“Yeah, it’s not even the same,” said Peck. “A couple of springs ago when we would play, the defensive line would beat the offensive line every rep, and that’s not an exaggeration when I say that. This is a completely different offensive line this year. They not only know the offense, but they’re just different players who are mentally tough.
“They’re a lot bigger, a lot stronger, and a lot more experienced and that’s good for us as a defensive line because it makes us better. When I line up I go against Kyle Johnson and De’Ondre Wesley every rep and it’s a constant battle. I get them sometimes and they get me sometimes so it’s good.”
Peck remembers two spring camps ago how much the defensive line could push around the offensive line. Times have changed.
Not this past spring but two springs ago the D-line would win every rep,” said Peck. “We would do one-on-ones and do drills in team and the D-line would win every rep against the O-line. That has changed and it’s completely different. Now it’s a battle.”
The progress of the offensive line from last spring to fall camp has even been noticeably different. More and more, the underclassmen are beginning to catch up with the more experienced players, adding more quality depth as time wears on.
“From this past spring to now in fall camp, this is a completely different offensive line,” said Peck. “I think the reason behind this is because of time and that they’ve gotten to know the offense. I also think that they’ve now had time to grow up and become the group of linemen they are now.”
“Right now it’s me, Travis [Tuiloma], and Graham [Rowley] with the ones,” said Peck. “It’s been really good playing with those guys. You know, people will call Travis and Graham younger guys, because they are just back from their missions, but those guys have played a lot of football. I look at those guys as being the same as me to be honest with you. They’re guys that know what they’re doing and they know the defense.”
“Yeah, it’s been really tough going up against [the offensive line] because they all seem to know what to do,” said Tuiloma. “It’s a lot different than before because they battle every play to win, which is a good thing for us as a defensive line.”
The Defensive Line
While Rowley, Tuiloma, and Peck are busy holding down the starting positions for now, there are guys making a push that will receive playing time this year.
“You do have younger guys that are going to have to step up and I think they will,” Peck said. “You have guys like Kesni [Tausinga] who is going to help us this year. He keeps battling an injury (foot). Then you have Marques [Johnson] and as soon as he can get back after that one game, he’ll be as good as they come. Then we’ve got to get Jaterrius [Gulley] healthy and out there playing. With TK [Theodore King] and Tomasi [Laulile], we’ve just got to get them ready to play.”
Last season BYU’s defensive line fared well despite only having one player with any real playing experience in Eathyn Manumaleuna. Bronson Kaufusi and Remington Peck were both fairly new to the trenches. This season it will be much different.
“You know last year it seemed like the only guy with experience was Eathyn [Manumaleuna],” said Peck. “I mean you had Bronson [Kaufusi] and I on the edge and then you would have Marques Johnson come in. To be honest we hadn’t really played that much football before then. We played a few reps the year before, but the good thing now is with us three [Rowley, Tuiloma, Peck] and Marques we all have playing experience under our belt. We’ve all played a lot of football, and so I think it will be good. The other difference will be depth. Last year with Eathyn we had only four guys that played, but this year we’ll have around seven, eight, or nine guys that will be traveling. It will be good because we’ll have guys that can come in and not miss a beat when rotating in.”
Nick Howell pointed out the leadership of Peck last Friday during interviews. Peck, who is a junior, has taken on the role of a leader by simply trying to let his actions speak louder than words.
“It’s been a little bit different you know and to be honest I’m kind of the older guy on the defensive line now,” said Peck with a chuckle. “It kind of feels weird, you know? You had all these guys on the D-line that you looked up to, and now you find yourself in that very same position. It’s been good though and there’s a culture here on defense that everyone talks about. Really I just try and carry that over. I mean people can talk, and we do have guys that talk, but I just try and lead by example. You just play as hard as you can, and try and help out the younger guys, and do your assignment.”
This season, Peck’s personal goals are simple. He wants to enjoy his junior season with a different perspective in mind.
“I think my personal goals this year is to just enjoy the process a little more,” Peck said. “I think we sometimes we take for granted what we have and what it means to play football here. A lot of times it’s about the grind rather than just enjoying it and being happy that we’re here paying D1 college football. My goal is to enjoy the process and not take what we have for granted.
“As a team I think our goal is to be the best we can be. I think this team athletically, and at individual positions, has a lot of skill and potential. It really just depends on how hard we’re willing to try and make things happen.”
Making a Statement
When it comes to the unsung hero who is rising up and making a name for himself, walk-on Logan Taele just might be that player. Taele has been receiving praise from players and coaches alike for his play during fall camp and that could lead him to seeing some playing time this season.
“I would have to say Logan Taele,” Peck said when asked to name a player. “He’s just kind of a guy who doesn’t say much, has been a walk-on his whole career, and just kind of goes about his business. From what the coaches have said, and what I’ve seen, he seems to be right in the mix this year. I think he’ll get a lot of playing time.”
Coach Tujague Speaks
BYU Offensive Line Coach Garret Tujague chimes in with his views of how the offensive line is progressing. He talks about the personalities of his guys and what he wants from his group of offensive linemen. To listen to Coach Tujague, click the link below.
Coach Tujague Audio