Coach Mendenhall said that the bumps and bruises of spring ball began showing up in today's practice and a number of players were held out of portions or all of practice today. Those limited included Toloa'i Ho Ching (Knee), Jordan Johnson (Knee), De'Ondre Wesley (Hand), Tim Duran, Brock Stringham (Shoulder), Terenn Houk, Ross Apo (Shoulder), and Eric Thornton (Groin).
The first string offensive line during today's practice went as follows (L-R): Kyle Johnson, Terrance Alletto, Edward Fusi, Tuni Kanuch, and Michael Yeck. Terrance Alletto at left guard is a development that we hadn't seen to this point in spring camp as Alletto had been running with the first string line at center. The second string line went as follows (L-R): Quinn Lawlor, Solomone Kafu, Parker Dawe, Jordan Black, and Ului Lapuaho. The third string line was (L-R): Lawlor, Brian Rawlinson, Dawe, Black, and Lapuaho.
The running back position is a position group that most BYU fans are not worried about but the athletes at the position are showing well right now. Jamaal Williams had the offensive highlight of the day with a 70 yard burst up the seam untouched for a touchdown. Robertson Daniel closed and may have made the tackle if Williams had 5 more yards to go but Williams looks like he's in mid-season form already. Nate Carter has made quite the impression on the scout team the last couple seasons and is making waves in spring ball right now. Carter carried the ball 3 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. Carter busted off a 60 yard run midway through team segment that may have gone for longer in live action.
Nick Kurtz is the big name among the wide receivers this spring due to his high profile recruiting saga and deciding to sign with BYU. Kurtz has been adjusting to the pace and rigors of high level, division one football but is coming along. Coach Mendenhall said that he's encouraged by the strides that Kurtz has made so far. Kurtz nearly hauled in a nice TD pass from Taysom Hill but juggled the ball and allowed Michael Shelton to strip it out of his hands in the endzone. The first string wide receivers for BYU today were Kurt Henderson, Colby Pearson, and Mitchell Juergens. Pearson, a walk-on sophomore out of Blackfoot, ID, has made some impressive plays, showing no fear of going over the middle to make the difficult catch. Pearson had a nice 19 yard reception during team segment this afternoon on a pass thrown over the middle by Taysom Hill. Kurt Henderson nearly had a touchdown reception of his own but the play was flagged for pass interference on Trent Trammel.
Not a lot to note on the quarterbacks. Taysom Hill continues to show flashes of the athlete BYU fans have come to know and love, reeling off 2 long runs when the opportunity showed itself this afternoon. Christian Stewart is steady as the backup. Billy Green only saw a few reps today but saw his last pass deflected and intercepted by Austin Heder.
Devin Mahina has been lurking the shadows seemingly for his entire career, flashing potential but never being able to translate it to the field due to injuries or other speed bumps. Coach Mendenhall said that Mahina is the frontrunner at tight end right now. Mahina is looking good so far. The kicking game continues to be a question mark. Vance "Moose" Bingham, Trevor Samson, and newcomer Austin Brasher are all contending for the job. Samson connected on a 39 yard field goal in team, while Brasher pushed a 38 yard attempt wide left. Coach Mendenhall said that special teams are lagging behind the rest of the team due to their spring practice design but he expects things to pick up as the practice sessions continue going forward.
During the beginning of spring camp the defense was ahead of the offense, as is always the case, and it showed. They flexed their muscles early keeping the offense out of the end zone the first week of observation time. Today the offense definitely got the best of the defense running roughshod through the heart of the defense. Still there were some defensive success and some points to take note of.
Tomasi Laulile came out with the first team defense to start of team period. Travis Tuiloma played the nose guard position with Remington Peck moving from left d-tackle to right d-tackle. Coach Kaufusi said today that he expects Laulile to be in the mix this year and see playing time. On one play both Laulile and Peck got through the line and wrapped up Williams for a one yard loss. The defensive line held strong during a goal line stance in accompany with the linebackers on one series.
Mike linebacker Zac Stout had a very good day today with the first team. In the first series he read the run play and busted up the gut to tackle Jamaal Williams for a loss. In the second series Stout came across the field to make the tackle brag on Kurtz. He also combined with Alani Fua on one play for a tackle stuffing a run play on the edge.
Adam Pulsipher made a few nice plays from the Buck linebacker position. Pulsipher plays physical and seems to be playing well early in spring. Walk-on linebacker Peter Walsh recorded a sack today getting around the edge to reach the quarterback. Buck Linebacker Jherremya Leuta-Douyere made a nice read on a run play to get to running back Algie Brown during one series of play. Austin Heder recorded an interception after a Billy Green pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage.
Cornerbacks and Safeties
Robertson Daniel showed his speed from the safety position. Upon Williams's mega-yard scamper through the middle of the defense that went for a touchdown Daniel, who was covering the other side of the field, turned on the jets and nearly chased down Williams from behind. If Daniel had two more yards he would have caught Williams from behind and knocked him out of bounds. Daniel made a nice coverage play on tight end Devin Mahina, who has begun to emerge over spring camp, to drive him out of bounds on a quick passing strike play.