BYU football: Don’t overlook Cougars’ offensive line

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

There have been plenty of storylines surrounding BYU football. But one group that isn’t getting enough attention is the offensive line.

BYU football kicked off fall camp at the end of last week. With that, Cougar Nation started buzzing. How do the wide receivers look? Is the defensive line stepping up? Did you see Mo Langi?

There’s no shortage of talking points.

That’s nothing new – it is happening all around the country, for all schools. But there’s one group in Provo that isn’t getting the attention it deserves.

The offensive line.

Up front, BYU football is looking as good as it has in years. Anchored by Rimington Trophy candidate Tejan Koroma, the Cougars shouldn’t have much trouble plowing holes for running backs.

Besides having one of the best centers in the nation, BYU football has a returning Freshman All-American at left tackle in Thomas Shoaf. Shoaf has a great stance and near-perfect footwork. He’s the kind of tackle that high schoolers nationwide should be watching – his form is that good.

Plus the Cougars have two senior guards – Keyan Norman and Tuni Kanuch. The duo combines to weigh 630-pounds, and have played in a combined 50 games for BYU football. That kind of size and experience is extremely valuable.

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Right tackle is currently the only question mark. The starter will either be Austin Hoyt (RS junior) or Kieffer Longson (RS freshman). For my money, Longson is the more talented player. He plays nasty on the edge and has a strong frame that gives him an edge in pass protection. Hoyt is much more experienced, but is also more versatile, being able to play multiple positions.

Regardless of who gets the nod there (I expect it to be Longson), BYU football will have another capable player up front.

What’s even more impressive is the work that o-line coach Mike Empey and strength and conditioning coach Nu’u Tafisi have put in with the group. In Robert Anae’s go fast go hard offense, the linemen were thinner – way thinner.

They had to be, so they could run five plays a minute. So not only were they way too small for Empey’s liking, but the Cougars were also dealing with a lack of linemen. One full year later and BYU football has size, experience and depth.

So don’t overlook the offensive line. It all starts up front, and the Cougars have the best line they’ve had in a long while. They’ll be moving the ball soon.