Young offensive line gains valuable experience during spring football

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The crack of helmets echo throughout the practice field as the shouts of nearby coaches rise above the frustrated grunts of members on the offensive line.

With spring football well under way, BYU has had to make adjustments to its offensive line. Various starters from last year’s line have taken to the sidelines nursing injuries causing openings for some new faces to take the reigns during spring ball. A few of these players include Manaaki Vaitai, Corbin Kaufusi and Michael Yeck.

“I think the young guys are learning a lot,” said Yeck, a sophomore from Keller, Texas. “Even though those that are injured will probably be the ones starting this fall, the younger guys are taking all the advantage of those reps. The opportunity we have now will build a strong line in the future but also a deep one for next year.”

Offensive line coach Mark Weber seems to be handling the situation well.

“Coach Weber is not holding the younger guys to any less of a standard than he would the older guys,” Yeck said. “It is tough for the young guys, we have been thrown into the deep end, but we have to adapt and learn how to play at that high level.”

Yeck feels hopeful in the upcoming season.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Yeck said. “We have a powerful offensive line and powerful offense. Our defense is doing well, and we look forward to a great season.”

Houston Reynolds, a starting offensive lineman from Provo and one of the starting linemen recently coming back from shoulder surgery, is optimistic about the younger players being able to step up in spring ball.

“I think they are doing a great job,” Reynolds said. “With experience there is a certain amount of consistency that happens, no matter what gets thrown at you, you have seen something like it. With the younger guys it’s hard, every day they are learning something new and it’s a very difficult learning curve for the younger guys. I feel overall, if you take their growth and what they have accomplished they are learning. It’s a process and they are definitely coming along.”

At the end of Tuesday’s spring practice, the defense was getting into the backfield a lot when running the blitz. Coach Bronco Mendenhall attributes this to the inexperience of his younger offensive line.

“We have a lot of our starters that are still hurt,” Mendenhall said. “We have a young offensive line, but I also feel that we have strong athletic players that are able to get into the back field.”

The team seems confident in the younger offensive players and are impressed with the way they have really stepped it up and proven themselves.

“I think that as a unite we are doing a great job,” Reynolds said. “Everybody is working hard, and it’s something our offensive line should be proud of.”

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