Summer 2009: Cougar nation, including yours truly, is devastated. Russell Tialavea, starting nose tackle and anchor of the BYU defensive line, has just announced that he will delay his senior season at BYU to serve an LDS mission.
Fans everywhere ask the question “What are we going to do at nose tackle?”
Suddenly, Rick “Big D” Wolfley has been bumped up to No. 1 on the depth chart, and mass panic ensues. Wolfley is the cream of a crop that includes returned missionary Romney Fuga and JC bust Tevita Hola.
Nose tackle becomes most decidedly the thinnest position on the football team.
Then something happened. Russ decided to delay his entrance into the MTC. Unbeknownst to us fans, he has been working out like a mad man during the offseason with the rest of the team, and he is ready to play his final season at BYU (despite a bogus rumor that he was injured… I won’t mention who fed me that piece of crap).
Fast forward to the present day.
Tialavea is in the best shape of his life, Wolfley has left the program, Romney Fuga is making the transition back to football and Tevita Hola has turned out to be the “most improved player on the team,” according to coach Bronco Mendenhall.
Fuga and co. are playing so well, in fact, that Tialavea is trying his hand at defensive end.
Then this gem from Greg Wrubell’s blog: “Mendenhall says where depth was looking like a concern on the defensive line, now it appears to be a strength.”
Funny how things work out like that.