Spring camp: day 11

Thursday's practice was anything but typical for the BYU football team. In the last practice until BYU's scrimmage on Saturday – and then only three more practices after that – the Cougars broke from their normal routine.

The Cougars weren't in pads on Thursday, which isn't uncommon when the team is deep into camp, especially when many players are injured. That certainly is the case for BYU right now, as a rash of players have either recently been banged up or are coming back from injuries sustained last year.

But, what was unusual on Thursday was that the team also practiced without helmets. Even during days when there is no tackling, the players wear helmets, but that wasn't the case this time.

Unusual, yes, but Coach Mendenhall said this has been an unusual spring. He also said the change was made in part because of the approaching scrimmage on Saturday.

Regarding the change, Coach Mendenhall said that "based on the reaction I saw, it was good."

He acknowledged that the practice was similar to a team walkthrough.

"We actually practiced just like we normally would," Mendenhall said. "I just had them take their helmets off. It's amazing just what a little change like that will do in terms of guys feeling like they're faster or healthier than maybe what they are."

While the team did run through various drills like is normally done, there actually was one dramatic departure from the normal routine: no scrimmaging. Skeli drills were the closest the team came to ever scrimmaging, and as such, there are no stats to report.

Still, that doesn't mean that nothing was accomplished.

When asked what he was looking to accomplish on Thursday, Coach Mendenhall replied, "Just a lot of teaching and fundamental refreshing, trying to get the players as assignment-sound as possible, as much instruction as we could get done, get as healthy as we could. There's a day off tomorrow, so we could actually have an evaluation of some of the younger players on Saturday."

Saturday's scrimmage

Saturday's scrimmage will be the closest the team comes to a traditional spring game, although it will not be held at the end of spring camp, and most projected starters won't participate.

Instead, expect the second-team players to trot out onto the field in place of the ones when the scrimmage starts.

"It'll be almost exclusively twos, maybe a one here or there based on what position they're in and our depth, but mostly twos."

Naturally, third-team players will also get action. All in all, Mendenhall said the team will start off Saturday with warm-up drills and some individual work, after which the scrimmage will last for 40-to-50 plays or eight series, whichever comes first.

He anticipates each quarterback getting two series. Riley Nelson, like most other first-teamers, will not play.

Mendenhall said that on Saturday he would love to see some depth development, the young ball-carriers run, and the quarterbacks that haven't gotten much live work to put together some drives.

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