Provo • Three weeks from Saturday, BYU seniors Tejan Koroma and Fred Warner, and juniors Tanner Mangum and Butch Pau’u, will walk to the middle of the field at LaVell Edwards Stadium for the coin toss prior to the Cougars’ season opener against Portland State.
Those four players were announced as team captains for the 2017 season by head coach Kalani Sitake on Friday. Sitake said the captains were chosen by a team vote.
“There are a lot of others that got a lot of votes,” he said. “There are a dozen guys who got votes, but those are the four that got the majority.”
Warner and Pau’u are linebackers and will represent the defense. Starting quarterback Mangum and four-year starting center Koroma will represent the offense.
“For me, it is the biggest honor we can get,” said Warner, who has made 25 career starts and played in 36 games. “It just shows that we put in a lot of work, and it has all paid off.”
Added Pau’u, who had 83 tackles in 10 games last season: “It feels nice to have our teammates have that kind of respect for us.”
Mangum said he assumed he would have a leadership role on this year’s team since last December, and has acted accordingly.
“It is always an honor to be chosen by your teammates, by your peers, the the guys you are surrounded by every day,” Mangum said. “It is a role that I have embraced this whole year. To be chosen by teammates and accepted by coaches means a lot and it is something I am going to appreciate and take advantage of and do the right way.”
Koroma has started all 38 games in his BYU career. The three-time Rimington Trophy watch list selectee has not granted interview requests since rejoining the program last summer.
Injury bug bites McChesney, again
The Cougars suffered their first major injury of training camp earlier in the week when sophomore cornerback Austin McChesney suffered a knee injury. The Lone Peak High product is probably out for the season, Sitake acknowledged.
McChesney played in nine games last season before tearing the ACL in his left knee against Cincinnati. The new injury is in his right knee.
“It doesn’t look too good for him, with the injury,” Sitake said. “He was doing great. He was having a great camp. It is one of the unfortunate parts of the game. It is just sad part. You hate to lose a guy who was on our two-deep [chart] at corner.”
Sitake said the candidates to replace McChesney as Dayan Ghanwoloku’s backup are junior Isaiah Armstrong, junior college transfer Trevion Greene and redshirt junior Michael Shelton. He also said safety Micah Hannemann could play some corner.
Who’s the fastest?
Asked at photo day to name the fastest player on the team, several players referred to junior safety Zayne Anderson.
“Zayne is really, really fast,” running back Riley Burt said. “People sleep on him, how fast he really is.”
Burt, receivers Micah Simon, Akile Davis and Jonah Trinnaman and RBs Trey Dye and KJ Hall were also mentioned as being extraordinarily speedy.
“I ran track in high school,” said Anderson, who prepped at Stansbury Park. “Speed has always been a big part of my game.”
The Cougars will practice at the stadium on Saturday, but there is no media or public access. Sitake said a “big part” of the practice will be a live scrimmage in pads. “It won’t be a game but it will be a ton of reps,” he said. … Running backs coach Reno Mahe said junior Squally Canada and redshirt sophomore Riley Burt have risen to the top of the depth chart at tailback.