The defense has played much better as of late, thanks in large part to the implementation of some new blitzing schemes that were not utilized earlier on during fall camp.
The defense has also benefitted from the return of some players that dealt with injuries. One such player is Romney Fuga, who had knee surgery last season.
"He just makes a huge difference having him at nose," said Mendnehall. "It's gonna be really hard to run the football on us because of him, and we're building him back in. He's right on track, and I would say by the time we get to Saturday with still two weeks to go, he'll be ready for the first game. We're still pretty careful about where we put him and when, but he's right on track."
Fellow nose guard Jordan Richardson, meanwhile, is said to be a little bit farther behind Fuga as he also comes back from a season-ending knee injury.
Jake Heaps and Riley Nelson were the only two quarterbacks to take scrimmage reps on Wednesday morning, and only Heaps got any passes off. His accuracy was off, however, as he only completed 1-of-5 passes. The lone completion was a 17-yarder to Dallin Cutler. On the play, Heaps scrambled to his right on third down, and when he saw he couldn't get the first down, threw the ball all the way across the field to Cutler for the first down.
Deseret News writer Dick Harmon tweeted that the play was similar to the game winning touchdown pass from John Beck to Jonny Harline against Utah 2006, and that is a pretty good comparison, although Cutler wasn't wide open. Oh, and of course it won't go down in Cougar lore quite like the Harline play.
J.J. Di Luigi was able to rush for a touchdown to cap off the drive. He finished with three rushes for 23 yards.
Jameson Frazier and Ezekiel Ansah both recorded a sack against Nelson.
Justin Sorensen made his lone PAT attempt, and also made a 37-yard field goal. He missed a 47-yard field goal.
- Corby Eason and Preston Hadley were both held out on Wednesday in order to recuperate from multiple injuries.
- Colby Jorgensen will have surgery on Wednesday on the shoulder that was separated earlier in fall camp.
- The Cougars haven't gone full-contact very often this fall. Mendenhall said they will go full-contact during this Saturday's scrimmage, and then maybe during a young-player scrimmage next Wednesday. Other than that, they will practice in shells.
- True freshman Stehly Reden has been moved from defensive end to tight end, his preferred position out of high school. Mendenhall said that he still might end up being a defensive lineman over time, and that he will most likely redshirt and play on the scout team this year.