Bronco Mendenhall Post-Scrimmage Interview
Taysom Hill and Christian Stewart saw the vast majority of the reps on Saturday as would be expected. Hill finished the day 9/15 for 98 yards and a touchdown pass to Mitchell Juergens. Christian Stewart aired it as well, finishing 12/17 for 116 yards and a nice 23 yard touchdown pass on a fade route to Devon Blackmon. Freshman Hayden Griffits saw action in the last series and threw the only interception of the day to end the scrimmage. Griffits finished 1/2 for 8 yards and the interception.
Adam Hine was the star of Saturday’s scrimmage as he gashed the defense on 11 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown. He also hauled in 53 yard pass on a wheel route down the sideline that saw him catch the ball with no defender within 15 yards of him. Hine was the starter at running back alongside Paul Lasike. Nate Carter also got extensive work with the second team and received praise from Robert Anae for his efforts on the team. Carter also blocked 2 punts during punt drills and could have blocked another but pulled up at the last second.
The big news of the day was the foot injury to Nick Kurtz. Kurtz was enjoying a stellar fall camp and suffered what Coach Mendenhall reported was a stress fracture. Initial diagnosis put Kurtz out 6-8 weeks but he was to meet with a specialist on Monday to get a second evaluation. Mitchell Juergens and Devon Blackmon scored both touchdowns in the scrimmage.
True freshman Trey Dye had an excellent showing during the scrimmage, showing ability to make moves in the open field to gain yards. Dye had a touchdown pass nullified by an illegal procedure call which would have gone for 70 yards approximately. Dye shook Nebraska transfer Harvey Jackson to break into the open field and before cruising to pay dirt. Coach Mendenhall said he expects Dye to play this season pending Dye being able to work out the mental side of the game. Mendenhall said Dye is "skilled with [the ball], whether he's returning, catching in the flat, even when we hand it off to him...He has a nice skill-set with the ball in his hands.”
The offensive line won the battle of the trenches on Saturday. The line was punishing the defensive line and linebackers un run blocking, paving the way for Adam Hine, Paul Lasike, and Nate Carter to gash the defense. In pass protection the line was up to the task for the most part. Individual players faltered on some plays but the protection picked up the blitz well and the communication between the line and running backs was on point. Bronco Mendenhall and Nick Howell both mentioned that they needed their defenders to hold up better at the point of attack.
Offensive Line Depth Chart
The offensive line rotation is taking shape with 7 players rotating with the first string unit. Those 7 are: De’Ondre Wesley (LT), Kyle Johnson (LG), Terrance Alletto (LG, RG, C), Edward Fusi (C), Brayden Kearsley (RG), Ului Lapuaho (RT), and Brock Stringham (RG, RT). The starting five that took the field for the first series on Saturday was (L-R) Wesley, Johnson, Alletto, Kearsley, and Lapuaho. Robert Anae has stated that he envisions 10 guys travelling and said today he hopes to play 10 guys if they are capable. Brad Wilcox, Ryker Mathews, and Solomone Kafu appear to be the next three linemen in the rotation.
It was a back and forth battle between the offense and defense today that featured many of the younger crop of players on the roster. Today was a day to see who could step up and make some noise while playing in front of Cougar fans at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Some starters were held out and others got limited reps, but for the most part the day belonged to the up and comers.
Tuiloma & Langi
On the first defensive series middle linebacker Harvey Langi was able to get into the backfield, along with Travis Tuiloma, to make a nice play and nail Adam Hine for a tackle for a loss. Langi and Tuiloma were able to get past the offensive line and with a combined effort to make the play. Both Coach Mendenhall and Howell said they expect Harvey Langi to play this season.
In the same series, Travis Tuiloma was able to beat the center and apply pressure on Taysom Hill. Hill was forced to make the throw a little earlier than he wanted and the pass went incomplete. While initially sustaining the two-gap, Tuiloma is showing an ability to get into the backfield from his nose guard position.
The more reps Graham Rowley gets, the more he is proving he can really play. A high effort, high motor player with a nose for the ball, Rowley’s mobility and quickness off the line provides fits for offensive linemen. Even when he’s scraping down the line he’s tough to get a hand on, and that was the case during a run play opposite of him. Rowley was able to scrape down the line and make the play for no gain.
In a scheme shift on Saturday the first string defensive line saw Marques Johnson take the field at right end with Travis Tuiloma at nose tackle and Remington Peck at left end. Johnson also played at left end when Rowley was on the field alongside him. It appears the coaching staff is looking to get Johnson on the field and that he will be able to play multiple positions. Coach Mendenhall stated he feels he has 9 linemen that he would feel comfortable playing this season in different scenarios and that the depth is the best in his 10 seasons as the head coach at BYU.
True freshman outside linebacker Fred Warner showed some speed on one specific play trailing Taysom Hill on the back side as Hill rolled out. Warner turned on the burners and forced Hill to throw the ball out of bounds.
On a day in which the less experienced could prove themselves, linebacker Jordan Egbert had a solid day overall. He was in on a few plays that resulted in no gains on the ground. One week in, Egbert is having a solid fall camp.
Although he’s no far removed from serving a mission to Mississippi, Troy Hinds also had a very solid performance on the day. On the fourth series of the day, against the second team offense, Hinds read the red option well and strung out the play, forcing Nate Carter to the outside. The much smaller Carter juked his way to the outside and Hinds pursued him until Carter ran out of real estate.
Against the second team offense in his second series on the field, Troy Hinds had a series of successes. On the first play Hinds was able to break up a screen pass by beating the blocks to get to the receiver for the incompletion. The second play he was able to make a tackle on the running back. The third play was his best as he, along with middle linebacker Austin Heder, was able to get into the backfield for a whistle sack.
Teu Kautai was moved back into the middle at linebacker, and on one specific play he delivered a punishing blow to Adam Hine as he was coming up the middle. Kautai read the play quickly and rushed in to fill the gap hitting Hine with a powerful blow. After the hit Kautai took a little celebratory walk to commemorate the punishing blow.
Also delivering a punishing hit, but this time from the Buck linebacker position, was Jherremya Leuta-Douyere. Leuta-Douyere, much like Kautai, quickly stepped up into the hole and laid the wood in a punishing manner to Hine as he was looking to break through the offensive line. Leuta-Douyere met him head on and stood up the back for no gain. JLD led the defense on the day with 6 total tackles in the scrimmage.
Having a relatively quiet but highly productive fall camp is Austin Heder. During today’s scrimmage, Heder was able to beat the block to break up a screen pass to make a nice individual play.
Davis Steps Up
Having made the switch from offense back to defense, Michael Davis got into the action today showing good run support. From his cornerback position, Davis hit a wide receiver forcing him out of bounds on an outstanding play breaking up a bubble screen.
Davis came up big towards the end of the scrimmage. He’s showing more physical play as a defensive back by shedding blocks and making tackles. On another bubble screen, Davis shed a block to make a nice hit on a receiver looking to get past the speedy corner. However, Davis was having none of that and hit the wide receiver out of bounds to the delight of his defensive teammates. Nick Howell mentioned that he thought Davis stood out during the scrimmage.
Preator Beginning to Emerge
Up and coming cornerback Jordan Preator got into the mix after the manner of Davis. Preator also beat a block on a bubble play to make a tackle on a wide receiver for little to no gain. Preator is showing more potential as fall camp wears on. Coach Howell also singled out Preator as a guy who played well this morning.
Jones Raw but Talented
Safety Grant Jones, at 6-5, 200 pounds, picked off quarterback Hayden Griffits and returned it back for a sizable gain after Griffits left the ball high across the middle. Jones is a walk-on wide receiver who was converted to safety and had the only pick of the day.
Special teams continue to be a source of concern for coaches and fans alike. Only one field goal was attempted today by walk-on kicker Andrew Mikkelsen. Mikkelsen had the leg for the 50 yard attempt but the kick sailed wide left. Scott Arrellano had a mixed back of punts, booming some end over end and others with a high arcing spiral. Nate Carter blocked two of the punts as mentioned earlier. Kick returners on the day saw Adam Hine team with Paul Lasike, Mitchell Juergens paired with Devon Blackmon, and Michael Davis also paired with Juergens. Blackmon was the first punt returner on the field, followed by Michael Shelton and then Keanu Nelson. Chase Larson looks like he’ll be the second string deep snapper behind Kevin O’Mary. Coach Mendenhall said that the special teams are behind in most facets but that he expects them to pick up the pace.
Mitch Mathews Audio
Wide receiver Mitch Mathews talks about today’s offensive objectives. To listen to Mathews click the audio link below.