Players on both sides are obviously hungry for contact after a long summer layoff. BYU coaches, however, have to walk a fine line between continuing to allow aggressive contact or forcibly limiting the extra-physical play during practice.
Brown may be the latest short term casualty, but the Cougars have already lost the services this year of possible linebacker starters Paul Walkenhorst and Bryant Atkinson.
Linebacker Cameron Jensen has returned to practice after missing days last week with an ankle sprain. Matt Smith, a former Montana All-State wide receiver, took a crushing blow this morning from Cougarback Aaron Francisco and cornerbacks Brandon Heaney and Micah Alba. He spent the afternoon practice session watching from the sidelines.
Others who did not participate in this afternoon's practice included cornerback Nathan Soelberg, and katback K.C. Bills. Offensive lineman Brian Sanders and running back Naufahi Tahi limped off during today's action.
Before he was hobbled, Tahi played impressively in drills, weaving and powering his way into the secondary on several occasions. On another play, Tahi made a nice one-handed catch and ran the ball around pursuing defensive backs until he was forced out of bounds.
Also impressive today was running back Bryce Mahuika, who showed excellent speed, quickness as a runner and receiver. In one play, Mahuika rushed on a left-side scamper that netted close to 17 yards. He also connected with quarterback Jason Beck for a red zone touchdown to cap off the drive.
Fullback Moa Peaua continues to stand out with great speed for his size. He led the way for Mahuika to scat virtually untouched into the end zone for another score.
Running back Raymond Hudson was on the receiving end of a jarring power-packed hit. After taking a breather on the turf floor, Hudson was slowly helped to his feet by Cougar assistants.
In other action, Billy Skinner laid a crushing hit on wide receiver Michael Reed's that resulted in a fumble. Cheers rang out from the defensive sideline. After a slow walk back to the huddle, Reed caught the very next pass for a 20-yard reception that prompted immediate cheers from his offensive teammates.
Defensive end Shaun Nua, clearly the most impressive defensive end in fall camp so far, turned the cheers back to the defense when he intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. Nua continues to be unblockable with inside and outside pass rushes that give the offensive linemen fits at every turn.
In the linebackers ranks, Cameron Jensen sacked quarterback Matt Berry, and Justin Luettgerodt made a great pass deflection over the middle that fell incomplete.
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