Spring practice preview: offensive line

With four of the team's five starting offensive linemen returning from last season, there won't be much to sort out along the offensive front this spring. There is one open spot, however, that will be battled for, as well as some other stories we'll be noting throughout the spring practice session.

There is a wealth of experience returning along the offensive front, which will serve the offense extremely well this coming season. Every productive offense needs a strong offensive front, and that is exactly what the coaches look to present this coming season.

The Given

The given along the offensive front comes in the forms of Matt Reynolds (6-6, 322 Sr.), Braden Hansen (6-6, 310 Jr.), Terence Brown (6-4, 330 Sr.) and Braden Brown (6-6, 300 Jr.). All four started throughout last season, and three of the four have starting experience beyond that.

At least three of the four returning offensive linemen will be limited in their participation this spring due to offseason surgeries. How much they'll be able to participate - if participate at all - remains to be seen, but all four of them should be fine come fall when it matters.

The Intrigue

The remaining starting spot remains to be filled, and will be battled for in earnest starting with the spring practice session. While the vacated position is right guard, that won't necessarily be the specific position that fields a new starter.

Coach Mark Weber cross-trains his linemen in an effort to get the best combination of five players, regardless of position, out on the field. It would seem likely that Terence Brown could switch back to right guard after playing center last season.

The primary candidates to fill in at center look to be Houston Reynolds (6-2, 308 So.) and Blair Tushaus (6-2, 275 Fr.). Both players had very promising practice sessions prior to this spring and will now have the chance to legitimately battle for a starting spot.

Walter Kahaialii (6-3, 334 Jr.) is all but a lock to find a spot on the two-deep roster and could very well prove to be the new starter and start at the guard position. Other strong candidates to fill the fifth spot are junior Ryan Freeman (6-2, 275) and senior Marco Thorson (6-3, 327).

New Faces

There will be quite a few new faces this spring, and we'll be noting throughout the practice session how they look to contribute. This list includes such players as (Ryker Mathews 6-6, 285 Fr.), Quin Lawler (6-4, 262 Fr.) and Michael Yeck (6-8, 265 Fr.).

Some recently returned missionaries will also compete for a spot on the two-deep, including Manaaki Vaitai (6-3, 300 So.) and Brock String ham (6-5, 280 Fr.). Two young faces that will hope to compete as well are Famika Anae (6-5, 260 Fr.) - who will be attempting to come back off of an ACL injury - and Manu Mulitalo (6-2, 330 Fr.).

The young players should see plenty of work due to the existing injury issues with the four returning starters. The full-contact work the team is able to do overall could greatly be affected by the lack of able bodies at the position, which seems to be a common thing at BYU during most practice sessions.

Overall, the offensive front looks to be very deep and has a load of talent and experience. There is no reason to believe that this group won't be able to only improve upon their collective stellar play from a season ago.


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