at BYU.
Candidates to play at safety include Dayan Ghanwoluku, Austin Lee, Tanner Jacobson and Isaiah Armstrong, along with the possibility of Warner joining the ranks.
As for Warner, he believes he'll wind up logging most, if not all, of his time at safety.20 comments on this story
"I'm proud of how they view me as a player, that I can play all those different positions, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm playing safety," he said. "I think I can help the team more playing at safety."
As far as his Lisfranc injury, Warner felt 90 percent healthwise after missing all of spring practice, but believes he'll be 100 percent by Aug. 1, when fall practices begin.
"It's a really slow process, and you learn to be patient with this injury," Warner said of his recovery. "I've been doing as much as I can without hurting myself again, and I think I've been good at that."