BYU will enter Saturday's game with Utah missing one of its most important defensive players.
Senior linebacker Spencer Hadley has been suspended for five games, as the result of an honor code violation.
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced an indefinite suspension in an afternoon press release, citing a violation of team rules; school spokesperson Carri Jenkins later released a statement, in which the five-game term was attached to Hadley's suspension.
"The university has determined that there was a violation of the honor code, resulting in a five-game suspension, during which time Spencer will not represent the university. Spencer will remain in school this semester and is working with the dean of students."
If Hadley remains out for only the five games of the suspension and is permitted to rejoin the team, his first opportunity to play again would come on Friday, Oct. 25, when BYU hosts Boise State.
A former starter at strongside linebacker, Hadley moved inside to the Buck linebacker position in August camp, and had started both games this season at that spot. The 6'1", 227 lb. Hadley has 16 career starts in 39 apperances; one of the top tacklers on the 2012 team, he scored his first career touchdown on a fumble recovery in last season's win over Idaho.
During camp. Mendenhall lauded the efforts of Hadley, who he said was attracting the attention of pro scouts.
"Based on the NFL traffic coming in already," said Mendenhall on August 12th, "they love Spencer, by how hard he plays and how productive he is. Spencer is not far behind (fellow LB Kyle Van Noy). Certainly the accolades and attention are much different, but there's a lot of folks who really like him."
Before Hadley moved inside, senior Tyler Beck was the projected starter at Buck; in Hadley's absence, it is presumed that Beck will get the start versus Utah. Current weakside linebacker backup Manoa Pikula was battling Beck at Buck before his move outside, so he would also be considered another personnel option to help fill the spot alongside starting middle linebacker Uani Unga. Unga's current backup is another former Buck linebacker in Austen Jorgensen; inside linebackers coach Paul Tidwell said during the summer media day that Jorgensen knows both inside positions equally well and could be used at either spot.
Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News