BYU football: Marcus Mathews goes from TE to WR — for now
BYU football • It's unclear if the ex-tight end's position switch is temporary or permanent.
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Provo • Another day, another position change for the BYU football team.

Or is it?

Tuesday, teammates said freshman receiver Terenn Houk, at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, had been moved to tight end, and receivers coach Ben Cahoon confirmed it Wednesday, saying, "I just think that suits his body type better."

Cahoon also revealed Wednesday that 6-foot-4, 235-pound junior Marcus Mathews, who looked to have a leg up on the race to be the starting tight end, is now considered a receiver.

"It was a trade," Cahoon said with a smile. "Straight across. No player to be named later."

What is unclear is how long Mathews will be a receiver.

"It is just in case people go down, I can fill that [receiver] spot," Mathews said. "They just want to make sure I know [the routes], so if it happens in a game, I am ready to go."

Cahoon talks as if it is not as temporary as Mathews believes.

"He moved over to receiver, and then he hurt his hamstring the very first day," Cahoon said. "He hasn't been with us very much. Once he gets healthy, then he will get a chance to sort that out."

Asked whether BYU will see a resurgence from the tight end position this year, head coach Bronco Mendenhall all but indicated that junior Kaneakua Friel has moved into No. 1 spot on the depth chart.

"I am not sure that I would call it a surprise or not, but the real player that I have been so happy with is Kaneakua," Mendenhall said. "Of the players that have had the best fall camp, and become the most complete, and also the effort on special teams, if I were to pick one right now, he is the one that I like best in terms of how he has played, how he has conducted himself, the consistency."

Mendenhall said tight ends Austin Holt and Richard Wilson "are wearing braces, et cetera" and are still fighting through knee injuries suffered last season, although Holt has said several times that he's 100 percent recovered and back to full strength.

"Then you add Marcus, all of a sudden the athleticism in that spot looks pretty good," Mendenhall said. "Without Kaneakua, it would be different this year, but he has kind of filled a hole [and] that has been helpful to us as the others are still coming back from [surgery on] their knees."

Mendenhall said the depth chart will be released at the end of the week. That should clear things up with Mathews. Or maybe not.

Captains picked

Mendenhall announced that three seniors — linebacker Brandon Ogletree, quarterback Riley Nelson and running back David Foote — have been voted as team captains by their teammates. The coach said the vote came after he gave players "pretty specific criteria" on what they should look for in a captain.

"They were given the criteria first of representing the institution, which is owned by [the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], so there had to be a strong faith component," he said. "Excellent students, was another part of it. How they conduct themselves socially, and what kind of leaders they were on the team. And then what kind of players. That is what was framed from them, and they picked from there."

Sorensen starts kicking

Justin Sorensen said he attempted four field goals in practice on Tuesday and 10 more on Wednesday, his first kicks in practice since undergoing back surgery last winter. He said he didn't experience any back pain, but did feel soreness in his legs.

The junior said he "plans on being ready" for the opener against Washington State.

"It is going to be up to the coaches, and really this next week, how my back and legs do, with just getting back into things," he said. "If they want me [to kick], I'm there."

Briefly

With Kevan Bills suffering a season-ending knee injury, freshman Jherremya Leuta-Douyere is now the backup to Kyle Van Noy at weakside linebacker. … Another WLB, Ziggy Ansah, is also in the mix to be Van Noy's backup, but is currently working with the defensive line while Ian Dulan recovers from a strained back. … Alani Fua can also play weakside, but right now he is battling Spencer Hadley to be the starting strongside linebacker, a battle that Hadley is currently leading.

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter: @drewjay