Suddenly, BYU's defensive line, which was one of the deepest units on the team entering the season, is a bit thin.
The Cougars announced Friday afternoon that senior defensive end Eathyn Manumaleuna suffered a torn patella tendon in his left knee during the 7-6 loss to Boise State on Thursday and "will be out 6-12 weeks."
The same announcement also says "he will likely miss the rest of the season."
Before the game, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said that another defensive end, Mike Muehlmann, has left the program.
And the Cougars are still without senior DE Ian Dulan, who has experienced back pain and related issues and has yet to play in a game.
Friday morning, Manumaleuna's younger brother tweeted out that Eathyn will seek a medical redshirt this season in hopes of returning next year. That's going to be up to the NCAA.
Kudos to Robbie Bullough of BYUtv for getting an interview with offensive coordinator Brandon Doman last night (and also for asking the difficult questions).
When I finally got down to the field last night after filing a couple stories just after game's end to beat deadline, I asked a BYU sports information official if Doman could talk, but was told Doman was already on the bus.
Anyway, here's a quick transcript of Doman's interview:
On the poor start offensively:
I don't know why we can start fast right now. That's something I've got to resolve as an offensive coordinator.
But I don't know that there are many football players that try as hard as these two quarterbacks. ....
There wasn't another football player on the field that played as hard as No. 4 did tonight. We are lucky to have him."
On what's wrong with Riley:
"He's hurt bad. He's fighting through an injury that is significant. He's probably one of the toughest human beings I have ever known.
As a point in the game we realized he wasn't going to be able to give us everything that we needed him to give us, and so we made the change."
On when they decided to make the QB change:
"We almost made it a series earlier. Riley asked for one more drive, and we gave it to him. I've got a great deal of respect for Riley and who he is, and what he represents to this football program. So we let him have that next drive, and he threw a pick on that drive, and that's hard, knowing that you are mounting up the pressure on yourself, and it probably was a little unfair of a situation for him, but great to see Taysom Hill come in as a true freshman and play as physically as he did.
It wasn't a perfect display of offense, but it was pretty gritty.
And I will take grit over anything all day long."
On defense playing so well and losing:
"It is sad. I mean, it makes the job really hard on them. ... We might start winning some football games in some tough environments if the offense would just stop giving the other team some points.
We have done it two weeks in a row. Our defense has done everything they've needed to do to win the games, and offense hasn't done our part."
On the two-point conversion decision:
"The decision to go for two was coach Mendenhall's decision, which I supported all the way. The [play] call was my call. You know, the guy got his fingertip on the ball. Our guard missed his block and so Taysom got flushed backwards. I was hoping that if he couldn't throw it in, he could run it in.
But that wasn't the case. The guy dove parallel to the ground and made a heckuva play. It is similar to the ball bouncing off the goalpost last week. I don't why it bounced off the goal post last week. I don't know why the guy got a fingernail on the ball. But probably due to the fact we made just enough mistakes to take ourselves out of having a chance to win."
On who will be QB next week:
"I don't know that we have a decision to make. It is all dependent on Riley's health, and whether or not he can play like he is capable of playing. He's got to be able to play Riley Nelson football. If he can't play Riley Nelson football, then we will have to go to an alternative plan. But I am not worried about those decisions. I just want to get him healthy and then, ultimately, whether Riley or Taysom is playing, we can't make the mistakes we made."
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