Fall camp second day observations

Day two of fall camp was pretty much the same when it came to practice conditions. Without full pads on, there wasn't much contact. However, there were some points of interest on the day.

The team was suited up only in helmets on Friday, so there was nothing new in terms of being able to evaluate the physical side of practice. There were some interesting situations with the coaches trying players at different positions in depth on Friday.

Defensive backs

In team skeli, Preston Hadley was out most of Friday's earlier sessions. With Robbie Buckner also out due to injury, Skye PoVey started out with boundary corner responsibilities on Friday after getting some playing time at free safety the day before.

In speaking of up-and-coming cornerbacks, true freshman free safety Matt Hadley teamed up with sophomore Kat safety Craig Bills during Friday's team period.

Defensive back evaluations

Newcomer Adam Hogan did a great job during one-on-ones his second day of fall camp. The junior college transfer plastered receivers nicely from his field position. He showed good body control in close defensive proximity, and when there was separation, he showed good recovery to compete in knocking the ball away.

Jordan Johnson is a step above the rest of the cornerback field. His feet, hip movement, and his break on balls are quicker than I've seen from a BYU cornerback in a long time. He's a player suited for field side corner, and Cougar fans will be happy to see a player of his caliber starting there for years to come.

Receivers back out

It was good to see 6-foot-4-inch, 203-pound Jordan Smith running in one-on-one drills and with team skeli. Smith missed a lot of spring camp due to injury and is back for his junior year.

At 6 feet 6 inches and 213 pounds, Mitch Mathews is going to cause some major problems for defenses in the near future as a wide receiver on the outside. Now that he isn't hampered by a pulled groin suffered last spring, Mathews will be tough to stop given his size and athleticism. All he needs now are reps and game-time experience, and he could grow – no pun intended – into an offensive weapon.

The receiver who has noticeably made strides in his athleticism and speed since spring camp is 6-foot-4-inch, 213-pound Terenn Houk. Houk is long and rangy and, in regards to body motion, has a Ross Apo-look about him.

There was one thing missing last spring with Houk, and that was the level of speed expected at the outside position. That has changed dramatically, and Houk could contend for the second-string position, but he'll first have to beat out Dallin Cutler, who is running behind Apo.

Tight ends back in action

There was a bit of a scary moment on Thursday. Austin Holt got tangled up on a pass play and came down awkward, although he ended up just having a sudden cramp in his leg. On Friday, Holt was out if full force catching balls with no visible issues from Thursday's incident.

After a slow start his first day, tight end Richard Wilson looked like a new man during team and skeli period. He looked far more confident Friday in the open field running routes in traffic and was less hesitant. It was a night-and-day difference, which was good to see.

Offensive line shuffle

Left guard Manaaki Vaitai was the primary player with the first team on day two of practice. The 6-foot-3-inch, 317-pound junior stayed for the entire practice, unlike day one when he had to leave early to attend a class. Brock Stringham, who replaced Vaitai on the first day of practice, was wearing a walking boot.

Trench warfare

The defensive line is a solid group, starting with left defensive end Mike Muehlmann, who has been getting a lot of reps in place of an injured Ian Dulan. Dulan suffered a neck strain and hasn't seen any fall camp practice reps so far. Fuga and Manumaleuna round out the top three.

Special teams more than special

There was some special teams work done with a bit of a funny twist, as the kick returners had swimming pool noodles wrapped around their waists. The purpose was to train the kick returners to keep their arms close to their body when fielding punts and kickoffs. If they didn't keep their arms close to their body, their pool noodle would fall to the ground. The new drill looked very effective in terms of teaching technique. The players involved in the drill were Dylan Collie, Dallin Cutler, Mike Hague, J.D. Falslev, Jordan Johnson and Adam Hine.

While those players went through the drill, former Cougar defensive back Jray Galea'i was taking notes on a clipboard nearby. No longer a member of the team because of injury issues, Galea'i was helping as student assistant.


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