BYU football will be without a pair of defensive tackles for the remainder of the season according to reports out of Provo today. Salt Lake Tribune beat writer Jay Drew confirmed with BYU that senior Travis Tuiloma and sophomore Meti Taliauli will be undergoing knee surgery, which will end their seasons. Tuiloma suffered an ACL injury in the Cougars most recent game versus Boise State while Taliauli suffered an ACL injury in the Mississippi State game a few weeks ago.
BYU confirms that DTs Travis Tuiloma and Merrill "Meti" Taliauli will both have knee surgery soon, both out for year.— Jay Drew (@drewjay) November 1, 2016
Tuiloma has struggled with injuries throughout his career and just started his first game of the season coming off of the Lisfranc injury he suffered last season, which caused him to miss several games to start the 2016 campaign. He was expected to be a key contributor this season as he has been in the past, but this injury will likely end his career at BYU. Taliauli was seeing time as a backup and just recorded his first career tackle for loss against Mississippi State.
This is important news because BYU is transitioning from a 3-4 front to a new defensive style, the 4-3 front. This means that another defensive lineman is added to the front seven. To deal with the need for more defensive lineman BYU has had to move some players to positions they have not previously played. Gap control responsibilities are especially important in this style of play and losing two interior lineman who have experience playing in that role could have a negative effect on the defense overall. Depth along the defensive line is important in the 4-3 and BYU's depth just took a big hit by losing Tuiloma and Taliauli.