Sorensen making his case

This Saturday, BYU fans will flock to LaVell Edwards Stadium to see the Cougars hold their spring game. Safety Daniel Sorensen is one player that's excited and ready to show the goods in what will be his first spring game.

BYU fans will walk into LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday, hopefully dry and under decent playing conditions, to see a 70-play scrimmage simulating an actual game. One player excited to strap on the helmet and pads is strong safety Daniel Sorensen.

"Supper excited!" Sorensen said. "You can see what it's like without the pads on. There's a lot of pushing and shoving. You strap up and put the pads on and let the pads do the talking. Well, you can see out there [on the field] they say, 'Oh what if …' or 'He would of …' or 'He could of …,' so there is no lie when the pads are on. Without pads, it's for reasons of not getting guys hurt, but with the pads on, now that's football."

There might not be a lot of flash in the air Saturday, as is usually the case with these public scrimmages, but there is one aspect fans can watch for with a keen eye, and that's the execution side of the game.

"It all comes down to execution," Sorensen said. "It's about reading the keys right and assignment football. It's going to be fun and there's going to be a lot of emotions. Guys are going to be flying around out there. With guys like me, who are a little inexperienced, it's going to come down to execution. I think it's going to be fun. There's going to be some hitting going on out there."

The fans will see a young but talented secondary reading keys and making and effort to stop the Cougars' high-powered passing offense. It's a game where both sides of the ball want to end spring camp on a good note heading into the summer.

"We are a little young but we are all really talented out there," Sorensen said. "This Saturday, we'll see how we match up against the offense out there. This is the game that leads into fall camp, so you want to finish spring camp on a good note."

It will be Sorensen's first spring game. He signed in February of 2008 and received playing time at the outside linebacker position during the season. Upon his return from serving a mission, Sorensen was moved back to his high school position of safety, where he is currently developing.

"With athletes, they can move positions and play anywhere. I'm just happy with the change, I'm happy with the coaches and I'm doing anything that I can to get on the field and play with the team. If it's playing linebacker, I'll go back. If it's playing safety, I'll do that too. I think the coaches put us in the best position where we can reach our potential. It's not necessarily about what I want or where we want to play, but about the team and us reaching our potential. If they need an outside linebacker, a nickelback or a strong safety, I'll be there."

It doesn't really matter to Sorensen what position he plays. He trusts the coaches and said that whatever he plays becomes his favorite.

"I think you kind of grow into the position almost," Sorensen said. "You start learning the position and you start moving around. I honestly thought that after my mission I was going to play outside linebacker. Then they moved me to safety, and so I was kind of taken back. I wasn't upset or anything like that. It was just a different change."

So far Sorensen appears to be adjusting well to his new position. He's making plays, tipping balls and intercepting passes with the ones. He does feel he has a ways to go to get fully acclimated to his new position though.

"It's taking me a little while for me to get used to it," he said. "It's a different read, a different spot, a different look at the line of scrimmage and all the different keys and whatnot. I'm now playing off of the wide receivers and dropping back a little bit. It's now not being so aggressive to the ball, which is what I've struggled with probably most this spring. It's more about being patient as a safety, but I'm loving it. At safety, I think the whole defense is kind of built around the safety position. Andrew Rich really played it well last year. It really highlights that Kat position and I'm really lucky to play that position and it's really fun.

"As a linebacker, your reaction is to just run. Run towards the ball and stop the run, or run towards the read and coverage. As a safety, you're the last line of defense. You can't let anything get behind you. Your first reaction is to step backwards rather than go forward. You have to train your mind and body to be a little more patient, and that comes with reaction because you don't have time to think about it. That's what I've been working on over this spring."

Along with the acclimation process, Sorensen also has to learn each defensive position and responsibility in order to get players in the right position.

"Oh, we have to know what everybody is doing," said Sorensen. "If you can understand what the linebackers are doing, then you can understand what the cornerbacks are doing. Then it helps you to understand how you need to play your position better, and so slowly by slowly we're getting there."

Recently, the defensive secondary has stiffened during the scrimmage portions of practice.

"The offense had been killing us on play-actions this whole spring," Sorensen said. "Coach Mendenhall, I think he just got sick of it. I think he just got tired of seeing us get beat with the play-action, so in the film room he played a clip of me, actually. He pointed out that we were watching the quarterbacks and therefore we weren't getting our keys right. He emphasized it and wanted us to put it into practice, and that's just what we did and we executed at a higher level. You saw the results of that last Tuesday, and that's what happened there. We came out and executed it and were able to have the success we did against the offense."

Following the quick secondary turnaround, Coach Mendenhall addressed the players with some very complimentary words.

"Coach Mendenhall then came to us and said, 'You know, one of the best things about the football players at BYU is we can tell you what you need to work on and you'll put it into practice that day.' He said, 'Our ability to grasp and understand the concepts, react to it, and put it into play that day is what makes BYU football great.' We got the play-action down and put it into practice that day on Tuesday, and then now we move on from there. As we continue to learn more and more every day and put it into practice, we grow. We're getting there and it's a lot of fun seeing the results."


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