“Oh, I’m so excited,” said BYU linebacker Cameron Jensen. “Scrimmages are what keep you up at night because of the anticipation, especially the first one of the fall after all the long workouts. I’m a senior, but I still get excited, and sleeping will probably be tough for me tonight.”
The scrimmage will include full-contact drills without the quick whistles that have been the standard at practices so far. While it has been frustrating for the defense to stop halfway during drills, they recognize that it is a necessary precaution by head coach Bronco Mendenhall to keep his players healthy for the season.
“Yeah, it’s a bit frustrating,” said Jensen. “You obviously can’t scrimmage all the time, but you do get all geared up to lay someone out only to stop right before you do that, but tomorrow it’s going to be different and we’ll be bringing it as a defense. Of course you don’t want to get anyone hurt and we recognize that, but yeah, stopping half-way in football is not what football is, so I can’t wait to get going.”
The Overlooked Offense
The defense has been making great strides this fall in adapting to its new 3-4 scheme. The squad has mounted an improved resistance to the potent Cougar offense thus far. While all eyes have been on the defense, the offense is quietly going about its own improvements.
“We’re getting more sharp in what we do every day,” said quarterback John Beck. “It’s a credit to what we did all summer and we recognize that it takes some time in the fall to get the timing back to where it needs to be, but it’s definitely coming.”
A hallmark of this offense under coaches Robert Anae and Lance Reynolds is the repetition of simple plays. Repetition breeds perfection, which is what the Cougar offense is striving for this season.
“We’re good,” stated Beck. “We finished very strong offensively last season, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be better this season with the guys we have. You know, it’s all about repetition and making things second-nature. It’s so different with how we practice now. We won’t move on to another play until we get the play we’re practicing down. We’ll finish some practices running only 3 or 4 plays offensively, which is something we would never do before Coach Anae got here.”
Beck, like Jensen, is looking forward to tomorrow’s scrimmage because it will serve as a measuring point in the development of the offense. After the scrimmage, the team will realign the depth chart, and gauge what areas need the most work.
“I’m very excited for it,” said Beck regarding tomorrow’s scrimmage. “It’s more live and it’s more real. The goal tomorrow is to keep moving the ball and not get any three and outs. It’s all about scoring points, and you do that by keeping on the field which we aim to do tomorrow.”
True freshman cornerback Robbie Buckner took most of his reps with the ones because Justin Robinson and Kayle Buchanan were both held out of 11-on-11 drills. Buckner made his presence known when he knocked down two passes in coverage. The most notable breakup came on an attempted out pattern from Jason Beck to Matt Allen.
“I’m getting more comfortable out there,” said Buckner. “Now that we’ve gone through a few practices, I feel that I know what we’re doing more and more, and I’m able to make plays because of it. My goal is to stay out there and play. I just want to play—help out wherever and whenever I can.”
Running back Curtis Brown is getting married this weekend and is out of town along with some veteran players. Most notably absent was offensive lineman Jake Kuresa. With Kuresa in California and Ray Feinga resting a minor injury, Travis Bright and Tom Sorenson stepped in at the offensive guard position with the first-teamers. Feinga did suit up and participate in light drills, but stayed out of the full contact stuff.
Freshman Dan Van Sweden, who was previously buried on the depth chart with the fours, saw first team duty today at the outside linebacker position filling in for Bryan Kehl.
“Coach just yelled at me. ‘Swede, you’re with the ones; get in there!’” said Van Sweden. “So I just got in there and tried not to get killed. I want to play this year, and it’s going to be tough with all the good linebackers here, but I’m thankful they gave me the reps they did today. Hopefully I didn’t screw up too bad and they give me more work there.”
Cougar fans need not worry about Kehl. He was not injured; he just took a few plays off.
- Chris Bolden again made his daily appearance in the Cougar backfield recording two sacks. His promise to “Bring it every day” remains in tact.
- Brandon Howard is taking every opportunity to stand out when getting reps with the ones. Today he knocked down a sideline pass to Matt Allen. Howard was again with Ben Criddle as the first team cornerbacks
- Linebacker Gary Lovely deflected a pass that cornerback Nate Hutchinson then intercepted. Hutchinson made a great diving catch on the play.
- Ray Hudson scored a touchdown from two yards out and quarterback John Beck ended the day with a strike to Zac Collie in the endzone from eight yards out.
- TotalBlueSports.com will have complete coverage of tomorrow’s scrimmage. Look for the first reports to come in early tomorrow afternoon.
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