Per multiple reports, senior center Dominic Espinosa broke his ankle in last night's game against North Texas when he got rolled up on in the third quarter.
That ain't good news.
Redshirt freshman Jake Raulerson replaced Espinosa after he went down, and appeared to be anything but ready for prime time with a few snap miscues and various blocking gaffes against an undersized UNT front. The road gets no easier from here. BYU and UCLA both play odd fronts with man size/man strenf nose tackles who were going to offer stern tests for even a seasoned senior. Raulerson has the smarts, makeup and overall athleticism to be an oustanding OL one day, but that day is still a few thousand squats, deadlifts and cleans away.
It will be interesting to see how Coach Wickline approaches this one. Raulerson was reportedly showing well in practice and standing up to guys like Dez Jackson, but it's possible that the entire offense could be held hostage if he's simply unable to bring the requisite physicality against a rough upcoming slate. Darius James is the next likely option, as he played center in high school and brings a lot more in the way of mass and power to the equation. He spent a good part of the Spring and Summer shuffling though various positions on the OL, and the optimistic take on that would be that Wickline was searching for the best spot to deploy his unique talents.
That, or the light just hasn't come on for him yet.
We'll have more this week on the likely game plan impact for BYU and beyond, but wanted to get this up quickly and give us a place to vent our howls of anguish.
Hook 'em, Dom - get well soon, and we'll see you in 2015.