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Speculation has abounded the past few weeks about which BYU players coach Dave Rose will ask to redshirt this year, because there have been no fewer than 18 on the roster.
Turns out, only one will redshirt at least for now.
Freshman Jordan Chatman, a returned missionary from Washington and the son of former BYU great Jeff Chatman, will redshirt this season, Rose said Wednesday in his weekly meeting with reporters. Chatman has battled some knee and ankle injuries almost from the time he returned home in July.
So, BYU's roster will include 15 players when the Cougars play host to Long Beach State on Friday (5 p.m., BYUtv) at the Marriott Center.
USU transfer Kyle Davis is practicing, but not eligible to play due to NCAA transfer rules; UNLV transfer Jamal Aytes, who recently had ankle surgery, is seemingly another candidate to redshirt because he probably won't be healthy until mid-January, at the soonest.
"We are going to go with a pretty deep roster," Rose said.
But Rose said they will take a wait-and-see approach with Aytes "and see how he recovers" while acknowledging it will be a tough blow to the program's hopes in 2014-15 if Aytes can't play.
"We spent the summer thinking he would be a real big part of our team the second half of the year," Rose said.
It is seemingly a no-brainer to have Aytes redshirt, because he would ostensibly be able to play three full seasons, not two and a half, if he redshirts.
"Yeah, could be, if all those things work and you apply for that possibility," Rose said. "Right now, our mindset is let's just get him healthy, and see where we are at, and see when that is, and then we will decide."
The good news Wednesday was that senior forward Nate Austin is back practicing and expected to play against the 49ers on Friday. Austin has a sore back, which he said is the result of "just being tall" and not from a particular incident.
"Nate has actually been able to practice a little bit more each day. Hopefully he feels good tomorrow," Rose said. "He actually did most everything today, so hopefully he feels good tomorrow and will be ready to go on Friday."
Long Beach State is a formidable opponent, picked to finish third in the Big West, and has some excellent players, Rose said.
This is the first leg of a home-and-home agreement, as BYU will travel to Southern California next year at about this same time to play the 49ers in the Pyramid.
The 49ers play their home opener on Saturday, which is why Friday's game has a 5 p.m. tipoff.
"The 5 p.m. tip is because it is very difficult to schedule games here, and we were looking for a home opener this year, and we have been through a lot of teams and this was their [request]," Rose said. "They needed this to happen for their time schedule and their schedule, and we wanted the home game, so that's how it worked out."
Who will start for the Cougars?
Rose isn't saying yet he rarely does but hinted Wednesday that it will probably be the veterans, guys like Tyler Haws, Kyle Collinsworth, Josh Sharp and Luke Worthington. Most likely, Wake Forest transfer Chase Fischer, who had two strong exhibition games, will be the fifth.
"In the beginning of the year, I will probably be more favorable to the returning guys," Rose said. "There are so many things that are involved in a game plan, and those guys who have been through it before are the ones you can trust the most. … We will see after the first couple of games. Guys who are playing well and the groups that can flow together, we will find that starting lineup here soon."