PROVO — BYU football coaches released their post-spring practice depth chart yesterday and it included a few surprises — two specifically. Those surprises included listing Skyler Ridley ahead of Ross Apo, who started all of last season, at wide receiver and listing Tyler Beck ahead of Manoa Pikula at Buck linebacker.
Most of the two-deep generally shook out as indicated by coaches during interviews this past month.
The spring two-deep roster is hardly set in stone until the start of the 2013 season and players will continue to battle for spots come fall. I gave my thoughts on the key position battles fans can anticipate in August here. Jeff Call wrote up a piece on the released two-deep roster here.
Here are some more thoughts regarding some notable developments along the two-deep roster:
It was assumed by just about everyone that Ross Apo would retain his starting status, but coaches certainly sent a message by listing him behind Skyler Ridley coming off of the spring practice session. It was a development no one in the press was anticipating, but it’s not a total and complete surprise based on Ridley’s performance last season and into the offseason.
Ridley is a proven game performer and caught the very first touchdown pass of the 2012 season when BYU squared off against Washington State. He’s not a flashy player, but someone who runs solid routes, has adequate size and speed, and, perhaps most importantly, has good hands.
It’s certainly incumbent on Apo to regain a degree of trust with the new offensive staff and he’ll get ample opportunity to do so this coming August. Apo being relegated to second-string status out of spring certainly adds some intrigue heading into fall and it will certainly be notable how he’ll respond.
Manoa Pikula saw just about every rep at Buck linebacker with the first-team defense throughout March. He was playing well and I believe Tyler Beck being named as the starter has much more to do with Beck making great strides rather than Pikula showing deficiencies with his play.
Beck impressed during the Blue and White game and in the Alumni scrimmage — earning praise from coach Bronco Mendenhall, as a result. Beck has battled injury throughout his career at BYU, but has always practiced well when healthy.
Beck vaulting ahead of Pikula should be considered as a good thing with regards to overall depth and existing talent at the inside linebacker position. Both should continue to battle into the fall which should benefit both players and the overall play at the Buck position.
Terrance Alletto wasn’t widely mentioned as a potential starter before the spring practice session, but he should have been. Alletto made the two-deep roster as a true freshman, which is a huge accomplishment and is quickly regaining his form following his LDS mission service.
Alletto provides a very capable and intelligent presence in the middle of the offensive line — the same attributes he showed out of high school. The new up-tempo offense seems to fit Alletto well and he’s clearly the frontrunner to start at center in 2013, as a result.
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