Provo • One of the players the BYU Cougars could least afford to lose on their struggling offensive line will have to sit out the next 2-4 weeks with a slight groin tear.
Senior center Braden Hansen aggravated the injury in Saturday's 17-14 loss at Notre Dame, and an MRI revealed the tear, head athletic trainer Jeff Hurst said after Monday's practice.
"We are just going to take it as it comes, and see how he does," Hurst said. "He's resting right now. He's pretty sore right now."
Hurst said whether Hansen comes back after two, three or four weeks of rest depends on his pain tolerance level and whether he can perform his tasks as the center. Hansen becomes the sixth offensive lineman to miss games this year due to injury.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall said defensive tackle Tui Crichton will temporarily move to the offensive line to add depth to the position. Sophomore Blair Tushaus, who filled in at center when Hansen went out in the third quarter, will get the start there against Georgia Tech on Saturday (1 p.m. MDT, ROOT Sports).
"Absolutely huge [blow]," said BYU quarterback Riley Nelson regarding the loss of Hansen. "I mean, a senior, and a leader, and the center, and someone who has started ... basically every game he has played here, and so it is humongous. But we are going to do our best to try and fill it."
BYU punter Riley Stephenson is the FBS Independent Special Teams Player of the Week after helping the Cougars in the field-position battle against Notre Dame. Stephenson punted six times for 46.8 yard average. He had three punts go longer than 50 yards, and two were downed inside ND's 20-yard line. The senior is fifth among FBS punters with a 46.6 average.
Hoffman on the rise
Junior receiver Cody Hoffman moved into ninth place on the school's career receiving touchdowns list, with 20, after catching a 6-yarder from Nelson in the second quarter against Notre Dame. He can catch Mike Chronister and Dennis Pitta with one more TD reception.
"It was great. It has been a good time. The atmosphere has been exactly what I thought it would be like. It was fun to play here," Hoffman said after the 27th straight game in which he has caught a pass.
Hoffman is the 29th-leading receiver in the country with 620 yards on 49 receptions.
Hurst said running back Adam Hine (knee injury) is "getting closer" to returning to action and could participate in practice on Tuesday for the first time in quite a while. ... Nelson is No. 3 on the school's rushing yardage list for a quarterback, with 768 net rushing yards. ... The Cougars are 5-5 in their last 10 games decided by seven points or fewer. Before that, they had won 14 straight games decided by seven points or fewer.
BYU at Georgia Tech
P Saturday, 1 p.m. MDT,
TV • ROOT Sports