BYU football: How good is the Cougars’ offensive line?

BYU’s offensive line readies for a snap during spring camp in Provo on March 21, 2022, in Provo.

BYU’s offensive line readies for a snap during spring camp in Provo on March 21, 2022, in Provo. Much has been made about how strong this year’s O-line is, but will it be able to stay healthy and intact during the 2022 season?

Jaren Wilkey/BYU

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Tyler Allgeier, Neil Pau’u, Baylor Romneyand James Empey headline BYU’s pro day on Friday, March 25, in the Indoor Practice Facility while Kalani Sitake heads down the final stretch of BYU spring football practice.

The pro day session normally draws more than two dozen NFL scouts and personnel directors from throughout the league. It will be a chance for Allgeier to improve on his 4.6 time in the 40 at the NFL combine earlier in March.

Cougar Insiders predictions

Question of the week: Reading the tea leaves from spring practices and the roster, what do you expect from BYU’s offensive line this fall?

Jay Drew: It is early, but a lot of expectations are already being heaped on BYU’s offensive line this year. That’s reasonable, considering the only solid contributor from last year who has departed is center Empey, a participant in BYU’s pro day this Friday.

Offensive line coach Darrell Funk spoke to reporters after Monday’s practice and quelled some of those expectations a bit, saying the unit has a lot of work to do. But he praised the group for working hard and competing hard in spring camp.

Harris LaChance also spoke to the assembled media and praised his teammates for the competitive atmosphere that is taking place. Every spot is up for grabs, LaChance said.

As far as my expectations, they aren’t quite as high as most. Perhaps that’s because I’ve seen this play out before — a lot of talk about the prowess of a particular aspect of BYU’s football team, only to see injuries or other factors take away that shine.

So I will say this: If this group stays healthy and intact, it will be one of the top O-lines in the Sitake era.

Dick Harmon: The record-breaking rushing season posted by Allgeier this past season proved that O-line coach Funk could replace Jeff Grimes who left for Baylor. Funk had good material to work with in 2021 and he’ll have a bigger, more experienced and deeper group of offensive linemen to go to battle with in 2022.

The Cougars will miss James Empey but Connor Pay proved a worthy replacement at center. Blake Freeland and Clark Barrington are ranked among the top 10 offensive linemen in the country by Pro Football Focus. They will be surrounded by experienced players like LaChance, Joe Tukuafu and Campbell Barrington, and everyone is impressed with former five-star Oregon transfer Kingsley Suamataia.

I think Funk should be turning cartwheels in fall camp with this group. It could be special.

Cougar tales

Jeff Judkins watched the women’s basketball team go one and done in the first round of the NCAA in Ann Arbor, while Mark Pope has found his team averaging 91.5 points and 50 assists in two NIT wins. The men host Washington State on Wednesday in the quarterfinals with a chance to go to New York City. 

Here are some of our coverage stories:

  • NIT: Outside bombs carry BYU past Northern Iowa (Dick Harmon)
  • NIT: Second-half blitz carries Cougs past Beach (Jeff Call)
  • NCAA: Women fall short vs. Villanova (Jeff Call)

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Comments from Deseret New readers

Players on teams that get invited to play in the NIT get the same benefits as the players that get invited to the NCAA Championship Tournament. More practices, more games against good teams, more chances to play the game with your teammates and make memories that will last the rest of your life. The Big Dance gets more PR attention for the schools ... But the NIT provides the same benefits to the players (more games and more practices, and more experiences). I wish my Utes could have gotten a few more games and practices this year. Maybe next year.

— 2 bits

Trends in college hoops can be a bouncing ball, up and down. We were hot as a pistol on Sat from the arc. Te’Jon and Trevin played perhaps their best games; Gideon certainly did. Will Knell go 5-7 from three again? Will Gideon give me 27 pts? Will Te’Jon play just about a perfect game with shots and assists? Probably not. No matter. Barcello will be playing his last game in the MAC in front of the ROC. Alex didn’t play well against N Iowa. If the other guys come back to earth with an average performance and Alex delivers one of his usual good games, we win. And this doesn’t even count Fouse or Caleb.

— Mowgli54

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