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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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Few surprises, as BYU releases football depth chart for opener

BYU has posted its official depth chart with the release of the game notes for Thursday's opener against Washington State.

There are a couple of surprises, but nothing too drastic.

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For instance, Marcus Mathews was the presumptive starting tight end when preseason camp started, but is now nowhere to be found on the two-deep. He was moved to receiver last week -- he said it was temporary, while coaches made it sound a bit more permanent -- but is not listed as a backup to either Cody Hoffman or Ross Apo in the receiver spots.

Hoffman's backup is Skyler Ridley and Apo's backup is Dallin Cutler.

Here's the depth chart, with a few comments:

QB -- Riley Nelson, Sr.

Backup QB: James Lark, Sr.

Note: Real battle in camp was for third-string spot, and that's important because third-stringer travels, gets leg up on next year's race to be starter; All indications are that freshman Taysom Hill won the job.

RB -- Michael Alisa, Jr.

Backup RB: David Foote, Sr.

Third-string: Iona Pritchard, Soph.

Note: The depth chart does not list the fullback spot, but that is expected to be Zed Mendenhall, backed up by Pritchard.

Slot Receiver: JD Falsev, Jr.

Backup Slot: David Foote, Sr.

Note: A mild surprise that converted quarterback Alex Kuresa not listed as backup, after a super camp.

Wide Receiver: Cody Hoffman, Jr.

Backup WR: Skyler Ridley, Jr.

Wide Receiver: Ross Apo, Soph.

Backup WR: Dallin Cutler, Jr.

Note: BYU usually designates an "X" receiver and a "Z" receiver, but does not differentiate here. Mitch Mathews was seemingly going to be fourth receiver, until a clavicle injury.

Tight End: Kaneakua Friel, Jr.

Backup tight end: Austin Holt, Jr.

Left Tackle: Ryker Mathews, Fr.

Backup left tackle: Michael Yeck, Soph.

Left Guard: Houston Reynolds, Jr., OR Famika Anae, Soph.

Center: Blair Tushaus, Soph., OR Houston Reynolds, Jr.

Right Guard: Braden Hansen, Sr., OR Brock Stringham, Soph.

Right Tackle: Braden Brown, Sr.

Backup Right Tackle: Manaaki Vaitai, Jr.

Note: Mild surprise that Braden Hansen is not starter at left guard, where he went most of preseason camp. Also, looks like they could rotate centers, which is rare.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker -- Justin Sorensen, Jr.

Punter: Riley Stephenson, Sr.

Deep Snapper: Reed Hornung, Sr.

Holder: JD Falslev, Jr.

Note: James Lark did most of the holding at camp, not Falslev

DEFENSE

Left End: Eathyn Manumaleuna, Sr.

Backup LE: Mike Muehlmann, Jr.

Nose Tackle: Romney Fuga, Sr.

Backup NT: Simote Vea, Sr.

Right End: Russell Tialavea, Sr.

Backup RE: Ezekiel Ansah, Sr.

Note: Ian Dulan, a senior, is having back problems or he would likely be listed as at least a backup.

Strongside LB: Spencer Hadley, Jr.

Backup SLB: Alani Fua, Soph.

Mike Linebacker: Uona Kaveinga, Sr.

Backup MLB: Zac Stout, Soph.

Buck Linebacker: Brandon Ogletree, Sr.

Backup BLB: Manoa Pikula, Fr.

Weakside Linebacker: Kyle Van Noy, Jr.

Backup WLB: Jherremya Leuta-Douyere, Fr.

Field Corner: Jordan Johnson, Soph.

Backup FC: Micah Hannemann, Fr.

Backup FC: Robbie Buckner, Sr.

Note: Buckner revealed recently that he had testicular cancer, which caused him to miss most of preseason camp.

Boundary Corner: Preston Hadley, Sr.

Backup BC: Skye PoVey, Jr.

KAT Safety: Daniel Sorensen, Jr.

Backup KAT: Craig Bills, Soph.

Free Safety: Joe Sampson, Sr.

Backup FS: Mike Hague, Sr.

Note: Look for Cougars to play a lot of nickel (five defensive backs) in order to get Bills on the field. Also, Hague could play some corner, if needed.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Punt Returner: JD Falslev, Jr.

Kicker Returners: Cody Hoffman, Jr. and JD Falslev, Jr.



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