When Adam Hine took a kickoff last weekend, he bolted his way through Utah's special teams with quickness and ease. It made one wonder why a player with his speed wasn't being utilized more within the BYU offense.
With Jamaal Williams having suffered a major concussion and stinger, will Hine get a chance to see more time in the Cougar backfield Friday against Middle Tennessee?
"Well, we'll see what happens, and I'm not totally sure what the coaches have planned for me," said Hine. "I'm hoping to contribute more to the team this weekend, but we'll have to wait and see what exactly that is. I think the coaches are going to do what they feel will give us the best option to win regardless."
The good thing is Hine did see an increase in reps this week with the absence of Williams practicing with the team until he passed a concussion test.
"I would say there has been an increase in everyone's reps though just because of the issues with Jamaal,” said Hine. “It's more because of his vacancy more than anything though."
Hine has contributed quite a bit on special teams this year. Against Virginia he averaged 22 yards per kick return, but also had a big return late in the game called back. He had a 41-yard kick return against Texas that was moved back because of a penalty, and one that went for a touchdown against Utah that was called back.
"I don't know, I just keep my fingers crossed because that's three games in a row now that I've had kick returns called back," Hine said. "We'll see what's going to happen this week. If we can get one off clean, I'll be able to help the team that way and we'll see what happens."
Hine's burst is evident, and all it took was one kick return against the Utes for them to realize they needed to kick away from him. It appears the ol’ missionary rust has been shaken off his legs.
"It's coming off a little bit I guess," Hine said with a smile. "The shake and bake is coming back a little. It's exciting being able to get into the open field and open up and get after it."
It's why many would love to see Hine line up in the backfield with Williams. His speed is evident on kick returns and would complement Williams greatly. So, what does he need to do to get more playing time in the backfield?
"You know what, I'm not sure exactly what I need to do. I just think I need to keep working hard in practice and earn the trust of my coaches," Hine said. "I think I need to earn the trust of the team so they know that I can come in at any time and step in and do well. I think once I start doing that, they'll put me in more."
The reason why Hine hasn’t been given more opportunities to run the ball could lie squarely upon his shoulders. Sure, Hine is quick and fast, but there's more to it than that if one wants to see the field and participate.
"Yeah, there is a lot of talent on the team, but most of it is really on you," Hine said. "There are things that I need to work on. I think once I'm able to do those things, then I think I can get the trust of the coaches. I'll get there though."
Many BYU fans hope Hine gets there this week so he can run against the Blue Raider defense.
"I'm not exactly sure," Hine said when asked what the running back rotation will look like on Friday. "It's going to look kind of how it did before when Jamaal went out. I'm not sure if we will see him in for this next game. We'll see what happens. There should be a chance for me to get some playing time, but we have seen the increased reps of Paul [Lasike] and Mike [Alisa] as well as on my side too. It's just kind of up in the air and we'll see what happens."
Scouting the Blue Raider defense
While Middle Tennessee's defense might not boast ACC-, Pac-12-, or Big-12-caliber players, they do have a rather outstanding player in 6-foot-3-inch, 236-pound strong side linebacker Stephen Roberts.
"They've got one outside linebacker [that] we compare him to our very own Kyle Van Noy," said Hine. "He's one of those type of players. He'll play hard, he's strong and he'll come down fast. They've got other backers that are big and physical, but it isn't something that we haven't gone up against before."
Middle Tennessee runs a 4-3 defense with players that aren't quite as big as those playing for Texas, Virginia or Utah, but it is a team that does possess talent. It’s a defense that has a lot of speed in the secondary.
"They look like a tough team," said Hine. "They look like a team that's going to give us a run for our money, but if we go out there and do what we need to do, it's going to be a lot of fun. Their defense is similar to what Utah ran against us."