BYU football: Will tight ends Isaac Rex and Dallin Holker play in the season-opener at South Florida?
Two of the Cougars’ top pass-catchers are ailing a bit and not quite 100%, but say they could play on Sept. 3 if called upon
Tight end Isaac Rex was disappointed after BYU’s preseason training camp practice on Tuesday, and it had nothing to do with his still-sore right ankle or the fact that the Cougars are ranked just No. 25 in the preseason AP Top 25 poll.
On the former, Rex says it is coming along quite nicely but still not 100%. On the latter, he claimed to not know that fact, then gave an unfavorable opinion on preseason polls in general.
“Why don’t we just do (polls) after the first game?” he said. “… Because you see schools that are like, seven on it, and then they are not on it the rest of the time. I feel like the AP should, just, after the first game, let’s figure it out.”
“I am going to push through it. My ankle may not be 100% until the 12th game or until the bowl game, but who cares? I am out here playing football and having a good time.” — BYU tight end Isaac Rex.
The reason for Rex’s disgust is that defense got the better of the offense for most of the day, particularly the last period that was viewed by the media.
“It is kinda like a humbling experience sometimes,” Rex said. “Everybody talks about how great you are, how great the quarterbacks, tight ends, running backs, wide receivers, O-line are, but when the defense gets the better of you; So it is like, ‘OK, we gotta get back to the drawing board and work on stuff, look at the film.’
“We will get better tomorrow.”
Rex said in particular BYU’s secondary played well and pretty much shut down the passing attack. The offense did have one nice moment, however, as Jacob Conover threw a touchdown strike to Brayden Cosper on a well-timed crossing route.
“Our secondary, they are legit, and they have a ton of experience under their belt,” Rex said. “Yeah, this secondary at BYU is top-notch this year.”
Regarding his ankle, which was fractured during BYU’s win over USC last November, Rex said he only trusts it 80% of the time and can’t really jump off it.
“But running feels great. Yeah, breaking and cutting feels really good,” he said. “Blocking feels good. It is just that right foot jump is a little hesitant at times. But it is getting there, it is getting close.”
Rex said doctors have told him it will be a year from the time of the surgery that his right ankle will feel exactly like his left. It is a matter of his tolerance for pain.
“I am going to push through it,” he said. “My ankle may not be 100% until the 12th game or until the bowl game, but who cares? I am out here playing football and having a good time.”
Tight ends coach Steve Clark said Rex is ahead of schedule, but not fully healthy.
“Some days he feels really good. Some days it is pretty sore,” Clark said. “Today he felt good so he went. We are still really cautious with him.”
Rex said he rests about one day a week. Occasionally, he will tell coaches he can’t do a particular drill or play, and they are “really lenient” with him.
Clark said Rex’s fellow tight end, Dallin Holker, “has a little bit of a knee injury that we are being cautious about” and is being held out of practices and scrimmages at the present time.
“If we needed Dallin to go, he could go, but we are holding him out just to be careful,” Clark said.
With Rex and Holker missing reps, guys such as Carter Wheat, Lane Lunt and Ethan Erickson are getting a lot of playing time. Erickson in particular had a strong first scrimmage last Saturday at the stadium, coaches said. Rex said freshman walk-on tight end Anthony Olsen, a former basketball standout from Salt Lake City’s Olympus High, has also turned some heads.
“We have a really talented tight end group, especially the young guys,” Rex said. “Ethan and Carter and those guys are very talented.”
Former tight end Ben Ward is now on the offensive line.
BYU’s fall camp roster grows
There are a few new names on the fall camp roster BYU distributed Tuesday. Most notably, Snow College transfer Lisala Tai, an offensive lineman, is on the roster after clearing up some academic paperwork issues.
Punt returner and receiver Hobbs Nyberg is on it again, with the St. George product having joined the team last week after a two-week delay. Other new names include offensive lineman Donovan Hanna and defensive lineman Alema Pilimai.
Junior college transfer cornerback Mory Bamba was at practice Tuesday but is still going through the acclimation process and was not participating. He isn’t on the roster quite yet, but should be soon.
Star flash linebacker Chaz Ah You and kick returner/defensive back Caleb Christensen are also not on the updated roster.