BYU soccer: Publish-spring depth chart— what is going to BYU protection seem like?

Any evaluation or projection of the BYU soccer workforce’s defensive depth chart underneath seven-year defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki ought to start and finish with one easy reminder:

It is bigger than most, and regularly altering.

Sure, there are the standard positions equivalent to proper cornerback, robust security and center linebacker. But there are additionally hybrid spots like “cinco” and “rover” and “flash” that dot the two-deep chart and produce it to fifteen positions. Only 11 guys can play at a time on protection, clearly, however Tuiaki instructed the Deseret News after the ultimate spring apply on March 31 that his protection will proceed to have a number of fronts and embrace a whole lot of completely different packages.

“It’s not a secret,” he mentioned. “If you watch the film, we are a 4-2-5, a 4-3, a 3-4, a 3-3-5, a lot of things. All of our stuff is on film and everybody can see it.”

“We got a lot of the guys who played last year, who were young, but more ready to play by working on technique and fundamentals and tactical football awareness and all that. We got them better and better throughout spring. We are certainly pleased with how it went.” — BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki

In 2021, BYU’s protection obtained off to an important begin, however completed on the mediocre aspect. Injuries to defensive stars Keenan Pili, Chaz Ah You, Payton Wilgar and Max Tooley took their toll, and in some video games in November and December 4 or 5 walk-ons comprised the beginning 11.

The Cougars, who went 6-1 towards Power Five foes however completed the yr with a 10-3 document, notably struggled to cease the run, resulting in close-call wins over Virginia and USC and a deflating 31-28 loss to UAB within the Independence Bowl.

BYU was 74th in whole protection, permitting 388.8 yards per sport, and 51st in scoring protection, giving up 24.6 factors per sport, the worst scoring mark since head coach Kalani Sitake took over and introduced Tuiaki with him from Oregon State.

Against the run, the Cougars have been 73rd — yielding 4.34 yards per carry and 156.8 yards per sport.

The aforementioned gamers missed most or all of spring camp to get better from accidents and surgical procedures, however Tuiaki mentioned they remained concerned and helped out with teaching and practices. He mentioned the complete protection improved.

“We got a lot of the guys who played last year, who were young, more ready to play by working on technique and fundamentals and tactical football awareness and all that,” he mentioned. “We got them better and better throughout spring. We are certainly pleased with how it went.”

Tuiaki mentioned there are place battles that may go on by means of summer time and fall camp, “which I think is a good thing.”

Developing depth was one other level of emphasis, so accidents to top-line gamers don’t have as a lot of an influence as they did in 2021.

“It seems like the same thing every year — our concerns are keeping them healthy, mostly,” Tuiaki mentioned. “If we can stay healthy, and the ball bounces the right way, we have a chance to have a pretty special year.”

Since spring camp ended on March 31, coaches have been reviewing movie of the 15 practices and dealing on post-spring depth charts.

Having revealed our projected post-spring offensive depth chart final week, the Deseret News takes a stab on the defensive depth chart and particular groups depth chart right here:

Can the line of defense be dominant?

BYU’s line of defense was simply OK final yr, not a shock contemplating standouts Khyiris Tonga, Bracken El Bakri and Zac Dawe moved on from the 2020 line that was one of many higher ones in class historical past. This yr, solely Uriah Leiataua departs, which means the group must be pretty strong.

The lack of promising freshman Logan Fano to a knee harm in spring camp will damage; the addition of freshman Aisea Moa will assist, notably within the cross rush division.

“There have been a couple defensive linemen who have really come along well,” Tuiaki mentioned. “Because I work with the D-line, I see that close up. I am really pleased with their progress. The whole defense, I felt like, got better.”

Projected starters (when the Cougars are in a four-man defensive entrance) embrace sophomore Tyler Batty and senior Lorenzo Fauatea on the defensive finish spots, sophomore Caden Haws at nostril sort out and senior Earl Tuioti-Mariner at defensive sort out. Sophomore Fisher Jackson had a pleasant spring and might be the highest man on the exterior finish spot, a place that Moa, a Weber High product, is also utilized at.

Key backups on the line of defense embrace senior Alden Tofa, sophomores Blake Mandelson and John Nelson and juniors Gabe Summers and Atunaisa Mahe, who was held out of spring ball attributable to harm.

Linebackers received’t be a legal responsibility

If the aforementioned Pili and Wilgar return to full energy, and there’s no motive to imagine they received’t, linebacker would be the protection’s energy once more. Wilgar mans what BYU calls the rover place, whereas Pili is the mike and can lead the workforce in tackles if all goes in response to plan.

Olympus High product Ben Bywater, who did lead the Cougars in tackles final yr with 102, is the Deseret News’ projected starter on the will linebacker spot after sliding over and enjoying the mike loads final yr when Pili went down within the Arizona State sport.

“I think everyone is taking it personally upon them to be better,” Bywater mentioned. “So from here on, it is about getting better on our own and in (player-run practices) until we get back with the coaches on Aug. 1.”

BYU linebacker Ben Bywater (33) calls a play after a tackle during the Vegas Kickoff Classic in Las Vegas on Sept. 4, 2021.

BYU linebacker Ben Bywater (33) calls a play after a sort out in the course of the Vegas Kickoff Classic in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Tooley was BYU’s second-leading tackler final yr, with 68, and must be again enjoying the flash linebacker place if all goes properly. Ah You can be within the operating at flash, if he returns from an injury-plagued junior season. Ah You didn’t take part in spring practices.

Senior Pepe Tanuvasa, the Navy switch, is again at mike linebacker after enjoying defensive finish final yr and can spell Pili when he wants a break. Juniors Tavita Gagnier, Josh Wilson, Jackson Kaufusi and Morgan Pyper present linebacking depth.

Bywater mentioned Gagnier, who’s coming off a number of career-threatening accidents, will flip some heads this fall. He additionally talked about freshman returned missionary Michael Daley as one other linebacker to regulate.

Hybrids are right here to remain

BYU’s protection is commonly powered by a number of packages, particularly when the Cougars rush three and drop eight to decelerate unfold offenses and confuse younger quarterbacks. Those so-called “hybrid positions” are referred to as cinco, nickel.

At cinco, sophomore Javelle Brown and senior Matt Criddle are the very best choices, whereas sophomores Jakob Robinson and Caleb Christensen are the nickels. Another high quality hybrid defender, Shamon Willis, is taking a medical retirement.

Another hybrid choice might be redshirt freshman Micah Harper, who began in 2020 however was injured all through 2021. Harper has moved from cornerback to security, however as Sitake says, “We have cornerbacks who can play safety and safeties who can play cornerback.”

Cornerbacks might be the cornerstones

Cornerbacks coach Jernaro Gilford has mentioned the returning group of corners might be top-of-the-line teams he’s had at BYU, and it was bolstered not too long ago when the Cougars landed Vanderbilt sophomore Gabe Jeudy-Lally out of the switch portal. Jeudy-Lally has beginning expertise within the SEC and is the kind of cowl nook the Cougars will want within the Big 12, if not sooner.

Jeudy-Lally will push returning senior Kaleb Hayes on the proper nook spot, whereas senior D’Angelo Mandell is the presumed starter at left nook. Juniors Isaiah Herron and Jacob Boren, who additionally performs nickel, are additionally choices at cornerback.

Searching for some playmaking safeties

Three-year beginning free security Malik Moore, a senior, anchors the secondary and has improved his management abilities to the purpose the place he might be elected a workforce captain, coaches have mentioned. Moore and Robinson led the Cougars in interceptions final yr with three picks apiece.

Moore’s backup at free security popping out of spring seems to be junior Hayden Livingston.

At robust security, sophomore Ammon Hannemann performed properly within the spring and might be the starter there. The aforementioned Harper, from Chandler, Arizona, continues to be studying the spot and might be beginning early within the season if his improvement continues.

“It has been a good spot for him,” Tuiaki mentioned. “With all the young corners that we signed, it will be good. It is a chance to get a good player on the field in different packages.”

Specialists are set

Punter Ryan Rehkow and kicker Jake Oldroyd mix to offer BYU top-of-the-line specialist tandems within the nation. The three-year starters ought to vie for postseason honors, in the event that they get sufficient makes an attempt to qualify.

Oldroyd was 9 of 13 on subject purpose makes an attempt in 2021, whereas Rehkow averaged 48.6 yards per punt, on 40 makes an attempt. Redshirt freshmen Justen Smith and Cash Peterman are their backups, respectively. Smith proved to be particularly priceless final yr as a result of Oldroyd had again points that restricted his appearances.

Sophomores Hobbs Nyberg and Talmage Gunther will deal with the punt return duties, whereas the first kick returners are operating again Miles Davis, defensive again Caleb Christensen and speedster Boren, a junior from Highland High in Salt Lake City.

Austin Riggs and Britton Hogan are again to deal with lengthy snapper duties, whereas Rehkow is a high quality holder for his good good friend Oldroyd when he’s not blasting punts.

BYU’S projected protection and particular groups depth chart, 2022


Starter — Backup

DE 92 Tyler Batty (So.) — 93 Blake Mangelson (So.)

NT 95 Caden Haws (So.) — 62 Atunaisa Mahe (Jr.)     

DT 91 Earl Tuioti-Mariner (Sr.) — 94 John Nelson (So.)

SE 55 Lorenzo Fauatea (Sr.) — 98 Gabe Summers (Jr.)

OE 53 Fisher Jackson (So.) — 58 Aisea Moa (Fr.)

WILL 2 Ben Bywater (So.) — 13 Jackson Kaufusi (Jr.)       

ROVER 34 Payton Wilgar (Jr.) — 27 Tavita Gagnier (Jr.)

MIKE 41 Keenan Pili (Jr.) — 45 Pepe Tanuvasa (Sr.)

FLASH 31 Max Tooley (Jr.) — 3 Chaz Ah You (Sr.)

CINCO 19 Javelle Brown (So.) — 17 Matt Criddle (Sr.)

NICKEL 0 Jakob Robinson (So.) — 4 Caleb Christensen (So.)

LC 5 D’Angelo Mandell (Sr.) — 11 Isaiah Herron (Jr.)

RC 18 Kaleb Hayes (Sr.) — 13 Gabe Jeudy-Lally (So.)

FS 12 Malik Moore (Sr.) — 28 Hayden Livingston (Jr.)

SS 22 Ammon Hannemann (So.) — 1 Micah Harper (Fr.)

Special groups

Starter — Backup

PK 39 Jake Oldroyd (Jr.) — 37 Justen Smith (Fr.)         

P 24 Ryan Rehkow (So.) — 99 Cash Peterman (Fr.)

KR 19 Miles Davis (Fr.) — 20 Jacob Boren (Jr.)

PR 23 Hobbs Nyberg (So.) — 36 Talmage Gunther (So.)

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