PROVO — Injuries are a part of any football season, and recent injuries have forced BYU coaches to readjust their depth chart accordingly.
While starting quarterback Riley Nelson's status is still up in the air, BYU will have to make do without starting running back Michael Alisa for the next six to eight weeks. Alisa suffered a broken forearm early in last week's game.
Losing Alisa hurts, but the good news is that true freshman Jamaal Williams seems able to fill the starting role. He stepped in for Alisa against Hawaii and rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries.
Senior David Foote should do fine as Williams' primary backup, along with Rugby starter Paul Lasike. Fellow freshman Adam Hine seemed poised to contribute at running back this August but is currently physically ineligible. He is working his way back, and coach Bronco Mendenhall mentioned he was close to being eligible following Monday's practice.
Devin Mahina received the most reps behind starter Kaneakua Friel against Hawaii and is now listed as the second-string tight end. Mahina has battled back from a broken hand suffered in August and had one catch for 12 yards against Hawaii.
Austin Holt, who started last season, is redshirting due to injury, while Richard Wilson has moved down the depth chart as he battles back from his ACL injury suffered last season.
"I don't think his ACL and the way he runs is quite back to where it was before his injury," Mendenhall said about Wilson. "He's fighting to get that back up to speed as fast as possible. He's been cleared to play, but playing in games — I don't think he's quite up to 100 percent yet."
DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD DEPTH CHANGES: Senior nickel back Mike Hague hurt his thigh against Hawaii and is questionable to play against Utah State. Craig Bills will likely replace Hague while true freshman Matt Hadley takes Bills' role as a backup at both safety positions. Hadley, the younger brother of starting linebacker Spencer Hadley, played throughout the second half against Hawaii and filled in nicely.
At corner, Mendenhall is going with the three-way mix of primary backups between senior Robbie Buckner, freshman Micah Hannemann and junior college transfer Adam Hogan, who saw his first action of the year against Hawaii.
"I felt great and I wasn't really nervous out there," said Hogan. "I knew Hawaii's offense inside and out, so I really felt I knew everything that was going on. I prepare myself well and hopefully I did all right and I can get in there some more."
Hogan is a preferred walk-on from Los Angeles Southwest College, where he played for former BYU cornerback Tim McTyre.
"Coach McTyre was my position coach and he'd always talk about BYU and how I should go there if I got the chance," said Hogan. "My head coach there also had a master's degree from BYU, so when coach (Nick) Howell started recruiting me, I felt I knew a lot about the school already and I love it here. I'm very happy to be at BYU."
BLACKOUT FOR OREGON STATE: It was announced on Monday that BYU will be playing Oregon State on ABC at 1:30 p.m. and that the game will be a blackout. The team will play in its new black uniforms with attending fans asked to wear black.
"The uniform was designed to have the same striping and maintain an element of tradition, while also creating a fun atmosphere for the team and the fans," said Mendenhall. "Our plan is to wear the uniforms for this one game."
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