Spring camp day 6: The defense dominates

It was the second time during spring camp that the Cougars came out in full pads for full contact. Offensively there was some success but the defense turned in the better day overall. It all began with an aggressive defense that played with a chip on its shoulder.

The young guns of the Cougar offensive line got a butt chewing today from Coach Weber. Following a slow start where the defensive line asserted physical dominance up front early, Coach Weber had seen enough and gave his charges a good lecture following the first full team scrimmage.

"Well, for them today they didn't do as well," said Manumaleuna. "It's tough when you're young and just coming in and they just want to go full speed all the time and do whatever. I guess they're just trying to find themselves after we kind of took it to them today."

The first series with the first team offense, led by Riley Nelson ended, ended fairly quickly with James Lark and the second team then taking over. Running back Paul Lasike and Austin Jorgensen received the reps with the second team in what was a run based package to test the defensive front.

However, after a run stop and short pass to receiver Kurt Henderson, linebacker Zac Stout made it three and out with a big hit to Quezada that pushed him and the offensive lineman back into the backfield.

"I was a good day for us," said Romney Fuga. "This was a lot of fun and probably the most fun I've had in spring ball."

The first team then returned to the field. Nelson took the first snap and rolled out in an attempt to extend the play. However, a coverage sack was called. It didn't get any better for the first team offense as Hine fumbled the exchange on the next play followed by the defense making a stop on a swing pass. Again, the first team offense went three and out.

With James Lark at the helm for the second team's next series, running back Paul Lasike received a handoff but was quickly wrapped up by Will side linebacker Ezekiel Ansah. Outside linebacker Seth Probert followed up the Ansah play with some pressure on the outside causing Lark to throw an incomplete pass to walk-on tight end Darin Tuttle. Lark would be intercepted by junior defensive back Sky PoVey on the following play, again going three and out.

The first team offense then returned but this time had some relative success. Nelson completed a pass to Apo followed by another one to Hoffman for a first down. It then went sour for the first team offense. Following a sack by Hague, Nelson then threw three incomplete passes. A bad snap by Manaaki Vaitai, who was subbing in at the center position, was followed by a false start. Putting an end to the series was Jray Galea'i who intercepted a Nelson pass down field.

On the seventh series of the scrimmage the offense began to push back against the defense. A revved up Riley Nelson took the snap and threw a swing pass to Quezada who raced up field for 48 yards and into the blue zone. On the following snap, Nelson hit Cody Hoffman for a touchdown. The two-play scoring drive riled up the offense; the momentum carrying over to the next series.

The third team then trotted onto the field, led by third string quarterback Taysom Hill. With Lasike and Jorgensen lined up in the backfield, the run game got going for the first time of scrimmage on the legs of the former rugby player from New Zealand.

Taking the first handoff, Lasike busted up the middle and hit the hole quickly for nine yards. The following play, Lasike again took the Hill handoff, quickly hitting the hole, juking a linebacker, and cutting to the outside and into the secondary. The play brought shots and calls from the offensive as Lasike dragged a defender for a few extra yards. Lasike was not to be denied on the play in question and looked fast and powerful, breathing excitement into the Cougar run game for the day.

Top Performers

Riley Nelson went 4-6 for 71 yards and one touchdown.

Josh Quezada made the longest play of the day with a 48 yard catch from Nelson that set up the Hoffman touchdown.

Paul Lasike ran the ball three times for 33 yards averaging over 10 yards per carry.

Cornerback Mike Hague recorded two sacks on the day with free safety Jray Galea'i recording an interception.

Sideline Notes

NFL Green Bay Packer linebacker Vic So'oto was at practice today watching the linebackers run through drills. Also attending practice were Reno Mahe, Corby Eason and Harvey Unga.

Making a surprise visit to watch BYU's practice was 6-4, 295-pound Arizona Wildcat defensive tackle Aiulua Fanene. Fanene paid a visit to BYU to watch the Cougars run through practice before heading into the MTC tomorrow to serve an LDS mission. Fanene is from American Samoa and was the Arizona scout defensive MVP for the 2010 season.

Injury Update

Cornerback DeQuan Everett suffered a leg injury during the first few periods of one-on-ones drills. Everett was helped over to the sidelines where head trainer Kevin Morris attended to him. Also, tight end walk-on Trevor Brown suffered a leg injury.

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