Spring camp: day 2

Tuesday, the second day of spring camp, saw things return to normal after an unusually heated and chippy first day of practice. As with the first day, the Cougars practice without pads, and overall the defense again had the better showing during scrimmaging.

After Tuesday's practice, Coach Mendenhall had the entire defense running through conditioning drills for a good long while, dragging on practice longer than usual. The head coach joked that going late wouldn't endear him to his wife.

"Holly's not excited with me right now, but sometimes that's just one of those sacrifices you have to make."

As for what prompted the extra workout for the defense, a rather jovial Mendenhall said, "Just fun. Head coach fun."

Scrimmage notes

During scrimmaging, Riley Nelson went 3-of-6 for 17 yards. The rest of the quarterbacks failed to get anything going, with James Lark going 0-of-2, Taysom Hill going 0-of-2, and Ammon Olsen going 0-of-1. The quarterbacks were the victims of a few drops, namely a 30-yard pass from Nelson that was dropped by Ross Apo.

Marcus Mathews, Zed Mendenhall and Dallin Cutler were the recipients of Nelson's passes. Cutler's reception was a short pass that extended a drive on fourth down. Nelson also had a 9-yard run. There were no scores on the day.

For the most part the running game didn't get much going, as is often the norm during non-contact scrimmaging and no pads. Joshua Quezada, however, did break one run up the middle against the twos on defense. It looked like it could have potentially been a huge play had the whistle not been blown early.

Quezada and Michael Alisa got a number of carries with both the ones and twos, but aside from the aforementioned Quezada run, they couldn't do much. On one play, linebacker Brandon Ogletree got to Alisa in the backfield for a loss.

Paul Lasike fumbled on his first run against the threes. He later had a 5-yard run. Adam Hine had one run against the threes for no gain.

Ezekiel Ansah sacked Nelson, while Simote Vea sacked Ammon Olsen. Uona Kaveinga also sacked Nelson earlier in practice during non-official scrimmaging (meaning no tracked stats or downs, nor moving of the chains).

A few defensive backs showed well on Tuesday, with Joe Sampson jumping a Riley Nelson pass intended for Cody Hoffman and getting the pick during non-official scrimmaging, and Jordan Johnson breaking up two different passes intended for Apo. One was a deep pass, while another was a screen pass.

Notes

- Former Cougar receiver Austin Collie was at practice with the older of his two sons. His brother, incoming recruit Dylan Collie, was also on hand.

- Mike Hague is being cross-trained at boundary corner and free safety, much like Joe Sampson. Mendenhall said they like the idea of possibly having both on the field at the same time.

- Craig Bills, Tui Crichton and Trevor Bateman are all back from their missions, and while Bills and Bateman are enrolled this block in one or two classes, they are not able to practice with the team yet.

- Regarding Austen Jorgensen's move from linebacker to fullback, Mendenhall said, "Austen wanted a chance to see if he could play fullback, and [the] offensive staff endorsed it, as did I. We have some good, young linebackers coming up as well, so it seemed to add depth at the fullback spot, so it might be a good position for him."

- Quarterback Alex Kuresa is being held out at the moment because of academics, but could return as early as next Monday, depending on the progress he makes. Mendenhall said Kuresa hopes to serve a mission after the spring, but may not leave until after the fall.

- Colby Jorgensen is with the team this spring but will leave afterward for a mission. Ryker Matthews, meanwhile, appears to have decided to stay and play.

- Mendenhall said that while the initial plan was to redshirt junior college transfer Marquese Johnson, he will now probably play this season at the nose position.

- Mendenhall said that converted rugby player Paul Lasike is emerging, adding that he still needs to learn the game of football, but "when you just give him the ball and he doesn't have to go anyplace particular but just run, he looks pretty good."

- Linebacker Zac Stout is back with the team after missing all of the fall while recovering from knee surgery, and the Cougar head coach said he is looking really good. "He's really excited to be back playing. His knee looks good, and he's gonna need to add some more leg strength, but he's running well, change of direction well."

- Shaun Nua and Rob Morris are no longer on the staff as grad assistants. By this upcoming August, the team will have added two new defensive grad assistants in Jason Kaufusi and Jason Walker, and two new offensive grad assistants in Andrew George and Kelly Bills.


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