BYU linebacker Maika Kaufusi listens to position coach Justin Ena after the Cougars practice in Provo on Friday, March 17, 2023.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Justin Ena has a reputation. He’s an intense football coach. Nothing slides. Everybody is accountable.

Ena returned to BYU this winter after coaching at San Diego State. His years playing at BYU were during the final seasons of legendary LaVell Edwards (1997-2001). He previously coached at Utah, Utah State, Weber State, Utah Tech and SUU.

“Coach Ena is intense. He’ll get the most out of you. I’m excited. You need that out there at linebacker, someone to give you a spark, and get you going. Coach Ena has been at different places and coached NFL linebackers so he knows what it takes.” — BYU linebacker Ben Bywater

His job under new BYU new defensive coordinator Jay Hill is to implement an aggressive, attacking linebacker corps, train them to be zeroed in on gaps, and force offensive linemen to worry about what they’re doing in blocking schemes.

After years of playing bend-but-don’t-break defense, he and Hill have their work cut out for them, especially with veterans Max Tooley and Ben Bywater sidelined for rehabilitation from injuries and surgeries.

“We’re getting a lot of experience for some of our youthful backers,” said Ena. 

“I’m excited to see what Ace and Maika Kaufusi continue to do. In watching film from practices, I’d say this class has been a pleasant surprise how they move around, they are athletic and tall. Now we’re just trying to make sure we put it all together.”

Ena said what’s been thrown at BYU’s defenders so far needs to be digested …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


BYU football: Linebackers pushing levers of aggression this spring

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