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BYU football: Coaches look forward to seeing newcomers perform in fall camp

Chasen Andersen opts out of scholarship, will play at Wisconsin

PROVO — A host of incoming BYU football players joined up with the program earlier this week to begin workouts and prepare themselves for the Cougars' upcoming fall camp.

Because of NCAA restrictions, how those players are acclimating to their new surroundings is unknown and won't be known by coaches until the first day of fall practices. NCAA rules state that coaches cannot observe or even receive word on players' workouts during the offseason.

BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi compared the situation to waiting to open a present on Christmas morning. You anticipate what it's going to be — hoping for a desired gift and not a lump of coal — but you never know until you actually take off the wrapping paper.

"I'm very anxious to see these guys and see what they got," Kaufusi said Wednesday during BYU's media day. "It's an exciting thing for me to have guys come in and to coach them up. It's what you love doing as a coach."

Players such as JonRyheem Peoples, Kalolo Utu and Merrill Taliauli will join with Tuni Kanuch and Marques Johnson in competing for time at nose tackle.

"I need two or three big dudes I can rotate and be comfortable with at nose," Kaufusi said. "If not I'll have to keep Eathyn (Manumaleuna) there, but we'd like to move him to defensive end."

Nose tackle is a key position in BYU's 3-4 alignment and will subsequently receive a lot of attention throughout fall practices.

Meanwhile, the offensive line will also receive a lot of reinforcements come fall, with new position coach Garett Tujague anxiously waiting to find out exactly what he'll have to work with.

The list of incoming players include four junior college transfers (Tim Duran, Edward Fusi, DeOndre Wesley and Josh Carter) and one promising incoming true freshman (Brayden Kearsley.)

So how does Tujague plan to acclimate his incoming players?

"Baptism by fire." he answered. "They got to get in and get their feet wet. There's no standing off on the side. There's no watching and doing that. You got to go out there and do it."

ANDERSEN LEAVES THE TEAM: BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall confirmed Wednesday that Chasen Andersen, the son of Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen, will not join the program this fall after previously signing a letter of intent with the Cougars.

"When he got a taste of what the BYU lifestyle was going to be and the standards he realized it wasn't going to be a good fit for him," Mendenhall said. "His intent will now be to play for his dad at Wisconsin. What I respect about Chasen was he was really honest. ... He realized he'd rather be with his father and that's OK."

As a result, Mendenhall readily granted the 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker from Logan High School a release from his scholarship.

SECONDARY HELP: Mendenhall mentioned that three players — JC transfers Sam Lee and Robertson Daniel along with incoming freshman Dallin Leavitt — will compete for the starting boundary cornerback spot.


Twitter: @BrandonCGurney