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The BYU Offensive Line is Key

17 August 2010 Brett Richins 14 Comments
Matt Reynolds BYU OT

Matt Reynolds BYU OT

If you want to be able to predict how well a college football team will perform,  look at two key indicators:

A) Experience at quarterback

and

B) Experience on the offensive line

If you can check both A and B, your team will probably have a very good season. In BYU’s case it’s almost always a memorable one.

Since the Cougars will begin the 2010 campaign with little-to-no experience at QB, their saving grace will be the “big uglies” (the word uglies is use with a great deal of reverence) on the offensive line.

BYU returns four of  five starters from last years team that helped the Cougars finish 2009 as the 17th best passing offense in the land and the top team in the country in third-down-conversion percentage.

Last year the Cougars started the season razor thin on the offensive line. Injuries had taken their toll to the point that BYU began the season against Oklahoma with just seven healthy offensive lineman, and that’s if you counted Matt Reynolds (6-6, 322 Jr) who started the year with a broken hand as one of the healthy.

Outside of Reynolds, the offensive line entering 2009 had little starting experience.

It’s just the opposite in 2010 though. The Cougars are deep, experienced and healthy. Between the five starters the Cougar have 65 combined starts under their belts on the offensive line. An impressive number, made even more impressive by the fact that only Nick Alletto (6-6, 325) is a senior.

Matt Reynolds is a bonafide All-American candidate at left tackle and has started every game (26) since he arrived as a freshman, while left guard Braden Hansen started all 13 games and was tabbed as a freshman All-American following last season. This year you would be hard pressed to find a better collegiate left tackle and guard combo anywhere in America.

The only graduated player on the O-line, RJ Willing at center, is being replaced by Terance Brown (6-3, 330 Jr) who started every game last year at right guard.

At that guard spot, Brown is being replaced by Alletto (although he is being given a run for his money by Jason Speredon) who started 11 games at right tackle in 2009.

Alletto’s replacement at tackle is the athletic Braden Brown (6-6, 300 So) who saw action in every game last year, starting two games for Alletto and essentially beating Nick out for the starting position this year. Add all of that up and you get one of the best offensive lines anywhere.

Then consider the depth of talent behind that starting five:

Jason Speredon (6-6, 308 Sr)

Jason can and has played virtually every position along the line and is battling in fall camp to become the starter at right guard. If he doesn’t beat out Alletto, he is a guy you could plug in anywhere along the line. His flexibility gives the Cougars a number of back-up options. It is too bad that he has been so slowed by injuries during his career.

Walter Kahaiali’i (6-3, 334 So)

Walter can play both guard and tackle. He backed up Ray Feinga at right guard as a freshman in 2007 and played in 11 games. He’s currently running with the twos at tackle even though he is recently back from a mission. Kahaiali’i has a very bright future at BYU.

Jordan Black (6-6, 298 Fr)

Jordan has come in as a true freshman and really made a statement. He is also running with the twos at tackle. He has added a good amount of size even since this spring.

Marco Thorson (6-3, 327 Jr)

You have to love “Moose”. He can play either guard spot and saw plenty of action last year, playing in 12 games. Another guy that coaches have a great deal of comfort in if he is pressed into action.

Ryan Freeman (6-2, 272 Jr)

Freeman is another player that can fill in in the interior of the line. He played in 10 games last season as a sophomore.

Houston Reynolds (6-2, 308 Fr)

Houston is backing up Terance Brown right now at center. There is little doubt that there will be another Reynolds starting for the Cougars before Houston’s career is over. Reynolds could also play guard as well.

Blair Tushaus (6-2, 275 Fr)

Tushaus is another true freshman showing well in camp. He has given Houston Reynolds a run for his money at back-up center. The Cougar coaches see him as a true center and he will probably play his entire career there.

In all there are 11 or 12 players that the Cougar coaches can rely upon in 2010, with more talent coming down the pipeline.

Other players either in camp, returning from missions this fall, or returning over the next year or two include Manu Mulitalo, Manaaki Vaitai, Brock Stringham, Micheal Yeck, Terry Alletto, Tui Crichton, Ryan Mulitalo, Fono Vakalahi and Brad Wilcox.

The BYU coaches have done quite a job of stockpiling talent along the offensive front. The future appears to be extremely bright in the trenches for the Cougars for many years to come.

Welcome to the Deep Shades of Blue Community!

14 Comments »

  • guitarperry said:

    Is anyone else surprised that Jordan Black is doing as well as he is? Didn’t he say that he was now over 6-7? Is the BYU offense to complex for a freshman to play on the line?

  • Ben said:

    Brett:
    Lots of talk today on Twitter about BYU considering going Indy and possibly looking at announcing such soon. Any truth or more Twitter rumors?
    Fox Sports and CBS Sports guys have mentioned it now…

  • Seasider said:

    There’s also Famika Anae who unfortunately suffered a knee injury in Spring camp that will probably keep him out of action till next year.

    Staying healthy will be the key factor in how well this years O-line performs. Their real test will come against TCU who have kind of embarrassed them the last 2 seasons with their speed pass rushers and blitz packages. Looking forward to another solid season with this group of guys.

  • Cameron said:

    I think it’s great that the starters are doing so well but I’m a little concerned about the drop off in performance of the back-ups. It seems like the reports from camp usually include several sacks against the back-ups. Maybe I’m just reading too much into it.

  • dholt said:

    Brett,

    As someone who was involved with BYU-TV can you give us anything on the BYU’s INDY bid? Please shed some more light on this. Thanks.

  • Seasider said:

    Brett is probably working on an article about the BYU indepdendent thing as we speak. Whether it’s true or not, it has put places like Cougarboard in a frenzy.

  • Ben said:

    SL Trib reporting BYU officially going indepedent. It’s been confirmed.
    Will be interesting to see BCS negotiation.

  • cory said:

    ESPN has reported that BYU is considering going independent for football and going to the Wac for the rest of the sports. They have until sept 1 to decide.

  • Attu AK said:

    Excellent move by BYU to go independent and tie in with the WAC. A few weeks ago Dick Harmon wrote an article about BYU’s HD broadcasting capabilities, which combined with their distribution channels on Dish and Direct TV, made for a compelling reason to go the independent route. I think this is great as it allows BYU to take advantage of their nationwide fan base and work to generate their own TV revenue. Plus, I love the connection to the WAC and would hope that maybe AFA or some other MWC schools follow them, not to mention the possibility that BSU may pull back and head back to the WAC. Very exciting…

  • Converted Cougar said:

    I love the idea of going Independant, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. TV revenue is great, but the real money is in winning games. The BCS deal, if it goes down, will be one of the key components to BYU’s sucess in every area of it’s program. It will be harder to draw top recruits if we are only facing lack luster competition and have a very small shot at playing in a BCS game. Let’s hope they can get a similar deal to Notre Dame, and continue their sucess in recruiting. By the way, I would love to see BYU play Norte Dame every year in a real “Holy War” game. I would be saving my pennies every other year to head to South Bend!

  • Converted Cougar said:

    And on the article topic, out O Line will be dominant for years to come. Great young talent and amazing coaching staff. The guys love Coach Weber. And, we just got Ryker Matthews to committ. We are looking great!!!

  • Woody said:

    My only negative comment is, boy does Matt Reynolds have a gut on him. I don’t know how he can be a 1st rounder carrying that much weight around his middle even though I have seen some NFL pro-bowlers in the same condition; I remember John Tait who is 6’6″ 312, drafted No. 14 in the 1st round of the 99 draft and he was more chiseled. I am more impressed with players like Travis Bright who won the Strongman award here & holds the bench press record. It will be interested to see how Matt does in the 225 Lb bench press.

  • guitarperry said:

    In the practice video Matt Reynolds looks a lot leaner as does the rest of the offensive line. Maybe they were using that new HG (hide gut) technology we have heard so much about. For those who have actually seen him and the rest of the line, how do the really look? Why is it so hard to get a running game and why so many sacks in practice if these guys are sooo goooood? Is the new defensive line just tooo awesome? Should we worry?

  • guitarperry said:

    Am I wrong to think that the veteran offensive line should be able to blow some holes open for the running game a lot better than they are? Does the defense have an advantage because they practice so much against the offense that they can anticipate the plays? Or, does it just take more time for the offense to get it together? Either our defense is super good (which I doubt) or the line has a lot of work to do. Look out here comes Washington!

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