New Mexico Question & Answer Queue

It's game day against the Lobos of New Mexico and <b>TotalBlueSports.com</b> tackles some questions inquiring BYU minds want answers to.

What is the rundown of injuries heading into the New Mexico game?

Justin Jory (foot), Manaia Brown (shoulder) and Marcus Whalen (foot) are out for the New Mexico game because of injuries. Thomas Stancil will back up Fahu Tahi and Reynaldo Brathwaite. David Christensen has a slightly separated shoulder and will not return kicks or punts this weekend, but remains in the wide receiver rotation.

Has Matt Berry's finger healed so that he can throw it farther than 25 yards downfield?

It's not clear whether Matt Berry's lacerated finger injury that occurred in preseason is the cause for Berry's deep ball woes. Crowton said this week it was because Berry was hurrying the pass too much and not setting his feet for the deep throws.

What is with Matt Payne's leg? Will he get more air under the ball on kickoffs this week?

Payne was very good on kickoffs last season. Hopefully, it was just a bad game for him. Hard to diagnose if this is a problem with him until he doesn't kick effectively tomorrow or other future games.

How are the new guys like Eddie Keele, Jake Kuresa, Manaia Brown and Ofa Mohetau doing thus far?

Manaia Brown and Jake Kuresa have both lived up to their hype, in my opinion. Kuresa was outstanding against USC last week. He should be one of BYU's best offensive guards ever by the time he graduates.

Eddie Keele got off to a very shaky start against USC, but recovered nicely and had a productive second half. Ofa Mohetau is doing everything expected of him thus far and that's saying a lot, given his expectations. Mohetau doesn't lack for anything physically; it's just learning how to utilize his tremendous physical gifts without hesitation. He should be there within the next three or four games.

Why did we run the option with Berry and not John Beck against USC?

Berry only ran it once and Beck was in for one series. Crowton apparently felt the option wasn't a good idea given USC's speed around the edges.

How is the nose guard rotation determined; seemed as if Ifo Pili got a lot more time against USC?

Daniel Marquardt and Pili got 26 reps a piece and Brown had 20 reps. This may be the case throughout the season as all three have proven very effective when they're in there. This also keeps them fresh late in the game.

Will Stancil get more playing time in this game?

It is likely since he is back up to Brathwaite (who is not 100% recovered from bruised ribs) and Tahi.

Seemed like the back up linebackers saw more playing time against USC, is this true?

It was definitely the case with KC Bills. We said prior to the season you'd see Bills' playing time slowly gradually with every game. You will likely see even more of him tomorrow against New Mexico.

What happened to Aissac Aiono?

Phillip Niu has moved up the depth chart to third tight end in most instances. Crowton is not using the 2-3 tight end formations he used in prior years. Aiono will be in the rotation with Jory out, but Niu is seeing a bit more playing time.

Berry seems to have trouble rolling to his right. Is this a result from his finger injury?

Berry's lacerated index finger is healed and we don't think any struggles he may have rolling to his right are the result of his injured finger.

It seemed as if Bronco Mendenhall was late getting his personnel on the field when USC decided to go for it on 4th and short. Why is this happening, don't they watch who the offense is putting on the field?

Mendenhall watches this very closely and if you'd watch closely, Mendenhall is often late getting his personnel on the field. This is by design to keep the defense off balance. Such was the case in the fourth and short instance against USC last week you're referring to.

You've been high on Tahi, but to me he looks slower than Brathwaite and doesn't slither as well between the tackles. Were you off on Tahi or is he just doing stuff in practice we're not seeing in games?

Brathwaite looks faster than Tahi because he is. Brathwaite is faster than all but two players on the team. He was timed at 4.35 in the forty. Tahi has played well, in my estimation, and I look for him to play well from here on out. Brathwaite has been a pleasant surprise, but I'd hardly say Tahi has been a disappointment.

Is Jake Kuresa going to serve a mission?

Only Jake knows for sure. He has mentioned he plans on leaving after this season. It may be hard for him to leave after starting for a season, especially when he is playing very well. We'll have to just wait and see.

Who are we recruiting to fill the holes that will be left by Ofa and Jake if they both opt for missions?

The most prominent name would be Taitusi Lutui, the 6-6, 370 offensive lineman from Snow Junior College. He recently received a five-star rating from TheInsiders.com national recruiting network. Another player that could fill the void could be Junior Kato, who is due back from his LDS mission in November. Kato may have been BYU's most heralded offensive line recruit until Ofa was signed.

When will you be putting the mission list back up?

Yes. A back-end technology delay is the reason.

What is going on with Eddie Scipio? Is he still going to sign here?

We haven't spoken with Scipio since he committed over the summer. We'll be calling him shortly for an update.

What is the latest on Dontrell Moore?

Crowton stated during Tuesday's media luncheon he believed Moore would be activated for the game, but felt that D.D. Cox would be New Mexico's primary back. The latest reports have Moore's health improving. It will likely be a game time decision.

Is there a penalty system in place for players who are flagged in games for making dumb mistakes?

Yes. Crowton mentioned the player who was whistled for a late hit against the USC quarterback ran some more laps than his teammates during practice. Crowton does penalize players who make mistakes like this.

With Stancil, Whalen and Brathwaite banged up, will we see more of Fui Vakapuna at tailback?

Yes. We feel this will be a game in which Vakapuna will shine. We've been extremely high on his abilities since spring practice and feel he's ready to make some noise. Crowton mentioned last week that he plans on using more two-back sets which most certainly calls for more reps by Vakapuna.

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