Pumas working backs in 2023 will probably be outlined by their versatility, measurement

It stays to be seen whether or not BYU will revert to the committee strategy it used earlier than Tyler Allgeier and Chris Brooks got here alongside for the previous two or three years, or accept much-hyped UNLV switch Aidan Robbins for many carries in 2023 .

What is for certain, based on fourth-year working backs coach Harvey Unga, is that the group will probably be extraordinarily versatile in BYU’s first season within the Large 12.

For somebody as huge as him, I did not suppose it might be as easy as it’s. Simply watching him run, I am amazed. BYU RBs coach Harvey Unga on Aidan Robbins

That is been the humorous factor about these guys this yr, Unga stated final week. We’ve got a variety of guys who can do a variety of various things.

Regardless of some midseason hamstring points, Cal moved Brooks, who’s now making ready for the NFL draft, final season he led the Cougars in carries (130), dashing yards (837) and dashing touchdowns (six ). He collected 6.3 yards per tote and will have been a bit underused.

Additionally gone are second dashing chief, quarterback Jaren Corridor (350 yards) and third dashing chief Lopini Katoa (332 yards).

The BYU working again’s scenario now’s lots prefer it was proper now final yr, when Brooks was referred to as as much as fill the footwear of Allgeier, one of many Cougars’ all-time greats. Allgeier, now with the Atlanta Falcons, has been the clear workhorse in 2021, dashing 276 occasions for 1,606 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Will Robbins, who performed sparingly at Louisville earlier than transferring to UNLV earlier than the 2022 season, will take the reins and turn out to be the go-to man in Aaron Roderick’s offense, or Unga will use a mix of Robbins, return ball handlers Hinckley Ropati and Miles Davis and turned quarterback -RB Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters?

It is too early to make that decision, Unga instructed the Deseret Information.

We nonetheless have a protracted approach to go earlier than (the opening), he stated. However up to now I actually like what I see.

It also needs to be talked about that true freshman LJ Martin, the extremely recruited working again out of El Paso, Texas, who signed with BYU in February, will probably be becoming a member of the room this summer time.

I anticipate lots from him, and I do know he does, too, stated Canutillo Excessive’s 6-foot-2, 205-pound Unga. However on the identical time, I have already got a great group of men right here who I feel are going to assist him, whether or not he is available in and contributes instantly or not. I really feel actually good concerning the room.

I like the boys I’ve, Unga continued. I like the tradition we have now in there and the depth, it knocks on the wooden. It is enjoyable to see. There are some good gamers right here.

What Unga did not see is Robbins getting reps through the 11-on-11 parts of spring camp. He underwent surgical procedure on his proper hand final winter and has not but been cleared for full contact. He did greater than anticipated, although, Unga stated.

I did not anticipate him to do something, to be sincere, Unga stated. However he did some (particular person) stuff right here and there, clearly non-contact stuff. You possibly can see glimpses of what is to come back. Simply to have him on the market and the presence of him on the market, that is cool.

Unga stated Robbins has been closely concerned from the sidelines through the dwell periods, and it’ll seemingly be Friday when the Cougars have their annual spring scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium, climate allowing.

He is all the time proper with me, and chirps about sure performs and sure issues, stated Unga. It is good to see, as a result of a variety of the issues I am desirous about, I’ll hear out loud.

As for Robbins’ bodily attributes, the Cougars knew what they had been getting after seeing the 6-3, 230-pounder with two years of eligibility remaining final yr for UNLV. Robbins led the Rebels in dashing with 209 carries for 1,011 yards.

For somebody as huge as him, I did not suppose it might be as easy as it’s. Simply watching him run, I am amazed. It runs easy, has a great really feel for the sport, Unga stated. That was the one factor I used to be actually shocked about, since you see a man that huge, you do not anticipate him to be as nimble and nimble as he’s.

It is fairly cool to see. He is stunning a few guys on our employees, simply by watching him race and stuff like that, Unga continued.

Roderick stated Robbins used his harm time effectively.

He is aware of the offense, Roderick stated. He cannot wait to be allowed to play and I am unable to wait to look at him.

Let’s welcome the brand new boy

Each time applications convey a graduate transfer to a place group, they run the chance of disrupting chemistry and/or angering present gamers who could also be moved or see their enjoying time lower. However Unga stated Davis, Ropati and Maiava-Peters welcomed the brand new child with open arms.

Different working backs within the room are senior Morgan Pyper, redshirt sophomore Enoch Nawahine, and freshmen Helu Nukuluve and Chase Hopkins, an additional. Jackson McChesney has medically retired and one other fullback who received seven carries final yr, Mason Fakahua, has moved to the hybrid fullback/tight finish place that BYU calls H-back or U-back.

I defy them, Unga stated. I am like, Hey, both you guys step up and make Aidan a greater working again, or you’ll be able to drop out and let him take over and also you guys will probably be stagnant, the place you’re. They are going to make them earn it after which they’ve performed a terrific job.

Ropati, who emerged late final season and completed with 36 carries for 189 yards and a landing, stated the extra the merrier and pressured that each one working backs simply need this system to get higher and win video games. soccer.

Taking part in this place, it’s important to perceive that it is bodily and violent and that guys get damage, Ropati stated. You’ve got already seen it right here. Guys will go down on a regular basis. It is a bodily place. So bringing in Aidan provides that depth and provides a special dynamic to the room.

Truthfully, I used to be excited. I’ve seen him play. I watched her movie to see what sort of cat we’re carrying. And I like the best way this man performs. He performs bodily, continued Ropati. He can break conflicts. Even his expertise solely elevates the competitors within the room, which makes everybody higher. So yeah, I adore it.

What was Ropati’s first impression of Robbins?

It is large, Ropati stated. I am like, oh man, he is taller than Chris Brooks. He is an enormous boy. So we had been all fairly impressed, for positive.

What Kalani Sitake needs to see

Throughout his seven years in Provo, coach Kalani Sitake prevented expressing a desire for working backs and their utilization, even when Jamaal Williams was working wild in 2016 and there have been some lean years between his time and the emergence of Allgeiers. From 2017 to 2019 he was a committee with the likes of Squally Canada, Katoa, Sione Finau, TySon Williams and McChesney sharing carries.

I really feel actually good with the group, as a result of we all know what Folau (Ropati) can do,” Sitake stated after final Saturday’s combo exercise/scrimmage on the indoor coaching facility. I additionally actually just like the addition of Aidan to the group.

They’re arriving. Folau is doing actually good issues. We have to give Miles extra reps.

Maiava-Peters suffered a minor harm to his proper knee a number of weeks in the past and is sitting out the remainder of spring camp, an harm that has slowed his progress in studying his new place, Sitake stated.

As soon as we get everybody wholesome and lively, I feel we’ll actually like that group, Sitake stated. It is simply (about) who’s going to get essentially the most reps? Who would be the first two, the primary three guys? That is what we’re working in direction of.

Added Roderick: Miles and Hinckley are a lot better than they had been a yr in the past, after which Sol-Jay is what he confirmed within the bowl recreation. He is a Swiss Military knife.

Roderick stated Maiava-Peters, the New Mexico Bowl Offensive MVP at quarterback, dealt with him like a professional and was thriving earlier than he received damage.

I imply, he clearly got here right here to play quarterback. He want to be the beginning quarterback. I instructed him I would wish to be the White Sox’s beginning shortstop, Roderick stated. However I’m not. So go forward. That is what you are able to do for our crew. Wanna do it? And he stated OK, I am going to do it. And he hugged him.

If he retains progressing, you will see him do some enjoyable stuff, yeah.

Does BYU want one other seasoned RB?

It has been effectively documented that the Cougars might use one other receiver or two out of the switch gate, and possibly one other linebacker. How about one other working again?

Whereas saying he’d be completely satisfied to enter BYU’s first season within the Large 12 with what he presently has within the RB room, Unga acknowledged having yet another would not damage.

I’ll by no means complain concerning the depth. If I can herald a man who will elevate the room, I all the time will. I instructed the boys. They realize it, she stated. All coaches really feel the identical manner. If we are able to discover somebody who can elevate the crew, room and all, we’ll go after them.

However for now, I be ok with the room. I really feel good the place we’re. If one thing occurs, tremendous. I would wish to get another person concerned and see what they will do to contribute.

But when not, I am not too frightened about that. We’ll be tremendous.

As a result of this present group has a variety of versatility that may very well be extra necessary than anything.

BYU quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters warms up as BYU and USF put together to play a university soccer recreation at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, September 25, 2021. Maiava-Peters joined the working again room in Provo as Cougars prepare for the Large 12 recreation.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Information

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