PROVO — Not long after BYU’s dramatic win over USC on Sept. 14, Cougar linebackers coach Ed Lamb approached running back Tyler Allgeier and posed a question.

“How would you feel about playing linebacker?” Lamb asked.

Allgeier, a redshirt freshman, didn’t hesitate.

“I was happy,” said the 5-foot-11, 220-pounder from Fontana, California. “I told coach Lamb, ‘Sounds good. Wherever you guys need me, let’s do it.’”

And just like that, Allgeier was a middle linebacker. 

By that night, the team’s video coordinator had sent him film that the defensive players watch. “I just started studying it,” Allgeier said.  

“I’m working for that scholarship. Wherever the coaches need me, I’ll do anything for the team.” — BYU’s Tyler Allgeier

Monday, he walked into the linebackers’ room and was greeted enthusiastically by the other linebackers. Then after three days of practice at his new position, Allgeier found himself on the field at linebacker against Washington last Saturday. 

“I loved the way Tyler was able to play in the game and make a contribution on three days of practice,” said Lamb. “A lot of meeting time and a lot of self-study on his own. He did a terrific job.”

During the game, Allgeier, who, along with Jackson Kaufusi, was listed on the depth chart at middle linebacker behind Keenan Pili, recorded two tackles and a forced fumble. 

“I just saw the guy running and I then I just tackled him,” he said of the fumble. “I read it and made the tackle and made the ball come out.”

In high school, Allgeier played linebacker and running back, so returning to that position was a little like riding a bike — it came back to him quickly. 

“It’s remembering that. It’s changing the focus from running back to linebacker,” he said. “It’s a mindset to play linebacker and I was good from there. Coming from offense, I understand offense. I know where the tight end is going to be. My knowledge of offense translates to linebacker.”

Allgeier appreciated the way his teammates on the defensive side of the ball supported him in his change of position. “Before the game and even during the game, they said, ‘We’ll help you, whatever you need.’” 

Meanwhile, during the 45-19 loss to Washington, running back Ty’Son Williams, the Cougars’ leading rusher, suffered a season-ending knee injury, limiting BYU’s depth at that position. 

There was speculation that Allgeier might be going back to running back.

“The discussion was had this week about whether or not Tyler should get some snaps at running back,” Lamb said. “For now, we’re going to keep him at linebacker. But he’s very much trying to stay up on what we’re doing on offense in case that’s needed at a future time.”

Which position does Allgeier prefer to play?

“It doesn’t matter but I’m liking ’backer right now,” he said. “Whatever gets me on the field. I was already on special teams. Being on offense or defense, it’s fun flying around with these guys. Whatever happens with the running backs, if they need another person, I’ll most likely be back over there. We’ll see.”

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Coach Kalani Sitake said Allgeier’s situation will be evaluated moving forward. 

“If you’re talking about Tyler Allgeier, we’ll see what he looks like this week, but he’s capable of going both offense and defense,” he said. “We’ll just have to see what his role will be on each side and which one is more important to this team in having success.”

As a walk-on, Allgeier is looking to earn a scholarship. Showing his versatility as a linebacker and running back will probably help his chances. 

“I’m working for that scholarship,” he said. “Wherever the coaches need me, I’ll do anything for the team.”

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