Spring practice report: Day 12

The team practiced at LaVell Edwards Stadium for the first time this spring on Friday in front of family and alumni. It was a full-padded practice session that saw some good play on both sides of the football.

First Series

Jake Heaps took the first set of reps with the ones on offense going against the ones on defense. Short runs of 2 and 3 yards by Joshua Quezada and Bryan Kariya, respectively, were followed by an incomplete pass on third down.

"We came out good today, I thought," noted defensive end Eathyn Manumaleuna. "This week, after Tuesday's practice, coaches stressed that we were making too many mental errors, and we fixed a lot of that today, I thought. I was happy with how the defense came out for sure."

Second Series

The defense accounted for another three-and-out as the twos on offense went against the twos on defense. Big hits were made by safety Mike Hague, linebacker Austen Jorgensen and defensive lineman Mike Muehlmann.

Riley Nelson guided the second unit, throwing his one pass to Zed Mendenhall. The defense held firm on third-and-short, with the aforementioned Jorgensen and Muehlmann accounting for the tackle.

Third Series

The third series started out with a bang as J.J. Di Luigi scampered outside for a 35-yard run.

"The run-blocking has been good for the most part and we've made strides in that area," commented offensive lineman Braden Brown. "The new formations we're running out of help us to be more aggressive, and hopefully that really continues to help us because we still have a lot to improve on."

Lark completed his only pass of the series, a 5-yard completion to Mendenhall. The defense again held firm on a third-and-short, when Travis Uale and Hebron Fangupo stalemated David Foote at the line of scrimmage for a gain of just a yard.

Fourth Series

Heaps completed both of his passes during the fourth set of series for 34 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown came on a 31-yard pass to McKay Jacobson that defensive back Jordan Johnson almost picked off. Jacobson made a very nice jumping grab on the play.

Fifth Series

Heaps went 1-of-4 for 12 yards on a completion to Ross Apo during the next set of reps. Jameson Frazier and Preston Hadley combined to knock down a pass at the line of scrimmage, as the defense brought the house during a first-down play. The series ended with another tipped pass that should have been picked off by Chase Pendley.

Sixth Series

Riley Nelson went 3-of-3 for 19 yards during the next set on a bunch of underneath passes for short yardage. Receptions were made by Foote, Matt Marshall and Dallin Cutler. Hague again made a very nice hit out of the defensive backfield, which was a theme throughout the practice session.

Seventh Series

The best work by the offense came with the final set of reps as Heaps guided the offense 80 yards downfield for a touchdown. He was greatly aided by Kariya, who started off the series with a 33-yard run and ended it with a 3-yard run for a touchdown.

Heaps went 3-of-3 during the series for 23 yards, with completions Austin Holt, Foote and Marcus Mathews. Mathews' catch was made on a critical third-down play inside the 10-yard line.

"I like how we competed today," summed up Manumaleuna. "It was just a lot of fun being there and we're having so much fun as a team this year. Guys are working hard every day and we all think this will be a real special year for us. We just have to continue with that effort."

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