PROVO — Different offensive linemen have been shuttled in and out with the first-team offense all fall. One of them has seen almost every rep with the 1s, however, and it’s not a name a lot of BYU fans are familiar with.
Blair Tushaus, who is now in his third year, has been leading the offense from the center position and doing well.
“Every time I can take reps with the ones they’re meaningful,” said Tushaus. “You have to make them count when you’re there with the first team and I’m trying to do that every day.”
While Houston Reynolds has battled through shin injuries,Tushaus has taken a grand majority of reps with the first-team. Reynolds returned to practice today, but was with the second-team while Tushaus remained with the first-team.
“It’s great to have Houston back and competing,” said Tushaus. “We’re all competing for spots, but we all want what’s best for the team.”
Playing effectively at center involves a lot more than just completing your blocking assignment. The center is charged with recognizing defensive fronts and making the appropriate line calls.
Indeed the center is partly responsible for every successful block for any of the line positions.
“it’s not easy and it takes time to get it down,” said Tushaus. “A few days ago they had me playing at guard and I was amazed at the difference of just going out there and just worrying about your own assignment. It has its own challenges, but you get so used to directing everyone at center that it’s a bit of a nice break.”
Another challenge is lining up against three-year starter Romney Fuga in every practice session. Fuga has provided Tushaus with a trial-by-fire.
“It’s great going against Romney (Fuga) every day,” said Tushaus. “He’s so helpful with everything and he’s such a huge challenge for me to block. I know that I won’t see many defensive tackles better than Romney during the season, so I think if I can block him then I can block pretty much anyone.”
The goal for Tushaus is to retain the starting spot when the team kicks off against Washington State.
“It’s completely in the coach’s hands and all I can do is make sure I’m improving and completing my assignments every day I’m out there,” said Tushaus. “Ultimately we all want what is best for the team, but yeah, I definitely want to start at center this season.”
-Riley Nelson went 5-7 for 27 yards. James Lark went 0-2 and Taysom Hill went 3-3 for 29 yards.
-Braden Hansen saw work with the first-team offense and left guard after passing his conditioning test.
-Ian Dulan sat out practice with Russell Tialavea playing in his spot at defensive end.
-Alex Kuresa fielded punts, but Coach Bronco Mendenhall mentioned after practice that JD Falslev will be returning punts again this year. Kuresa remains a possibility at kick return along with Cody Hoffman, Dylan Collie and Falslev.
-Linebacker Uona Kaveinga was thrown out of practice after laying a big hit on Michael Alisa that Mendenhall termed as “excessive.”
-Walter Kahaialii is done with football due to continuing knee problems. It was announced that offensive lineman Fono Vakalahi intends on transferring.
-Jamal Williams rolled his ankle early on during practice and didn’t complete the session. Mitch Mathews tweaked his shoulder and had a CT scan on it this morning.