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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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New offensive linemen learning on the job

Hodge-podge. Makeshift. Thrown-together.

Whatever you want to call it, BYU's offensive line in Saturday's scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium looked nothing like the offensive line that will try to protect Riley Nelson and block for Juice Quezada and Mike Alisa on Sept. 1 when the Cougars play host to Washington State.

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Saturday, the line consisted of left tackle Corbin Kaufusi, left guard Solomone Kafu, center Blair Tushaus, right guard Terrance Motley and right tackle Michael Yeck.

Quin Lawlor and Terrance Alletto also saw some action.

In September, the names will be Ryker Mathews, Braden Brown, Braden Hansen, Houston Reynolds, Fono Vakalahi and Walter Kahaiali'i, among others.

Of the guys who played Saturday, Tushaus probably stands the best chance of playing meaningful plays in September, along with Kafu.

Tushaus, a 6-2, 280-pound redshirt sophomore from Scottsdale, Ariz. (Notre Dame Prep), graded out well Saturday and will push Houston Reynolds for playing time at center this fall.

"I have to go into fall with an attitude of proving myself. Coach [Weber] tells me, you gotta prove yourself. You just can't come out here and expect to play. I can't really have that attitude. I just have to have the attitude of getting better."

Tushaus was ranked as the No. 15 center in the country in high school, but missed his senior season due to an ACL tear. He appeared in five games last year playing behind Terence Brown at center, seeing action against Idaho State, Idaho, New Mexico State, Hawaii and Tulsa.

Tushaus will give Weber an option at center this season if Reynolds is moved over to guard, which is a possibility.

"Center has been my only position since freshman year in high school. Houston has had reps in college. We both help each other out. I ask him questions and he asks me questions. It kind of goes back and forth. We are great buddies and we are trying to make each other better," Tushaus said.

As for Saturday, Tushaus said it will pay dividends in the future because guys who generally don't get any reps at all in scrimmages got a lot as Weber only had seven healthy bodies available.

"We started off pretty well, then we had a penalty here or there that kept us from having more momentum. When we clean that stuff up, and the receivers and running backs clean some of their stuff up, then we are going to look pretty good," Tushaus said. "And that's with guys playing in their first scrimmages, per se. We are still missing so many guys. But there were some good things, and some things we still have to clean up."

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Coach Bronco Mendenhall mentioned safety/cornerback Mike Hague as a player who improved his stock on Saturday and showed he deserves playing time this fall. Here are a few comments from Hague after the scrimmage:

On what they accomplished:

"I think the one thing we wanted to focus on today was communication. From the secondary to the linebackers, and the linebackers to the D-line, we just wanted to make sure we didn't have any communication breakdowns.

We had one during skelly (7 on 7), that really cost us. That was the one time the offense scored today. But other than that, we communicated well, we executed well, especially not having a lot of our guys be able to play today."

On whether he likes corner or safety better:

"I am more comfortable at safety. I like corner. It is new to me. A lot of technique, a lot of muscle memory you have to get down that I haven't gotten down yet. But it is coming along. I am there because we have a couple of guys that are hurt, and I want to help in any way possible.

Skye PoVey is coming over, playing some free safety, playing really well, too, which allows me to go over and play some corner.

We want to be a diverse secondary, and do a lot of things. We think we are pretty athletic back there. I like playing corner and safety, whatever."

On O'Neill Chambers joining the secondary:

"As soon as we found out he was going to be in the secondary, it was awesome, because he's so athletic. O'Neill is one of the most athletic people that I have ever been around."



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