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Provo • Senior linebacker Tyler Beck found out last Thursday that he would be making his first career start for BYU in the rivalry game.
Then he went out and recorded a career-high 10 tackles, including two for losses, on Saturday. Not a bad start for a guy whose career has been defined by various injuries.
"I think I did well," said Beck, from Murietta, Calif. "It had been such a long time since I had played such a big role on the defense. I think I did well for my first shot."
Beck got the start because Spencer Hadley, the regular starter at buck linebacker, was suspended for five games last Tuesday. But he also played some mike linebacker, spelling Uani Unga.
"I felt like most of the game I was in pass coverage [on Utah tight end Jake Murphy]," Beck said. "And then I was fortunate to have some runs to my side, and that's where most of my tackles came from."
Older guys, again
Whenever BYU plays an unfamiliar opponent, like in the opener at Virginia, the opponent's coach always seems to work in the fact when he talks to the media that the Cougars have older players, due to church missions.
Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Stockstill was just the latest to notice it, while also telling reporters Monday that BYU is the best team the Blue Raiders will play, to date.
"Looking through their roster, they've already got 50 guys who have already done their two-year mission," Stockstill said. "It's a team with a lot of players that are 24, 25 years old. We are going to go against grown men in this game. … They've got guys in there who graduated from high school in 2006."
Actually, it is one guy: defensive back Mike Hague.
What Stockstill didn't say: BYU is 1-2 with those older guys.
After the 19-16 loss to Virginia, BYU coaches shuffled the offensive line, moving players around to better suit their strengths. It seemed to work against Texas, as the Cougars rushed for a school-record 550 yards.
This week, they're shuffling the receivers a bit, trying to find some combinations that work after Taysom Hill completed just 18 of 48 passes in the 20-13 loss to Utah.
Cody Hoffman, who has played the X receiver spot most of his career, is getting some work in at the Z position. Skyler Ridley and Ross Apo, who usually play the Z position, have played some X. Some receivers have moved inside, where the tight ends or slot receivers usually line up.
"We think we will have [the problems] figured out," Apo said.
Former Bingham High star Austin Holt, who was asked to move from tight end to defensive end in the offseason, has played his way onto the defensive depth chart. Holt is listed as the backup at right end to another former Miner, Remington Peck. He replaced Logan Taele, a walk-on from St. George. … The Cougars are averaging 306.7 rushing yards per game, while MTSU is allowing just 152.5 yards per game on the ground.
Middle Tennessee State at BYU
P Friday, 7 p.m.
TV • ESPNU