Beck enjoys tough spring camp

There were a lot of things learned over spring camp by coaches and players. Coach Mendenhall pushed his charges over and over, and they responded. In reflecting over the adversities of spring camp, middle linebacker Tyler Beck feels that he not only increased his overall potential, but did so during one of the most fun spring camps ever.

The BYU roster was littered with injured players this spring. But Tyler Beck, a junior linebacker who has struggled to stay healthy since returning home from his mission, eluded the injury bug this time around.

"Man, spring camp this year was so fun!" said Beck. "First of all, I didn't get injured, so I played every day healthy and was able to get a lot of work in. It was a lot of fun finally being out on the field practicing and not on the sidelines watching practice.

"Then the second reason why this was the best, funnest camp came from the coaches. The sense of urgency we got from the coaches was increased this year, and the attention to detail. I feel like we got a lot better from day one to day 15 because of those two things. There was an increase of intensity while having to be better at playing our positions. I'm kind of sad spring camp is over because it was one of the funnest camps I've been a part of."

The middle linebacker group is a very solid and experienced group. Linebackers Brandon Ogletree and Uona Kaveinga were the first-string performers, followed by Zac Stout and Tyler Beck. Once Ogletree suffered an injury, Beck stepped up and had a solid performance in his absence.

"We practice to be solid and we don't leave it up to chance," said Beck. "We watch film like crazy and we practice as hard as we can, so if someone goes down, someone has to step up as if there was no drop-off. We all want to be prepared and ready for any situation regardless of where you might be on the depth chart."

The Cougar defense as a whole had a great spring camp.

"We wanted to take full advantage of spring camp in order to make a very good defense great," Beck said. "Our goal was basically to make this defense a BYU defense. We've had some great defenses in the past and we know it's Coach Mendenhall's goal to continue that tradition."

When former Cougar and current Navy assistant defensive line coach Shaun Nua visited BYU during the spring, he mentioned how no other college team in the country pursues to the ball as well as BYU does.

"That's part of our culture and expectations here," Beck said. "To play BYU football means you leave everything on the field. At first you listen to your coach go crazy about running to the ball and you're like, ‘Man, can't we focus on playing football?' As practice continues, no lie, I've seen how the defense shapes around certain things like focusing on running to the ball.

"Then from there it just builds and becomes better with that foundation established. I've seen how I've not only become a more physical player in the best shape of my life, but I've also had to learn to play in that type of atmosphere while being perfect in my position. I trusted the coaches and it worked. I've become a much better football player."

While Coach Mendenhall's defenses have always had a sense of urgency when it comes to pursuit, the culture was tested this spring camp by Coach Doman's fast paced, hurry-up offense.

"Man, they really pushed us and it was a challenge for us because we really had to run to the ball every single play, and it showed where we were at as far as conditioning," said Beck with a laugh. "Then once we got there they were already ready and lined up, so now we had to kind of develop a different focus. We had to learn to constantly pursue to the ball and then get ready once we got there so we could try and read our keys. It was a real challenge because everything was sped up, and when you're tired it's hard to stay focused and want to pursue."

On the last day of spring camp, Coach Mendenhall showed no mercy or sympathy to his defensive unit. Over and over he drove them, pushing them further and further with pursuit drills. When someone showed a slight hint of giving up, he raised his voice in disdain and then drove them again and again.

"You know, I think he was making a point," said Beck. "I think he wants to let us know just because spring camp is over, we can't go into the summer thinking we can now ease up. We don't see the summer as a break but as a time for us to get an edge up on our opponents, to work as hard as we can and to carry over as hard as we worked all spring into every day in the summer. We hope someone we face will take a day off because we won't."

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