"I think they came to life today – which was fun – not only on the ground but throwing the ball, which was a nice kind of complement."
Quarterback Jake Heaps in particular has been sharp all fall camp thus far, but one element of the offense had been lacking until Wednesday.
"Our offense until today has had [a] really, really hard time moving the ball on the ground whatsoever," said Mendenhall.
With a bit of a resurgence from the running game, that opened up some opportunities for play action, thus benefitting the passing game as well according to Mendenhall. He did note, however, that the running game benefitted from some of the first-team linebackers being held out with minor injuries. Jordan Pendleton was held out due to some leg soreness – said to be an expected issue given how long he had gone without playing – while Brandon Ogletree suffered a groin sprain on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, the first-team passing offense was again on the money. Heaps completed 5-of-6 passes for 98 yards, a touchdown and no turnovers. Through four practices, he has now completed 21-of-25 passes for 337 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions during scrimmages. That gives him a passer efficiency rating of 250.03. Mendenhall noted that at least some of his incompletions were accurate throws that were simply dropped by the intended receiver.
J.J. Di Luigi caught two passes for 41 yards. One of those was a great catch in the corner of the end zone on a deep pass from Heaps.
Heaps also completed passes to Devin Mahina and Dallin Cutler. On the Cutler reception, he was able to juke safety Carter Mees in the open field and get more yards after the catch, resulting in a 36-yard gain.
Di Luigi finished off the first-team's second drive with another touchdown, this one coming on a 14-yard rush.
Riley Nelson completed 1-of-3 passes, a 26-yard pass to Cody Raymond that got the offense down into the blue zone. However, safety Mike Hague broke up a pass intended for Matthew Edwards in the end zone, and Ian Dulan recorded a sack that forced the offense to settle for a field goal.
Ezekiel Ansah, meanwhile, recorded another sack against the ones.
- Regarding whether any tight ends have begun to separate themselves from the pack, Mendenhall said that Austin Holt probably came into camp in the best shape and has probably played the most consistently so far. However, a number of others are dealing with injuries, hurting their chance to compete. Kaneakua Friel has a strained hamstring, Marcus Mathews has a strained shoulder muscle, and Richard Wilson has an ankle sprain, which is said to not be severe.
- Speaking of injuries to tight ends, true freshman Colby Jorgensen received a wicked hit from Preston Hadley during scrimmaging. Jorgensen left practice with a dislocated shoulder.
- Joshua Quezada got his first live action during scrimmaging on Wednesday. He had been held out while recuperating from an ankle sprain.
- Return missionary freshman Adam Hine got his first carry of fall camp outside of drills, albeit in the team's informal scrimmage session in which players are substituted rapidly and drives aren't carried out. He has yet to see action during real scrimmaging. Another return missionary – sophomore Iona Pritchard – has seen a good amount of carries during scrimmages, however.
- Regarding the competition between Jameson Frazier – who has been held out of camp while he recovers from an abdominal strain, but is expected back by Monday – and Kyle Van Noy, Mendenhall noted that Frazier is a team captain, but that Van Noy has had an excellent fall camp so far. "Kyle's probably playing at a higher level than anyone on the defense right now, and has been one of the standouts for camp. Every day that he practices, he gets better and is making a lot of plays."
- Justin Sorensen appeared to connect on his nine different field goal attempts from varying distances, the longest being 42 yards. Once again, there were no defenders attempting to block the kicks.