|LM Otero / Associated Press|
|Preseason injuries are taking a major toll on coach Bronco Mendenhall's BYU team.|
BYU senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy is one exceptional player.
The key word in that sentence is "one," as the Cougars defense has been decimated by injuries during fall camp. The secondary and defensive line have been hit especially hard.
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Dallin Leavitt is the latest BYU corner to be felled by injury, though the freshman is dealing with a relatively minor hip strain. Leavitt could be back in a week, but he is one of six BYU defensive backs out or limited at the moment.
Starting CB Jordan Johnson suffered a season-ending knee injury Monday. Touted junior-college transfer Trenton Trammell hurt his knee in spring practice. Mike Hague and Trevor Bateman are recovering from knee surgeries, while Sam Lee is out with a back injury. Jacob Hannemann is playing professional baseball after being drafted in the third round by the Chicago Cubs.
Sophomore wide receiver Eric Thornton is now playing defense just to give BYU a sliver of depth.
BYU is also down to two nose tackles, with Tuni Kanuch lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.
Van Noy is one of the best linebackers in college football, but he can't alone keep receivers from running free down the field or running backs plowing up the middle. Now, if he can be in three, or 11, places at once, that would really be something.
Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.