One Question for Each Position Group as BYU Heads Into Fall Camp

Casey Lundquist

BYU kicked off their first mandatory football activities of the 2020 college football season. If college football is played, here is the most pressing unanswered question for every position group during fall camp:

Quarterbacks

This one is obvious - who will be the starting quarterback? 

Zach Wilson is probably the safest bet to winning the starting job, but Jaren Hall and Baylor Romney are capable players in their own right. The battle for starting quarterback will be the biggest story line during fall camp.

Running Backs

Who will earn the lion's share of the carries? 

Without Devonta'e Henry-Cole, BYU needs a returning player to take a step forward and earn the majority of the reps. Lopini Katoa is a reliable option for the Cougars, but he's unproven against P5 competition. Here were Katoa's stats against P5 teams last year:

Vs Utah: 3 carries for 3 yards

Vs Tennessee: 2 carries for 2 yards

Vs USC: 1 carry for 5 yards

Vs Washington: 5 carries for 13 yards

BYU has a variety of players at this position that could become 'the guy' by the end of the year: Lopini Katoa, Jackson McChesney, Sione Finau, and Tyler Allgeier. 

Wide Receivers

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Which newcomer will contribute the most?

BYU will welcome a lot of new faces to the WR room. BYU needs at least one of the newcomers to contribute right away. Chris Jackson and Kody Epps are the two that are most likely to contribute. It's also important to note the return of Neil Pau'u. Pau'u has the physical tools to be BYU's best option at WR player during his JR season.

Tight End

How often will BYU use two tight ends?

Matt Bushman is the undisputed starter at tight end. Isaac Rex, in my opinion, is too good to be left off the field. BYU has said that they're not afraid to play two tight ends at the same time. The question remains - how often will we see Bushman on the field with another tight end?

Offensive Line

Who will win both Guard spots? 

Brady Christen and James Empey are undisputed starters at their respective positions. Beyond those two, there will be some fierce competition for starting spots. I expect Blake Freeland to lock up the right tackle spot. BYU rotated a lot of guys at Guard last year - Tristen Hoge, Chandon Herring, Clark Barrington, Keanu Saleapaga, and Kieffer Longson. Who wins the starting job and where does Mo Unutoa fit in the rotation?

Defensive Line

Can BYU consistently create a pass rush?

BYU's struggles to pressure the quarterback were well documented last season. Will BYU make the necessary changes on defense to create more pressure? Does BYU have the players to consistently create pressure? Those are largely unknown at this point. Khyiris Tonga will be the anchor of the defensive line this year. Will BYU be able the take advantage of the attention that Tonga will draw? 

Linebackers

Which Linebackers will permanently move positions?

These are the players that have moved from Linebacker to other position groups during spring ball:

  • Chaz Ah You (rumored move to Safety)
  • Zayne Anderson
  • Matthew Criddle
  • Kavika Fonua
  • Jackson Kaufusi
  • Max Tooley

Some of these moves were experimental. Which players will return to Linebacker? We'll find out during fall camp.

Defensive Backs

Who wins the starting safety spots and how does Zayne Anderson fit into the secondary?

I believe Troy Warner will lock up one of the safety spots if he's healthy. I have had Zayne Anderson penciled in as another starter in the secondary. However, BYU has a variety of options including guys like Max Tooley and George Udo who have switched positions.

Special Teams

What will Jake Oldroyd's role look like?

Oldroyd assumed most punting and placekicking responsibilities last season. Ryan Rehkow is a punter who returned from his mission - he will compete for the starting punter spot. Oldroyd struggled at the end of 2019, he will need to earn both starting positions during fall camp.

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Secondary?

Here’s a go:

Healthy Ws?

After losing reliable senior players in Dayan Ghanwoloku and Austin Lee there are holes to be filled. Fortunately there are two old and experienced seniors that sat out most of last season set to replace them in Troy Warner and Chris Wilcox. Both Warner and Wilcox have terrific athletic abilities but both need to be healthy to contribute at a high level and that is a concern, especially for the oft-injured Warner. Another storyline worth watching will be the eligibility of JUCO transfer Jacques Wilson because academics have been a struggle for some recent JUCO CB targets for the Cougars.


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