BYU is set to start camp on Saturday with high hopes, but those took a big hit as the school announced on Thursday that starting running back Jamaal Williams will not be with the team in 2015.”Jamaal has withdrawn from school for personal reasons and will redshirt the 2015 season,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall said in a release. “We plan on Jamaal returning for the 2016 season.”
The exact reasoning is unknown and it doesn’t matter if it is honor code, suspension or just like Mendenhall said that it is “personal reasons” for why he is not going to suit up in 2015.
Williams has smartly removed himself from Twitter, which is a good thing so he can avoid what people might be saying about him not playing this year. This is a huge blow for the offense as Williams is not only the starting running back for BYU, but he is one of the best running backs in the country.
Last year, Williams sat out six games with a knee injury and in that time he was still very successful with 518 yards and four touchdowns, and he caught eight passes for 47 yards.
Williams was asked at BYU media days about him possibly redshirting the 2015 to fully recover from his knee injury during media day, but he tossed that notion to the side.”This year is going to be the year that I can show I’m not injury-prone,” Williams said. “I just want to show that I can still get it, be smart, and help myself and the team by staying healthy for the whole season.”His plans have obviously changed since then and BYU will now have to take on the brutal September schedule against Nebraska, Boise State, Michigan and UCLA.
So, what does this mean for the running game for BYU?
With Williams gone the starting job is likely going to be handed to Algie Brown or Adam Hine. Brown rushed for 324 yards and averaged 4.76 yards per carry and Hine had 154 yards and a pair of scores. Nate Carter could also be in the mix as he is known for breaking off big runs, and last season he 290 yards and a score.
Tre Dye who is a wide receiver but played running back in high school and plays a hybrid position and do not be surprised if he gets some carries running the ball. Who knows what will happen to incoming running back Charles West, but if he does come to school he could be some help to the running game.
Good news for BYU is that the offensive line is very experienced with three starters back and the wide receiving corp is deep with Mitch Mathews, Devon Blackmon, Mitchell Juergens, plus Nick Kurtz is coming back from his broken foot.
The offense still runs through Taysom Hill and he is the type of player that can take over a game, and while the offense may not be elite as some thought the Cougar offense has the potential to still be very good.