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Top BYU Football spring story lines to watch

Football is here!

NCAA Football: Utah State at Brigham Young Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Spring football is here!

Day one is in the books, and good news: we have no new injuries to speak of (let’s keep it that way all the up to August 29).

Here are some of the top story lines to watch from spring football.

Who will be Zach Wilson’s Backup?

Zach Wilson is the unquestioned starting QB, but he won’t be throwing during spring as he recovers from minor shoulder surgery. Jeff Grimes mentioned that they are splitting reps “between three guys right now” — those three guys are Jaren Hall, Joe Critchlow and Baylor Romney. Hall got a few snaps at QB last year, and was the third string QB last year after Wilson and Tanner Mangum.

Hoge may give QB one more shot before before staying at running back, and Joe Critchlow brings experience to the group. Romney, the older brother of WR Gunner, redshirted last year and is a dark horse candidate to move up the depth chart.

We’ve seen the backup QB in just about every season during the independence era, so this will be one of the battles to watch moving forward.

Which running backs will emerge?

Lopini Katoa is the number one back, but the spots behind him are open and unproven. Names to watch include Tyler Allgeier, Sione Finau, Morgan Pyper and Kavika Fonua. BYU is also in the mix for South Carolina grad transfer running back Ty’son Williams, who rushed for 328 yards and 4 TDs last season for the Gamecocks. Rice grad transfer running back Emmanuel Esukpa could still be a possibility as well. Ula Tolutau isn’t at BYU right now, but there is still a chance he could be on the team with fall camp rolls around. BYU will likely add at least one new face to the group before fall camp that can come in and contribute right away.

Katoa is a good back with proven production, but he’s had some injury problems and isn’t the type of guy you expect to get 25-30 touches a game. Having one of the young guys separate themselves would be huge coming out of spring ball.

Who are the linebackers?

Zayne Anderson is back at outside linebacker after playing 4 games last season and redshirting, but the other two starters and the rest of the two deep are still up for grabs. Isaiah Kaufusi really came on late last year and is almost guaranteed to start at either MLB or the other OLB spot opposite Anderson.

More Kaufusi’s are always a good thing, and coach Ed Lamb has spoken highly of Jackson Kaufusi, who could be a possibility to start at middle linebacker. Other names to watch this spring are former 4-star recruit Chaz Ah You, Hirkley Latu and Max Tooley.

Can the defensive line become a strength of the team?

BYU has had some good defensive lineman under Kalani Sitake, but they have often struggled to get a consistent pass rush and put pressure on the quarterback. Gone is Corbin Kaufusi at DE, but BYU returns a lot of beef on the inside with Khyris Tonga, Bracken El-Bakri, Lorenzo Fauatea, Zac Dawe and Austin Chambers.

At defensive end, experienced Trajan Pili is back along with some promising young guys. Devin Kaufusi got some valuable starting experience at the end of the season, and former highly touted recruits Langi Tuifua and Alden Tofa are due for breakout seasons. If BYU can get good production from at least two of D Kaufusi, Tuifua and Tofa, the defensive line should be able to generate one of the better pass rushes BYU has seen in years.