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3 things we learned from BYU football spring camp

BYU has concluded its second spring ball under the Kalani Sitake regime

Southern Utah v BYU

BYU wrapped up its 15th and final spring practice Friday afternoon, highlighted by an Alumni Day that saw more than 400 former players and their families attend the practice.

Here are some key takeaways from practices, as well as other news and notes from the final day.

1. BYU comes out of camp without any major injuries

One of the goals going into spring and fall camp is to come out relatively unscathed. BYU was able to do that during this round of practices.

Other than a season-ending knee injury to backup offensive lineman Jacob Jimenez, BYU avoided major injuries to any potential starter. Coaches have been raving about strength and conditioning coach Nu’u Tafisi, who has made a noticeable difference in BYU players.

Not only has he helped contribute to the health of the team, but coaches have said throughout spring practices that players are faster and stronger than they were in the previous coaching regime. BYU’s switch to a pro-style, more physical offense requires BYU players to be bigger, and Tafisi has delivered results.

2. No running back has emerged

The running back position was one of the areas to watch heading into camp, and it doesn’t appear any running back has emerged from the pack as “the guy” to replace Jamaal Williams.

A committee approach was largely expected and not necessarily a bad thing, but having a guy showcase superior talent is usually the ideal scenario.

One bright spot has been freshman running back Ula Tolutau, who many have compared to former BYU backs Harvey Unga and Fui Vakuapuna. The comparison may seem to be a simple one, since Tolutau is also Polynesian, but Tolutau is a battering ram who does not shy away from contact. If he can shed a few more pounds before the season starts, look for Tolutau to be a major contributor in the BYU offense.

Other backs looking to contribute include Squally Canada, Riley Burt, Trey Dye, KJ Hall, and Kavika Fonua.

3. Leaders have emerged during camp

BYU’s best players haven’t always been leaders/team captains; e.g. Kyle Van Noy and Cody Hoffman. That doesn’t appear to be the case for this team. Coaches and players have reiterated who they believe the team leaders are:

Tanner Mangum, Fred Warner, Tejan Koroma, and Butch Pau’u are probably the four best players on the team. Koroma and Warner are seniors, while Mangum and Pau’u are juniors.

Teams already look to top players because of their play, and it’s even better when they can be looked to as vocal leaders. BYU seems to be in a good place heading into offseason conditioning with players that will keep the team accountable as coaches have less formal contact with players.

Other news/notes:

  • Wide Receiver has been a concern for many, and sophomores Akile Davis and Micah Simon have stepped up after redshirting last season. Simon’s speed has been especially impressive and stood out to many.
  • Recently returned missionary and true freshman Kody Wilstead may redshirt this season. Beau Hoge looks like he will be the backup QB.
  • Statuses for defensive linemen Tomasi Laulile and Sione Takitaki are still unclear going into the offseason. Both have attended multiple practices and observed from the sideline, however.
  • With the depth at cornerback, sophomore Troy Warner may be seeing time at safety in the future.
  • Next important date for BYU football: Media Day will be June 23.