Crichton moved to offensive line

With many Cougar offensive linemen nursing injuries, the line has had to do some creative shuffling throughout the season. Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Tui Crichton was even pulled from the defensive side of the ball to help shore up the offense and could see playing time on Saturday against Georgia Tech.

BYU had a lot of depth across the offensive line heading into this season. Halfway through the season, that's no longer the case.

"I mean, we've been playing some guys, and those teams in those leagues have depth of talent and they suffer the same injuries that we suffer," said Coach Doman. "But, they probably have a little more depth behind those guys that are getting banged up, so you don't see maybe quite as much of a drop off. That will come in time with us."

Coach Weber has had enough lineman depth to be able to shuffle around players as needed, but what has happened to the offensive line this year is sort of what had happened to the tight end position last year.

"Fortunately, we've had enough depth to where we can sort this thing out, but we've had seven offensive linemen go down since fall camp started," said Doman. "We came in with about 15 or 16 guys, but we've had some go down. It's just some rare stuff and some of them came in with some preconditioned injuries that have sidelined them for their careers, and then other fluky stuff like with Houston Reynolds. It's more than we've dealt with in the past, but we're playing the game of football and we're dealing with it."

While playing at Timpview High School, Tui Crichton was a two-way player in the trenches. After returning from a mission, Crichton was mentored by defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi. However, this week the 6-foot-3-inch, 343-pound Crichton has been moved over to the offensive line to help shore up that group.

"We've moved Tui Crichton from d-line back to offensive line, and so between Manaaki Vaitai, Solomone Kafu, Blair Tushaus and now Tui Crichton at the guard position, we'll just figure it out.

"Then our two tackles are fighting through all sorts of bang-ups. When you're playing good football teams week in and week out like we have, I mean, we've played some bears this year. We might as well be playing the Chicago Bears."

"We've sent Tui Crichton over to the offensive line now to help out over there," said Steve Kaufusi. "He wasn't playing for me this year, but I like his size and his physical play, so I think he can help them over there on the offensive line."

This Saturday against Georgia Tech, the interior of BYU's offensive line will face one of the biggest defenders they'll see all season in T.J. Barnes, who comes in at a whopping 6 feet 7 inches and 345 pounds

"Well, we needed a guard, and with someone 6'7", 345 pounds, we need someone to help with a double team and hold those defensive tackles down there with Georgia Tech and Notre Dame," said Coach Doman. "These are some teams with real big, physical guys, and so we felt like Tui could give us some more physical, stout presence in the middle down there. We'll simplify and dumb down what we're going to do."

Coach Doman has been impressed with Crichton's rapid acclimation to his new position.

"So, far he's looked good," said Coach Doman. "He moves around really well and he understands what he's doing and I think he'll go in there and do just fine."

One reason for Crichton's quick adaptation could have something to do with having played on the offensive line in the past.

"He played a year of offensive line, so he played for Coach [Weber] for a year," said Coach Doman. "Really, he knows that position really well from before. He just lacks all the volume, but so did Solo [Kofu] and he's doing fine. Manaaki and Solo and Tui will be in there a little bit together, and then you'll see Blair and the other two guys and we'll see what's working for us."

There is a good chance that Crichton could see playing time against Georgia Tech this Saturday.

"I don't see why he's not going to play," said Coach Doman. "I would suspect he'll get in there and play. Yeah, I suspect he'll get in there and play on Saturday, absolutely. Let's go. Let's go. He'll play and I can't imagine him not. He's taking a lot of reps out of practice and I suspect he'll get in and play."

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