BYU Football News and Notes

Some pretty interesting developments came out of the BYU camp yesterday. They involve a scheduling announcement, new coaching hire, and the return of a defensive player to practice. Additionally, I am interested to learn what everybody thinks about where Eathyn Manumaleuna should play this season--nose tackle or defensive end.

Scheduling News
BYU announced two more games have been scheduled with Virginia. These games will take place during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. The first game will, again, be played at Virginia with the Cavaliers making a return trip to Provo on the back end of the series. 

This schedule announcement is interesting. Relationships strongly drive scheduling in college football. A quick perusal of the Virginia athletics department staff doesn't show any familiar names of BYU alumni. That makes me curious as to what Tom Holmoe, Bronco Mendenhall, and co. have done to foster such good relations across the country that even before the first game in the upcoming series is played the Cavs are ready to sign on for two more games.

BYU has played Virginia three other times in football, but never less than 10 years apart. After the 1987 All-America Bowl, BYU and Virginia waited until 1999 to play again. The 2013 season opener between the schools comes 13 years after the last meeting in 2000. With the two scheduled series, it will only be five years between meetings.

For more information about the new series, click here.

Coaching News
BYU has given Andrew George added responsibility. He is now a position coach coaching the inside receivers, per a report from George was a graduate assistant last year, and will still be such this year despite having full responsibility for this position.

George played tight end for BYU from 2006-09. For his career, he had 70 receptions for 827 yards and 11 touchdowns playing in the shadow of Dennis Pitta.

Bronson Returns
The BYU basketball team made an early exit from the West Coast Conference tournament. There will be over one full week between the Cougar Cagers' loss to when they learn their post season fate (most likely NIT). In the meantime, defensive end Bronson Kaufusi has returned to football.

Kaufusi is expected to start this coming season. The more time he can be in spring practices and build chemistry with the other defensive linemen the better. Although just a sophomore, the leadership that he can provide this inexperienced bunch will also be valuable.

What to do with Manu?
In case you have missed it, Gorum the Old and I have shared some exchanges about where defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna should play this coming season. As a freshman in 2007, he started every game at nose tackle. In 2011 and 2012, he was playing defensive end.

Bronco Mendenhall is looking for a new nose tackle and defensive end this season. Clearly, Manumaleuna can play both positions, but which would be better? Obviously, if one of the other nose tackles or defensive ends stands out and shows he is the best man at that spot, then the decision is easy. Assuming that doesn't happen, Mendenhall has a decision to make.

I have made the assumption that Manumaleuna will move back to nose tackle. Back in 2010, when BYU had to replace the nose tackle, middle linebacker, and free safety, Mendenhall made comments that those were the three most important positions in his defense. Having the experience and leadership of Manumaleuna at nose tackle seems wise. Plus, coming off a knee injury he may be less mobile.

What about you? What do you think about where Manumaleuna would be a better fit for BYU this season?

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  1. Just conjecture, but is ESPN brokering the additional Virginia-BYU matchups? ESPN has rights to all the games.

    Theory #2 - the LDS Church is considering to acquire Southern Virginia University as a BYU satellite.

    1. Ineresting thoughts. ESPN could be behind the extre UVa games, but I can'tthink of any reason why it would be so appealing to them.

      I would like to see SVU remain independent. Besides the church having many other financial needs, it would be great to see SVU succeed w/o church intervention.

  2. In regards to the UVA series, perhaps the relationship is on the acedemic side? UVA has announced the launching of a Mormon Studies program. Funding for something like that was probably orchestrated by a member of the Church, and most of the donors are probably wealthy members of the Church in the area (there are a few). Those donors may also be exerting some influence to get the BYU football team there. Or, the Church maybe to trying to get a stronger presence there due to the Mormon Studies program, and one way to do that is through an athletic relationship.

    Just a few ideas, which may not amount to much.

  3. I think Bronco would like to keep Manumaleauna at DE. Even if no one distinguishes themselves at DT I could still see Eathyn staying at end.

    Here is why: Size. In a 3-4 defense you need big DL who can take up space and offensive linemen. Look at the past 2 years when BYU's defense has been so dominant.

    In 2011, Manumaleauna was the lightest starting DL. Both Fangupo and and Funga were over 320. Even the back ups were big. Tuiloma was around 320, Rowley about 280, and and Putnam around 270.

    Last year Funga again around 320, Eathyn just under 300. Ziggy at 275, and Tialavea (a former DT then playing end) at just over 270. Kaufusi was only 260, but he played a lot bigger.

    If Manumaleauna goes over to the middle, you have a 290lb DT, a 260lb DE (who admittedly plays bigger than his 260) and 236lb Remington Peck. They could certainly still be a good, or even very good defense, but they won't be able to be the dominate force, especially against the run, that they have been the past 2 years.

    The biggest losers is Eathyn returns to the middle: The linebackers. The DT currently running with the ones is 321 lb Marques Johnson. Who would you rather have between you and 315 lb OL, a 236 lb Peck, or a 321 lb Johnson?

    It is an interesting and difficult decision. DT is a hugely important position, but how much size are you willing to give up to have Manu's experience there?

    Summary: I have no idea where Eathyn will play. There are compelling reasons for him to play both positions (to bad we don't have two of him).

  4. My expectation is that Tuni Kanuch comes in and takes over the spot vacated by Funga. That should leave Eathyn and Bronson as some pretty dominating tackles. I hope there is no injury to foil that plan.


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