“Honestly, I would say our three-deep are all going to be contributors and are all going to play,” said Leavitt. “There are guys that are going to help with special teams and then on defense. With us playing as many plays as we do, both offensively and defensively, the more guys that we have, the more rest our main guys will be able to get. They’ll be more explosive, faster, and have more speed on the field at all times basically.”
Robertson Daniel has said in previous interviews that the Cougar secondary will be one of the best in the nation. Whether that’s true or not is yet to be seen. However, Dallin Leavitt believes that the secondary will be one of the best BYU’s ever had.
“From what I’ve seen, and I’ve watched BYU football since I was a little kid, these are the best corners that we’ve ever had,” said Leavitt. “We’ve had some good corners before, but these kids are just different athletes and different players. As a safety I’m grateful to have them out there. I love it.”
Not only is there quality talent in the defensive backfield but the level of competition is high as well, especially at the safety position.
“Oh yeah, everyday we’re competing,” said Leavitt. “Sky [PoVey] is trying to beat me out and Kai [Nacua] is trying to beat him out. Everybody is competing with everybody, but the best part about that is everyone wants to win. It doesn’t matter because we all know we’re all going to play. It’s just a matter of trying to help the team as best we can.”
Leavitt saw his fair share of playing time at the boundary cornerback position as a freshman and at the nickel back position, but he has no preference when it comes to which position he is the most comfortable at.
“Honestly, it doesn’t really matter,” Leavitt said. “Playing football is comfortable and it’s fun. As long as I’m out there I’m happy.”
Because of the flexibility of the 3-4 defense, it isn’t always necessary to pull a linebacker out and substitute him for a defensive back to add a nickel package. Rather, the Sam outside linebacker can drop back and act as that extra defensive back in a nickel package at any given moment. It’s only when added speed is needed that a linebacker is replaced for a defensive back such as Leavitt.
“Well, like last year for example Alani [Fua] played our nickel, but he was our outside backer,” Leavitt said. “A lot of the time I don’t think people realize that we were in a nickel. We do run a lot of nickel, especially depending on the weeks like against Houston and teams that try to spread you out. That way we can get a little more speed on the field. I know we will be playing a lot of nickel, especially if we can stop teams from running on first down.”
The addition of Nebraska transfer Harvey Jackson to BYU’s defensive backfield has proven to be a welcome addition.
“Harvey is a really explosive athlete,” said Leavitt. “He’s a big kid and a really good football player. Having him out here is going to help us add depth and help our team develop as a whole.”
Leavitt has played both safety positions, cornerback and the nickel position. To him there is no favorite position but rather he’ll do what it takes to help the team win.
“I just want to win honestly,” Leavitt said. “I mean, our goal this year is to go undefeated, and if I’m playing nose guard to go undefeated then I’m playing nose guard and that’s what we’re going to do.”
When it comes to Leavitt’s areas of personal improvement, he feels he’s improved mostly in the mental side of the game of football.
“Mentally,” he said. “Mentally and emotionally being able to be out there and play hard and keep everything under control and then trying to start being a leader on this team.”
Coach Mendenhall had personal conversations with Leavitt during the off-season. BYU’s head coach expressed his desires for Leavitt to exert more leadership in the backfield and be that example to his teammates from now on. It’s a role Leavitt is happy to take on.
“Me and Coach Mendenhall have had a lot of talks during the off-season,” said Leavitt. “I think the one thing he’s wanted to see out of me is my emotional development and my mental development, being more mature. That’s what I’m trying to do is lead by example. Daniel Sorensen left last year to the NFL, and what he did best was lead by example. Being a freshman last year watching him, and trying to mimic what he does, has been a huge blessing to me. Now having guys like Craig [Bills] and Sky [PoVey] back there showing me the way has been a huge blessing to me.”