BYU football notes: Cougars will rotate offensive centers early on
Provo • Finally, BYU released its depth chart on Monday for Thursday's football season opener, and perhaps the biggest surprise was at center, where coaches say junior Houston Reynolds and sophomore Blair Tushaus will both likely see time against Washington State.
If so, it will be the first rotating center plan in coach Bronco Mendenhall's tenure.
"It is probably not the ideal, from maybe an execution [standpoint] or taking a snap. But man, the competition has been so tight, between not only centers, but guards," Mendenhall said. " In order to keep our best guys on the field, that is kind of the direction we are leaning."
Reynolds is also listed as a possible starter at left guard, along with sophomore Famika Anae. The other "or" spot on the offensive line is at right guard, where Braden Hansen and Brock Stringham are both listed as possible starters.
Mendenhall said it will be up to offensive line coach Mark Weber to determine how Reynolds and Tushaus shuffle in and out of the game. He acknowledged concern over shotgun snaps and the under-center exchange (BYU does both), but said "we wouldn't rotate them if we thought that was a giant risk. So we are modifying that versus the group we can put out there. So I am saying there is a chance you will see two centers."
For his part, quarterback Riley Nelson said a rotation is fine for now. He said there was just one mishandled exchange in camp, and that was his fault. He said there wasn't a bad shotgun snap all camp.
"My preference would be to stay with the hot hand," Nelson said. "In talking with coach Weber, and coach [Brandon] Doman, I think that's the approach they are going to take.
"But you have to play a couple series in the game to see who has a feel for their defense, and their fronts, and that position. ... But if initially we have to switch I have no problem with it."
More depth chart data
Regarding the depth chart, Mendenhall said "we are set, and comfortable with where it stands at this point." He said there were not any "tough calls" because the large amount of work done in camp enabled coaches to get a good idea of which players will perform the best on game day.
Perhaps the other biggest surprises are at the receiver positions, where the backups to key returners Cody Hoffman and Ross Apo are listed as walk-ons Skyler Ridley and Dallin Cutler.
Dulan out for now
Defensive end Ian Dulan is not on the two-deep chart because his sore back is not quite ready yet, Mendenhall said.
"If it was the last game of the year, and there was no career after it, he might want to risk it," Mendenhall said. "But it is not worth it at this point. We have a long season ahead, and he's just not quite ready."
Wadsworth, other walk-ons join team
BYU announced Monday, the first day of school, that walk-ons OL Andrew Crawford, TE Mike Edmunds, TE Jordan Egbert, DL Garrett Gallinger, LB Ryan Jensen, RB Daniel Lacey, OL Quinn Lawlor, DB Connor Noe, DL Logan Taele, DL Darin Tuttle, DB Michael Wadsworth and WR Jake Ziolkowski have joined the team.
The most notable is Wadsworth, the returned missionary who played at Hawaii before announcing he was transferring to BYU. Hawaii said it would release him to any school but BYU, meaning that BYU cannot give him a scholarship this year.
"Never has happened. Nor will it happen," Mendenhall said when told that Hawaii coach Norm Chow has insinuated that BYU recruited Wadsworth while he was on his mission.
Backup middle linebacker Zac Stout re-injured a sore Achilles tendon in warmups and did not practice Monday .... LB Kyle Van Noy practiced Monday after missing workouts Friday with tightness in his hamstring and is "good to go" for Thursday, Mendenhall said. "There are no issues there."
Twitter: @drewjay Thursday's opener
Washington State at BYU, 8:15 p.m.
TV • ESPN
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