Saturday night, after suffering a 45-19 loss to Washington, Micah Simon was witness to another loss.
Simon was there when BYU’s starting running back Ty’Son Williams got the call. The results from an MRI scan Williams were back: he tore his left ACL.
Suddenly, what the graduate transfer thought would be his final season came to an end. There's still no news on whether Williams will choose to seek a hardship waiver to be eligible to play one more year.
“I just kind of put my arm around him and sat next to him at home for a little while until his mom came home,” Simon, who lives with Williams, said. “We just really kind of sat there and just talked over some things.”
During Saturday’s game, with less than a minute left in the first half, Williams went down after a 16-yard reception. And stayed down with an apparent knee injury. After being attended to by trainers, Williams walked off the field.
During the post-game conference, coach Kalani Sitake didn’t have any news on Williams’ condition, but did confirm other news: linebacker Zayne Anderson was out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.
Although Williams received the news Saturday night, he didn't make it public until Sunday afternoon when he made his announcement on Twitter.
“It was tough for me to see him in that state of mind,” Simon said. “As a friend, as a brother, as a teammate, I was just sick to my stomach. But we have a lot of great people on this team and this program that care for him and that'll love him up and lift him up. And he'll bounce back. He'll be back.”
Williams, who came in from South Carolina and had previously played for North Carolina as well, quickly became a key role on the Cougar's offense.
He rushed for 264 yards on 49 carries and three touchdowns, adding another 47 yards on seven receptions in BYU's first four games.
But besides racking up stats, Simon said he really connected with the team personally.
“He’s himself and he can get along with anybody,” Simon said. “He doesn’t try to be a different type of person — he’s Ty’Son. And he gels really well with the people on his team and earned the respect from everybody quickly with the way he works and the way he carries himself.”
Now, Sitake is in a similar situation as he's been with Anderson, but on the other side of the ball. He's having to rely on depth to fill the void left by Williams.
In the second half against Washington, BYU saw, most notably, Emmanuel Esukpa and Lopini Katoa step up. Esupka rushed for 49 yards on nine carries while Katoa added 13 yards on five carries.
For now, Sitake feels confident he has enough depth to cover the loss of Williams. It just comes down to finding the right player for the starting position.
Esukpa and Lopini are in the running for the role, but so are guys like Sione Finau and Tyler Allgeier.
“The goal is we’ve got to be deep in a lot of different positions and let them compete,” Sitake said. “We’ve had to go into out depth a little bit so far this year and unfortunately lost a couple of great players, starters, for us.”
Even though they will not be playing the remainder of the season, Sitake made a point of saying that Williams and Anderson are still on the team. They will continue to contribute, just in a different way.
Anderson only played in the first two games of the season after coming back from last-year’s season-ending injury. He will have surgery on his shoulder.
Defensive back Austin Lee said both Anderson and Williams will continue to serve as great role models.
“It’s so easy for them, or someone, to be devastated and mad, but those guys have had really good energy, good vibes about them and they care most about the team and for us succeeding,” Lee said. “And they’ve been great leaders for us. They’re just great men and they have a bright future ahead of them because of it.”