Deseret News

LOS ANGELES — BYU opens spring football Monday, but defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi won't be participating — yet.

That's because Kaufusi will finish out the basketball season with the Cougars, who completed the regular season Saturday at Loyola Marymount. BYU plays Friday in the West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas.

Cougar football coach Bronco Mendenhall said that he supports Kaufusi staying with the basketball team until the season ends.

"I think that's the right thing to do. He's doing a nice job," Mendenhall said. "He's working really hard and I'd like to see him finish what he's started there. … We'll get Bronson Kaufusi back from basketball here fairly soon."

Spring ball concludes on April 5.

Kaufusi joined the hoops squad in late December, after the Poinsettia Bowl victory over San Diego State. The 6-foot-7, 260-pound freshman has provided much-needed size and depth for the Cougars. He's averaged 1.1 points and 1.5 rebounds this season.

Kaufusi played a key role early on in BYU's loss to No. 2 Gonzaga last Thursday, going in for foul-plagued Brandon Davies. He scored the Cougars' first basket of the game. Kaufusi finished with three points in 10 minutes of play before fouling out.

"Bronson is a physical guy by nature," said BYU basketball coach Dave Rose. "I think he might have gotten a couple of tough calls from his reputation as a pretty good defensive end."

Saturday at LMU, Kaufusi once again spelled Davies after Davies got in early foul trouble. He scored two points and grabbed two rebounds in the first half against the Lions.