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More on BYU's first scrimmage of preseason camp

Published August 10, 2012 1:55 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It is back to the regular grind for the BYU football team today, with practices at 10:20 a.m. and 5 p.m., after getting to scrimmage on Thursday at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Coach Bronco Mendenhall said he would ask his coaches for a two-deep chart at the respective positions they oversee after the scrimmage, so perhaps the depth chart will be a topic of discussion after today's first practice. Here's our coverage of the scrimmage, with a story about how the freshmen shined and a notebook that primarily focuses on the situation surrounding kicker Justin Sorensen and his ailing back. Riley Nelson played three series — the first, the third, and the fifth — before retiring for the day. He led the offense on a touchdown drive the first series — thanks in part to a wonderful diving catch by Cody Raymond on third-and-10. His other two drives resulted in punts. I asked him what he thought of his performance. "I will have to go back and watch film. A couple of times I was sure I saw something, and came off the field, and coach [Brandon] Doman said he saw something else. ...If there's anything I was disappointed in, it was how many times I got sacked. Yeah, you can say it is protection, things like that, but the bottom line is you are the quarterback and you gotta get the ball out of your hands. Um, we will have to go watch film on that and see what happens." As many fans saw last year, Nelson doesn't go down easily. There were several "whistle sacks" on him that he probably would have escaped in a live game situation. "I think [coach] has confidence in my innate ability to do that," he said. "So, I mean we come out here on Saturdays and I don't seem to have a problem. So if he wants to work the defensive line rush and keep things clean, it is good. The only thing that is disappointing to me is we don't get to rep scramble drill as much, so our receivers are breaking off into routes, finding those levels, once I do break the pocket. But we will set aside time for that. It is a long fall camp, and we have done that drill before, and we will do it a lot before we kick off the season." The offensive line on the first series consisted of center Blair Tushaus, Ryan Freeman, Brock Stringham (whose ankle sprain later was the day's only injury), Solomone Kafu and Michael Yeck. On his second series, the line consisted of Tushaus, Ryker Mathews, Kafu, Stringham and Yeck. Nelson said he would like to get in work with the five starters at O-line as soon as possible. "We are developing depth right now, and that's good, and I trust the guys in front of me, but we are missing a lot of experience, and a lot of games played, that should be out there on the offensive line. So as quick as we can get them out there, let's get them out there," he said. A few more comments from the scrimmage: Nelson on how well the freshmen did: "Yeah, no question. Jamaal Williams did real well, and Terenn Houk had a good catch and Dylan Collie, you know, we expected nothing less from him. Then of course Jamaal {Williams], I feel like he kinda became a fan favorite today. He's very explosive and he's got lots of speed, and if he can keep playing like he was today, I think he may be able to see the field this year, which is amazing because he is even young for a freshman. I am real excited for him." Nelson on the pass game being opened up by the run game: "I know you watch football and all the gaudy passing numbers, and football is still a game of balance. Even those teams that throw 50 times a game balance it out with screens and stuff that basically are runs. We have good enough backs. I mean, you saw all our backs on display. Mike Alisa and then Dave [Foote], I felt like had one of the best scrimmages out of all the backs, and then Jamaal, and Adam [Hine] ran really well. All those guys. We have got enough backs that we need an under-the-center, downhill run game, and yeah, when that is running, the defense is really in a bind."Nelson on how they are pacing with opener three weeks away: "Really well. I feel like we are building up a good foundation of volume, now it becomes fine-tuning and the fine balance between putting in enough big, physical work, and staying healthy." Nelson on how much more effective the offense can be with Cody Hoffman, Ross Apo in there: "Very effective. That's all I am going to say. You don't want to put too much pressure on those guys, but they are proven playmakers. Nor do you want to take anything away from the guys who were making plays today. I think we are developing depth and once those guys get back, it will be fun to watch." Nelson on whether they are on track a week into fall camp: "No doubt. I really do. You always have to fight the tendency to want to rush things. But we are only at practice seven. I feel like we are on a good pace and well on our way. At times I get anxious, but if the coaches aren't worried, then I am not worried. And they are very confident, if not encouraged by our progress thus far."Coach Bronco Mendenhall on whether they will be able to run the ball better this season than at the start of last season: "I think so. The number of running backs alone, and the nature of who they are. And when you add Iona Pritchard and David Foote — the type of backs they are, kind of big, physical, drag-you-down backs. Then with Mike Alisa, there is some of that, but also some bursts. And then you look at complements with [Adam] Hine and Jamaal [Williams], there is kind of another element there. But two big wideouts on the outside, a good offensive line and a mobile quarterback, it could be a really good unit, I think." Mendenhall on how excited he is about the size at receiver: "Well, what we saw with Cody [Hoffman] last year with a lot of his catches, [came] after Riley scrambled. And it is really difficult to defend as a secondary player, especially when routes divert and your back is turned and you have to maintain concentration longer. The receiver has his eyes on the ball, and Riley extends plays, so that's a good combination. It makes it harder."




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