BYU fans received somber news last night when reports surfaced that Matt Bushman was carted off the practice field on Monday following a lower-leg injury. Jake Hatch of Locked on Cougars was the first to report the news. The complete extent of the injury is still unknown, but I can confirm that the injury occurred. Hatch was also the first to report that Hinckley Ropati suffered a knee injury late last week. We don't know the extent of those injuries, but we know that both players will miss some time and potentially the season as they undergo medical evaluations.
Both Ropati and Bushman are great players and outstanding people. We wish them and their families the best and we hope for a speedy recovery.
BYU will now prepare for their Labor Day game against Navy without Ropati and Bushman. Where do the Cougars turn following the reported injuries?
First and foremost, I imagine BYU will use less 12 personnel (1 RB 2 TE) without Bushman. Isaac Rex will be the starting Tight End. In June, I picked Rex to have one of biggest breakout seasons of any player on BYU's roster. This is from an earlier story:
Isaac Rex, the son of former BYU Tight End Byron Rex, is my leading candidate to have a breakout season in 2020. Rex only had one reception for 23 yards in 2019. (BYU Cougars) Following a redshirt season last year and an impressive showing during the few spring practices, I expect him to play a big role in the offense this season. Rex is 6'6, 250 lbs. and he moves really well. Rex uses all of his 6’6 frame to impact the game as a blocker and a receiver. He is a matchup nightmare for smaller Defensive Backs.
BYU will turn to players like Carter Wheat, Lane Lunt, Bentley Hanshaw, and Hank Tuipulotu to fill the backup TE role.
At running back, Ropati is the third player BYU has lost this summer. Devonta'e Henry-Cole left BYU and transferred to Utah State, Bruce Garrett left BYU for personal reasons, and Hinckley Ropati sustained a knee injury.
Lopini Katoa and Tyler Allgeier were already set to receive a large portion of the carries in 2020. Now, BYU will ask Jackson McChesney to step up and play a bigger role as a redshirt freshman. The Cougars will also anticipate the return of Sione Finau - Finau is waiting to be medically cleared after tearing an ACL last season.
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