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BYU football: Riley Burt making a run at starting job – Lawless Republic

Entering the offseason, Riley Burt wasn’t a prime candidate to start for BYU football. But now he’s making a run at the starting lineup.

It took a little over a week, but BYU football has seemingly figured out its backfield for 2017.

With the daunting task of replacing Jamaal Williams (who now is taking carries in Green Bay), the Cougars will likely use a stable of backs.

But it appears that the top end of that stable is set for the week one contest against Portland State.

Squally Canada is the No. 1 back – no real surprise. The No. 2 back?

Riley Burt.

And apparently there’s little separation between the two. According to BYU football’s running backs coach Reno Mahe:

“As far as starting, we’ve got Squally and Riley right there,” Mahe told Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune. “Those are guys 1-2 right there in the two-deep.”

Many BYU football fans had nearly forgotten Burt. The sophomore redshirted last season after meeting with the coaching staff and took just 14 carries as a freshman during the 2015 season.

While the sample size is a small one, one can’t really deny Burt’s explosiveness. Against Cincinnati in 2015 he scampered for a 41-yard run, showing his track-star speed. On the year, he rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown.

He was hampered by injuries that season, but tried to play through it. His final game in 2015 was an underwhelming one, averaging 2.9 yards per carry against Fresno State.

Mahe told Drew he’s looking for ball carries that are consistent, explosive and provide skills in the passing game (whether receiving or blocking). Canada and Burt certainly check most of those boxes, but I can’t help but think of another name.

Ula Tolutau.

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I know, I keep going on and on about Tolutau – but that’s because he’s so unique. He’s currently weighing 250-pounds. The coaches would like to see him around 240-pounds, but he’s already been an incredible receiver and his size would indicate he’s a capable pass blocker. Is he explosive? He ran for 2,465 yards and 31 scores as a senior at East High School.

Regardless of how the carries break down once the games start, it seems like BYU football will be in capable hands in the post Jamaal Williams era.

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