Although Travis Tuiloma isn’t participating in fall camp due to a Lisfranc injury (the same injury Taysom Hill suffered) he’s been rehabbing, he’s been dressing but hasn’t participated in fall camp so far. BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said Monday that they won’t force Tuiloma back into action if he’s still not fully recovered.
“A lot depends on his recovery,” Sitake said. “We want to make sure that he gets good, quality reps on the field and that he feels 100 percent, and we will go from there. The medical field is not my expertise, but as soon as he is ready to go, then we will ask him to go and make some plays for us.”
Despite not participating in camp, Tuiloma dresses up and still comes out to practice each day. His views on the new defensive scheme are very positive and one that fits his abilities as a powerful defensive tackle.
“I think that now as a defensive tackle we get to attack more instead of sitting back and reacting, so I think it’s better for us,” Tuiloma said. “I’m enjoying it a lot more because we get to go out and attack rather than just reacting and reading what the O-line is doing.
“This type of defense fits my skill-set more because I can use my strength in one-on-one matchups. Before we were playing gaps and taking up two guys so the linebackers can roam. Now I can use the one or the three technique or whatever to attack the backfield.”
While the base defense has now switched over to the 4-3, there are remnants of the old 3-4 still incorporated within the scheme. The 4-3, it appears, has flexibility aspects within the scheme as well.
“Yeah, there’s still a lot of 3-4 stuff included in our 4-3 scheme,” Tuiloma said. “It’s a mix of the two where you can line up in one but switch to the other. Then you just go from there. I think it really depends on if you have the type of players that can play more than one position.”
In the 3-4 defense the philosophy for the linemen, for the most part, was a hold your gap in an often times double team situation. Tuiloma gives insight into how this requirement took away from the aggression of the lineman.
“Our mindset has changed a lot with the new coaching staff and the new scheme we have now,” said Tuiloma. “Our mindset was focused more on being aggressive up front and attacking. We had to worry about our gaps and getting knocked back. I’m enjoying this a lot more and it’s fun to see.”
An advantage of the new four-down lineman, aside from the extra big body, is the simplicity of the scheme allows for more playmaking. This eliminates over-thinking, providing razor sharp focus.
“It’s gotten a lot better and a lot of that is because it’s gotten a lot simpler,” Tuiloma said. “It’s not as complex and that means you don’t have to think as much. That really helps the young guys because the less thinking you do the faster you can go. That makes you a better player.”
Many BYU fans may have forgotten about Travis Tuiloma’s cousin, Earl Mariner of Topeka, Kansas, who committed to BYU back in 2013 while Tuiloma was serving a LDS mission in Apia, Samoa. At 6-4, 300-pounds, Mariner signed as part of the 2014 class and will be reunited with this cousin Tuiloma in due time.
“He’ll be back in September after serving his mission,” said Tuiloma. “He be back around that time. It would have been really cool if we could have played together, but he’ll be here and on the team soon.”
When Mariner was in high school he could bench 335 pounds and squat 450. His older brother Tomasi Mariner played football at Kansas State. Given BYU’s new defensive scheme, Mariner will be a welcome addition to the team.
BYU fans are can’t wait to see Travis Tuiloma back out on the field to see what he can do, especially in the trenches alongside players like Handsome Tanielu and Tomasi Laulile.