Highlighting BYU Football's Key Position Battles in Camp
Bronco Mendenhall and his staff are completely free of a starting quarterback battle this offseason. But, even though Riley Nelson is the set starter, there are several other key positions that have "battles" going on.
According to the Deseret News, the Cougars' depth chart will not be revealed until game week. So, we may not know who will win these battles for another week or so.
From strong-side linebacker to backup running back, here are the position battles that highlight BYU's camp.
Strong- Side Linebacker
Players Competing: Spencer Hadley and Alani Fua
Three months ago, no one would have guessed that Spencer Hadley would have any competition at the strong-side linebacker position.
But a few months later, here we are, knowing that Alani Fua could take the starting spot from Hadley on August 30. Although Fua has much less experience at the collegiate level, he has surprised coaches and teammates during camp, including linebacker coach Kelly Poppinga, who said (via The Salt Lake Tribune): "Alani has honestly been the surprise of camp, just at my position, just by how much he has picked up both sides."
We could see either player on the field next week.
Backup Running Backs
Players Competing: All RBs except Michael Alisa
David Foote, Adam Hine, Paul Lasike, Jamaal Williams, Zed Mendenhall, Iona Pritchard, you name it. Now that Michael Alisa is the obvious starter at the running back position, there is a unique battle raging for the backup positions.
Foote and Mendenhall have the most experience out of the group, but the second running back spot could lean easily towards Hine, Pritchard or even freshman Williams.
Players Competing: Jason Munns and Taysom Hill
Riley Nelson is the proclaimed starter at quarterback, and James Lark the backup. Of course, a third-string quarterback may not get plenty of playing time, but with the top two QBs as seniors the winner of this battle will probably start next season.
Jason Munns has been with the program three years (he redshirted his first season) and is entering his junior year. Although he doesn't have any game experience, he knows the program and has size on Hill (6'5", 245 pounds).
Taysom Hill is a much smaller quarterback than Munns, standing at 6'2". A true freshman, Hill is new to the program, but had a good performances in the spring scrimmage. Although he only threw for four yards, he did damage with his legs as he ran for 22 yards on three tries.
4th Wide Receiver
Players Competing: Alex Kuresa, Dylan Collie and Mitch Mathews
Alhtough Cody Hoffman, JD Falslev and Ross Apo are the three main wide receivers for the Cougars, there is plenty of young talent backing them up. The younger brothers of Austin Collie and current Cougar tight end Mitch Mathews are competing for spots, along with converted quarterback Alex Kuresa.
Collie has impressed teammates and coaches alike, gaining compliments from quarterback Riley Nelson including (via The Deseret News), "he's working hard...I have full confidence he'll make all of the plays he needs to" (via Deseret News) and from Brandon Doman (via KSL.com), "He's gonna play; he's in the rotation with the first group right now...he's just a little feisty fighter. He has come out here and competed hard, and I don't know that we can go through the season without him."
Alex Kuresa and Mitch Mathews have been said to receive playing time, although it is not sure how much.
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