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Five Takeaways From BYU’s Depth Chart Heading Into UTSA Game

BYU DE Zac Dawe in a one-on-one battle against a Louisiana Tech offensive lineman. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – No. 15 ranked BYU released another depth chart this week as they prepare for the UTSA Roadrunners in Provo. The Cougars are 3-0 and hosting a Roadrunner squad that has exceeded expectations through their first four weeks with a 3-1 record.

Each week the BYU coaching staff puts out a weekly depth chart heading into each game.

There are always some slight changes every week to the depth chart. Here are some takeaways I gleaned from this week’s depth chart for the first-ever matchup with the Roadrunners.

#1 Carter Wheat added to the depth chart

Redshirt freshman tight end Carter Wheat had a career-night last week against LA Tech with a two catch, 30-yard performance against the Bulldogs. One of Wheat’s two catches resulted in a second-quarter touchdown to give BYU a 14-7 lead.

Wheat is now listed in the two-deep at tight end. Wheat is in the second-string spot with an -OR- next to his name with Lane Lunt as the other tight end competing for second-string reps behind Isaac Rex.

#2 Keeping players fresh on the defensive line

BYU’s defensive line has been creating a lot of havoc in opposing backfields. The Cougars are eighth nationally this season with 12 sacks through three games. Some of the increase in sack totals could be credited towards the depth and ability to keep players fresh.

The three starters along BYU’s defensive front has seen a significant dip in snap counts through the first three games compared to last year. Zac Dawe, Khyiris Tonga, and Bracken El-Bakri have combined to play 282 snaps in three games this year. Last year, those three players played a total of 375 snaps.

Blowouts have helped the cause, but depth in the second and third units has helped matters, and Lorenzo Fauatea, Caden Haws, Tyler Batty, Gabe Summers, and Earl Tuioti-Mariner all rotating in during games this season.

Going up against a UTSA offense hit hard with injuries at quarterback might lend itself to more havoc from the BYU defensive line this week.

#3 BYU’s specialists are special

Kicker Jake Oldroyd is a perfect 5-for-5 to open the 2020 season, which includes a 54-yard make that tied a career-best. Out of the 148 points, BYU has scored this season, Oldroyd has accounted for 34.

Ryan Rehkow has been seldomly used at the punter spot, but he’s showing off a huge leg averaging 47.5 yards on his four punts through the first three games. Rehkow’s debut has been impressive, and he’s shown the biggest leg since Matt Payne averaged 50.5 yards per punt through his first four career kicks.

#4 QB depth after Zach Wilson

For the third consecutive week, BYU has Baylor Romney listed as the second-string quarterback behind star signal-caller Zach Wilson. Jaren Hall, who has yet to dress for a game this season, continues to be listed in the third-string spot on the depth chart.

Jacob Conover dressed for the first time last week in the game against LA Tech. Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters, who has seen game reps this season, is in the mix as well for BYU to turn to in a late-game blowout situation.

#5 Versatile Fullback

Sophomore Masen Wake dreamed of playing for Boise State, but the Broncos never came calling. So the Lone Peak High star took a Preferred Walk-On spot at BYU and he’s made the most of his opportunities as the sitting atop the BYU depth chart at fullback.

Head Coach Kalani Sitake has a soft spot in his heart for fullbacks since he played the role during his playing career. But Wake has shown to be more than just a typical fullback.

Wake showed off athleticism with a hurdle over a LA Tech and then trucked another guy once he landed the leap. 78 percent of Wake’s snaps this season have come as an inline tight end or the (F-Tight End/Wing in BYU’s offense) with another 14 percent lining up in the backfield at the traditional fullback spot.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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