BYU Football is going really good across the board, but are not very deep in quite a few positions.
Football, perhaps more than any other sport in world depends on everyone doing their job well in order to win. Think about it, in Baseball a team can get by and be successful if they have a terrible third baseman. A basketball team can win games if they don't have a good shooting guard. A soccer team can win with a terrible midfield. But in football, it is very tough to win any games with a weak position because unlike other sports, they can be exposed every single play.
BYU Football has 9 position groups and all of them appear to be good from a starter standpoint, but some of the positions are very thin beyond that. Here is the complete rankings of all ten position groups.
Not having Chris Wilcox and Malik Moore against Utah is going to be really tough for the Cougars from a depth standpoint and an experience standpoint. Dayan Ghanwoloku will be a great player to have back there as well as Austin Lee, but it is going to be tough if a guy goes down or if someone is having an off game.
The Cougars actually return most of their receiving core from last season, the problem is last year they weren't really all that good. The leading returning guy is Aleva Hifo who only had 358 yards last season. If he, Talon Shumway, and Gunner Romney can play well this could be a strong group this season. The only question will be can they keep up with Zach Wilson? Also, this is another group that is thin with depth. Fortunately, receivers don't go down very often.
7. Tight Ends
Wait tight ends? The position group that was appearing to be the strongest position at the end of 2018 season? Yes, that is what happens when one player leaves for a mission, another one goes down with an ACL injury and another one doesn't get to practice until tomorrow, eight games before the season opener. If Moroni Laulu-Pututau is able to get into game form quick, this could be less of an issue. Again though, if either he or Matt Bushman go down hurt, this position becomes a very thin group with nearly no game experience.
6. Special Teams
This is less of a depth issue and more of an experience issue. Jake Oldroyd hasn't punted before. Danny Jones also has limited punting experience. As far as field goals go, Oldroyd and Tyler Southam and both shown they can make kicks but have struggled from distance. There are just a lot of question marks around this group.
5. Defensive Line
Khyiris Tonga is a monster. Outside of him, there are some questions as far as who is going to get into the backfield and get sacks and tackles for loss. There are a lot of guys with game experience like Zac Dawe, Trajan Pili and Devin Kaufusi but not a lot of stats to go with them. They are big and strong, the only question is whether they will be able get the big momentum changing plays.
4. Running Backs
Everyone is saying that this is an amazing group, but I'm not quite sold on it yet. Don't get me wrong, the gap between 4-5 is much larger than 3-4 but I don't think they are as good as the linebackers. Ty'Son Williams has had some really bad injuries and it is unknown how much that will affect him going forward. Lopini Katoa and Emmanuel Esukpa will give a lot of experience and talent to that group as well, but they just aren't as elite as the top three groups on the team.
The linebackers have a lot of experience and speed with Zayne Anderson coming back this season. Isaiah Kaufusi and Chaz Ah You also bring back experience and knowledge. The only question is who will the middle linebacker be? Regardless of who it is, there is a lot of depth at this position and it has been the strength of the Cougars for the past decade.
There is no limit to what Zach Wilson is able to do this season. He is back and seems to be 100% after his shoulder injury. He is film and practice junky and with him being QB1 this year, that should show on the field. If something were to happen to him, Jaren Hall appears to be a backup that is capable of winning games as well. Third string Baylor Romney has also been making some big plays in practice and gives the position even more depth.
1. Offensive Line
The offensive line may be one of the best lines in the country. The Cougars return their entire offensive line, minus Austin Hoyt, that handled the Utah defensive line last season until late in the game. This group is bigger, stronger and faster than they were last season. Also, they have some depth with Thomas Shoaf and Keanu Saleapaga. If BYU is going to win a lot of games this season it will be in large part because of the play of the O-line.