PROVO — Lopini Katoa is confident he can shoulder the bulk of the load for BYU this season, given his experience and promising past performances.

And given the somewhat mass of unproven depth behind him at the position, he’ll likely need to rise to the occasion for the position to see success.

“We have two who are head and shoulders above anyone else in Lopini Katoa and Tyler Allgeier. I’m really pleased with the work that they’ve put in and I feel that they’re guys who can do everything.”— BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes

Katoa has seen a lot of reps in his first two seasons at BYU, rushing for 423 yards on an impressive 5.6 yards per carry average as a freshman in 2018, and then for 358 yards on a 4.2 average last season. Generally viewed as a solid, but not necessarily spectacular option as a lead runner, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound American Fork product will need to be at his best this season.

“That’s the goal, and I feel great about (it),” Katoa said to “BYU Sports Nation” about receiving the bulk of the work at running back. “I’m ready and willing, and I know the other dudes in the (running back) room feel the same way.”

But who are those other guys in the room? In short, few of them have seen many reps at all in BYU’s backfield.

The situation was made worse with the departure of freshman Bruce Garrett and the season-ending injury to JUCO transfer Hinckley Ropati, although the cupboard isn’t completely bare. It’s also very much in question that Sione Finau will be able to perform at any time this year due to his ACL injury sustained toward the end of last season.

Jackson McChesney, presents a promising option, given his 228-yard performance in a 56-24 win over Massachusetts last season. The 6-foot, 205-pound Lone Peak product showed a burst and open-field ability throughout that game, and will be ready to add whatever services he can in supplying depth to the position.

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But the guy mentioned most prominently by coaches as perhaps the most-ready option besides Katoa is Tyler Allgeier.

“We have two who are head and shoulders above anyone else in Lopini Katoa and Tyler Allgeier,” said BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes during his weekly “Coordinators’ Corner” interview. “I’m really pleased with the work that they’ve put in and I feel that they’re guys who can do everything.”

The running back spot involves much more than just rushing the football, with receiving and effectively pass-blocking holding a lot of importance.

Allgeier showed his best during BYU’s season-ending bowl game versus Hawaii last season, rushing for 77 yards on just eight carries. The 5-11, 220-poumd athlete from Fontana, California, showed promise in becoming a true every down-type back, of which there are relatively few within the program currently.

Other options include freshman Javelle Brown (6-1, 187) and speedster Luc Andrada (5-10, 175), although both are very young in their development.

Given the attrition of the running back group in recent years, depth is certainly a concern, although that concern is mitigated somewhat by the current schedule, which involves several off weeks given the current eight-game slate.

Still, the concern remains, with the performance and perhaps more importantly, the durability of both Katoa and Allgeier being at a premium.