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Provo • Coach Bronco Mendenhall's BYU football team lacked discipline in 2014, evidenced by a boatload of costly personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and the ugly brawl that erupted after the Cougars' 55-48 double-overtime loss to Memphis in the Miami Beach Bowl.
If Tuesday's third practice of preseason camp is any indication, Mendenhall is hell-bent on reining in poor and boorish on-field behavior this year.
Practice was interrupted twice after some minor skirmishes broke out and the players were directed through intense conditioning drills that included up-downs, sit-ups, push-ups and the like by new strength and conditioning coach Frank Wintrich. All told, about 40 minutes of the two hour-plus practice featured the entire team being punished.
At least four players offensive linemen Parker Dawe, Ryker Mathews, Jacob Jiminez and Jaterrius Gulley collapsed and/or fell to their knees when scrimmaging resumed after the drills. Dawe and Jiminez were helped from the playing area and were later diagnosed with heat exhaustion.
Mathews and Gulley recovered from cramping and other issues and finished practice. All four were OK a couple hours after the practice and are expected to participate fully when camp resumes on Wednesday.
It was a sunny, slightly humid day in Provo with temperatures in the mid-80s at 12:30 p.m. when practice concluded.
Media members and the general public were allowed to watch practice Tuesday, but even before the day began BYU advised that players and coaches would not be made available for post-practice interviews. On the way to lunch at the Student Athlete Building, one senior casually mentioned in passing that it was the most intense and grueling practice he could ever remember.
BYU's "Fall Camp Media Availability and Reporting Policies" forbid credentialed reporters from naming players involved in altercations and do not allow the reporting of conversations between players or between players and coaches or other BYU personnel that take place during practice.
After 15 minutes or so of the first conditioning session, Mendenhall whistled for the drills to stop and directed the players to approach him. However, he was apparently displeased that some were still loafing and told Wintrich to run through the drills again.
Sophomore linebacker injured
Colby Jorgensen, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound linebacker who was recruited as a tight end out of Provo's Timpview High, suffered an apparent neck injury while trying to make a tackle early in the practice and was immobilized by trainers for precautionary reasons. Jorgensen recently returned from a two-year church mission to Canada.
Jorgensen was said to have feeling in his extremities, but was carted off the field on a gurney and taken to a nearby hospital for scans and observation. BYU had not updated his condition as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Defense generally ruled the Cougars' first two days of 11-on-11 work on Saturday and Monday, but on Tuesday the offense took over and dominated.
Senior quarterback Taysom Hill threw long touchdown passes to Devon Blackmon, Mitchell Juergens, Kurt Henderson and Moroni Lualu-Pututau, and freshman QB Tanner Mangum also moved the offensive well while getting some extensive work.
Mangum threw a pretty TD pass to freshman returned missionary Josh Weeks.
Lualu-Pututau's touchdown covered nearly 70 yards, while Blackmon and Juergens made excellent catches for scores.
BYU's punters struggled again on Tuesday, a day after Mendenhall said he would give a "frowny face" to their performance on Monday. … Kicker Trevor Samson was perfect on his limited field goal and PAT attempts. … WR Mitch Mathews (sports hernia), OL Tuni Kanuch (pectoral muscle strain) and DB Micah Hanneman were held out of contact drills for the third straight practice.
Saturday's BYU football scrimmage
Where • LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo
When • Gates open at 9 a.m., scrimmage begins at approximately 10:30 a.m.
Admission • Free