The BYU football team continued its preparation Tuesday for the season opener on Saturday at Ole Miss minus the services of sophomore tight end Devin Mahina. Mahina, who caught 11 passes for 118 yards last season, recently sustained a neck fracture, effectively ending his season.
“About 10 days ago there was a collision in practice. … We thought it was a stinger. [Mahina] kept practicing for two weeks, but he wasn’t responding to any of the treatments we were giving,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
A CT scan Monday morning showed a neck fracture. Recovery time for Mahina will be 10-12 weeks, according to Mendenhall.
“Thinking about how serious [Mahina’s neck injury] could’ve been, you’re just glad he’s OK. … Our prayers are with him that he’ll recover quickly,” BYU sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps said. “We’ll miss him on our football team.”
The quarterback remained confident, however, about the team’s offense, which faces high expectations entering BYU’s first year playing as an independent.
“We don’t feel pressure at all, we’re excited for the opportunity, we’re excited to play great teams,” Heaps said. They’re going to be tough football games but I think it’s going to determine where we are as a football team. … There’d be pressure if we didn’t feel we had a good football team and we didn’t think the execution or talent level was there.”
New offensive coordinator Brandon Doman echoed similar confidence, giving strong praise to his young quarterback.
“I think I would take [Heaps] against any other quarterback in the country right now and that’s not a knock on any other quarterback. I just feel this kid’s a confident kid, he’s the right kid and he’s pretty darn good,” Doman said.
Doman expressed confidence that the offense will be able to execute Week 1 against SEC foe Ole Miss.
“I want us to go down and play really good like we have all fall camp. I want to see us complete footballs like we’ve done. I want to see the kids plays as hard as they can inside the scheme of the offense,” he said. “The guys are chomping at the bit and so am I.”