SECONDARY SPOTLIGHT: All eyes are directed toward the BYU defensive secondary this week in the wake of the fatal auto accident that claimed the life of JC transfer Terrence Harvey, who started at cornerback against SMU last week.
Also injured in the rollover were cornerbacks Tony Fields and Roderick Foreman. Fields, a junior who was driving the car, was treated and released; he will not play Friday against Utah State. Foreman required surgery Tuesday for his crushed right hand and is lost for the season.Jack Williams, who started the season opposite cornerback Ben Cook but missed Saturday's game in Dallas with a recurring hamstring injury, has participated in light workouts. BYU trainer George Curtis says the likelihood of the JC transfer playing Friday is 50-50.
Senior safety Chris Ellison was scheduled for exploratory surgery Thursday on his knee, injured early in the season opener against Washington. Ellison had sought a second opinion in California last week. He'll be granted a redshirt season.
One bright spot in the secondary - the return of standout cornerback Omarr Morgan, who completed his three-game suspension for an unspecified Honor Code violation.
HAR-LONG'S HERITAGE: They're calling Weber State receiver Tyler Harlan "Har-long" because of his long pass receptions this year. He's averaging a remarkable 24.1 yards on 15 catches, including touchdown receptions of 76 and 68 yards.
Harlan has a great background as a Wildcat. His father, Sessions Harlan, was a standout basketball player under Phil Johnson, while his mother is the sister of former Wildcat receiver Phil Tuckett, now the vice president of NFL Films Inc.
T-BIRD TEST: The most surprising team in the state this year is Southern Utah, which has already equaled last season's win total with a 4-1 mark. The T-Birds are ranked 28th in the latest Division I-AA poll and could move into the top 25 with a win over No. 8-ranked Western Illinois Saturday in Cedar City. "We'll find out whether we're for real this week," said first-year coach Ray Gregory.
INOFFENSIVE AGGIES: Back in August, Utah State coaches were excited about their offense and concerned about their defense. In the first scrimmage, the No. 1 offense ran all over the No. 1 defense, scoring on six consecutive series. However, four games into the season, the tables have been turned. It's the offense that's a concern, while the defense has been a pleasant surprise.
The defense has given up just 260 yards per game - the fewest yards USU has allowed since 1966. In total defense, the Aggies rank 11th in the nation.
On the other hand, the offense, which usually hovers around the top 10, is just 44th in the nation. "Our offense has not played anywhere near what we expected. We are not in synch," said USU coach John L. Smith.
IDENTITY CRISIS: Dallas newspaper reporters couldn't correctly play the name game with BYU starting quarterback Kevin Feterik. The sophomore southpaw was sometimes referred to as Jason and other times as Feretik.
PIONEER BYU: "They were probably the originators of the collegiate passing game as we know it today," former Arizona State coach Frank Kush said of BYU and Cougar coach LaVell Edwards. "The guy from Florida (coach Steve Spurrier) gets the credit, but BYU was ahead of everyone else in the collegiate game. They were throwing to backs, running option routes, using different blocking schemes."
MISSED OPPORTUNITY: With a 138.5 average per game, Utah State runing back Demario Brown should be among the nation's leaders in rushing. However, because he sat out two games with an injury, Brown doesn't qualify for the official national stats, where he would rank 10th this week. A player needs to play in 75 percent of his team's games to be eligible, which means Brown won't be eligible to be in the national statistics until after the Aggies' eighth game, Oct. 25 at Idaho.
TOO-TALL LINK: Utah's offensive line has had four injuries at left guard this season, meaning others have had to shift positions to fill in. Junior offensive tackle Jay Link (6-foot-8, 281 pounds) isn't one of them. "I'm too tall to bounce inside. I'm pretty secure," he says.
GUARD SHORTAGE: Utah's latest left-guard injuries were sprained ankles to Nate Sybrowsky and Hema Katoa in the UTEP game. Freshman Sam White has taken most of the work in practice at the position, "but both Katoa and Nate will play," says coach Ron McBride. "They're not 100 percent, but they'll play. You got a sprained ankle, you gotta play. You got no choice."
CONVERSION STORY: Offensive-line injuries are forcing Utah to convert defensive linemen. Freshman Doug Kaufusi has moved to offensive tackle from defensive end. The Utes are trying to redshirt him, "but we wouldn't hesitate to play him if we have an injury or something," says McBride. "Kaufusi could be a very good offensive tackle. He's going to be a big-time player. He's got natural feet, natural extension, natural hands; I mean, he could play for us this year. He just needs a little more experience. As time goes on, he could help us at that position, and he's kind of giving us a little breathing room out there."
INJURY CAUTION: "It's a little freaky," says Link about the O-line string of injuries. "You don't think about it, but when you get that many guys dropping, you start trying to be a little more careful. That's usually when somebody ends up getting hurt, when they're trying to be careful."