“I feel like it was definitely something we were looking forward to coming in [to fall camp]," said Wesley. "We've been progressing over spring and summer coming into fall camp to be a great unit.
"It was a great feeling knowing that we've got five guys that know what they're doing and backups who are confident. That's a great feeling. There's nothing better than that.”
The big left tackle feels the offense has progressed much under the coaching of BYU Offensive Line Coach Garret Tujague to the point where the line is a much different group now than it was last season.
“We are light years ahead of where we were last year,’ said Wesley. “I feel like it was definitely something we were looking forward to coming in. We are light years ahead of where we were last year.
"Having the knowledge and then just going out and acting instead of, you know, going out and playing ball and being dogs. I feel like that's the thing we've got this year in this o-line group.”
Last year the group was simply hoping to survive. Coach Anae and Coach Tujague were constantly raising their voices and instructing the o-line group to match expectation and execution levels. While the o-line performed adequately for the most part it was primarily running on instinct.
“We’re closer and we’re more of a close knit group where we joke around outside of the locker room,” Wesley said. “We’re all really close and having that knowledge of Coach Anae’s offense really helps us and motivates us and uplifts us. Last year we had that uncertainty and not really knowing what to do. I feel like last year we were just trying not to get yelled at rather than just knowing our assignments and just playing football. Now, I feel like we can just go out and play football, know our assignments and stay in the right spots. This year is going to be much different and I feel like that is the difference from last year to now.”
Wesley often times referred to his position group members as “dogs” that go out and get the hard work done. As a team leader on the line he wants to maintain that level of physicality and aggression up front.
“There are eighteen of us out there and we’re all dogs,” said Wesley. “That’s including myself. That’s the image I want to portray to my guys as a leader of this team and a leader to this offensive line. That’s what I want to portray; to come in, be dogs and be physical.”
The offensive linemen spent the offseason preparing their bodies ot hold up under the stress and maintain their weight throughout camp and the season.
“The biggest thing that has improved this year for us as a group is just being physically ready together by being in the weight room together and building that chemistry,” said Wesley. “I feel like last year during fall camp we didn’t really know each other as a group. Last year we really didn’t know what to expect, but this year we know what to expect. We know what to expect, we know how to handle our bodies, and we know how to be physical. We also know how to take constructive criticism really well and [use that to] improve as a unit. Those are some of the biggest differences from last year to this year.”
On a more personal level, DeOndre Wesley had set some personal goals over this past summer in preparation for fall camp. The big blindside protector put in a lot of work over the summer to ensure Taysom Hill can perform to the best of his ability.
“Just seeing where I was condition wise and physically [today], I feel like I’ve really increased my step and haven’t lost my pace when it comes to the tempo of the offense,” said Wesley. “I know my assignments and feel I’ll be at midseason form by the time the season starts. I don’t feel like I’ve lost a step at all since spring camp.”
First Day Depth Chart
There are 11 players out of the 18 on BYU’s 2014 roster that have received playing time during the 2013 season. Wesley gives a rundown of the first and second team units as they took the field accordingly.
“The second string is Ului Lapuaho at right tackle, Brayden Kearsley at right guard. Then we had Terrance Alletto, Fusi, and Tejan Koroma rotating at center. Alletto was playing left guard when he wasn’t at center so he was going back and forth, and then Brad Wilcox and Ryker Mathews were playing left and right tackle as well. We had a lot of guys switching around on the second unit.”
The New Center
One newcomer that impressed De’Ondre Wesley quite a bit was the first day performance of true freshman Tejan Koroma of Texas. Koroma was a first team all-state center out of Allen High School in Allen, Texas.
“He’s looking really good and I’m excited for him to see what he can do,” said Wesley. “I mean, you know, as a freshmen he’s out here with his eyes all wide and taking some deep breaths. I’m excited to see him play.”
Apparently many of the incoming linemen took the advice of some of the veteran players such as De’Ondre Wesley. The leadership within this current group of offensive linemen has taken hold not just in the unit improvement area but also in grafting in the younger players into the fold.
“Yeah, we took in all the new guys and I told them before fall camp that if they needed anything to come to me or some of the older guys,” said Wesley. “I said, ‘Hey freshmen and you new guys. It’s going to be rough and a long day and you’re going to be tired. You’re eyes are going to be all wide open and you’re going to be tired.’ I told them, ‘Just stop, take a deep breath, and ask us older guys for help.’ That’s what they did and they took that advice from me and they did really good.”
Wesley Speaks Out
Here is the audio of De’Ondre Wesley speaking with the assembled media. He fields many questions about the offensive line and about fall camp, in addition to the information he gave in the above article. Click the link below.