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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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Plenty of quality inside linebackers to go around at BYU

This is tight ends coach Lance Reynolds' 30th season at BYU, but he's not the only long-timer on the coaching staff.

Inside linebackers coach Paul Tidwell is in his 12th season at BYU, but 36th season of coaching football overall. Tidwell has coached in the high school ranks (North Sanpete, Richfield), at Snow College, at Eastern Arizona, at Louisiana Tech, and BYU.

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Tidwell also oversees the punt team and the walk-on program, having turned his duties as the recruiting coordinator over to Joe DuPaix two years ago.

He has been around the block a time or two.

Perhaps that's why Tidwell isn't quite ready to pile the hype on this BYU linebacking corps, which some people are saying is one of the best in school history.

"That's still yet to be seen. We have had some great linebacking groups. If we win 11-plus games, then yeah, I would say it is," Tidwell said. "We've had David Nixon, Kelly Poppinga, Coleby Clawson, Bryan Kehl, to name a few. So we've had some good linebackers. So to say this is the best? Could be. It remains to be seen."

I wrote about the inside linebackers last week, calling it the most set unit on the team, with Uona Kaveinga and Brandon Ogletree the clear-cut starters. Their backups are Zac Stout and Manoa Pikula.

Tidwell's task will be getting some playing time for senior Austen Jorgensen and juniors Tyler Beck and Uani Unga, the Oregon State transfer.

I have received several emails with people wondering about Unga's progress. Here's Tidwell's evaluation:

"He has impressed me in the scrimmages. He has learned the defense well. He's very intelligent, and smart. I have confidence in him. He's a good football player. He's smart, he's savvy, he's got good common sense out there on the field. He will help us."



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