When the Cougars of BYU held their first scrimmage in LaVell Edwards Stadium a week ago, the offense scored three touchdowns. Safety Mike Hague was a little disappointed in giving up that many for the first time in such a long time.
On Thursday, the Cougar offense topped last week's total by two, scoring five touchdowns on the day.
"Our number ones were going against each other, but they were still separated and pretty even and a lot of fun," said Falslev, who had a lot of success during Thursday's action. Falslev caught a long pass that went down by the goal line, setting up a David Foote rushing touchdown.
"Our offense got the ground game going again today," said Adam Hine. "I thought we all did a really good job with the opportunities we were given."
Running backs gaining ground
Michael Alisa didn't run on Thursday, but those behind him sure did and with a lot of success. Redshirt freshman Adam Hine made his presence known. The defense struggled again to stop the run.
"We had some success on the ground today," said Hine. "I thought everyone showed what they could do out here. David Foote had a good day today and I was impressed with Paul [Lasike], who ran really hard today."
Evaluating Paul Lasike
The rugby player-turned-230-pound Cougar running back received quite a few meaningful reps, and when he touched the ball he turned in a very noticeable performance. Lasike is showing more confidence as a ball-carrier and is more trusting of his teammates.
He showed some patience in allowing holes to open up, picked his spots, and went hard. On several occasions, safeties and linebackers bounced off him, as he rarely went down on the first hit. It was the best performance of his young football career.
The more reps Hine gets, the better he becomes. Hine is a much more fluid, athletic, and comfortable runner now than he was in the spring. Like hopping on an old bike, Hine is starting to show his position I.Q. and precision as a runner, and because of that he's been able to utilize his speed. Things are looking up for Hine.
David Foote is fleet-footed. His past as a walk-on running back meant struggling to earn the right to take reps away from scholarship players. Now, Foote has not only earned a scholarship this year, but he is showing why he was given one. Whenever Foote gets an opportunity, he quietly finds success. It will take a little time before Cougars fans erase their doubt based on his past as a walk-on. Don't expect that to take very long as the fleet-footed Foote rises from obscurity to become another slashing back in the mold of Michael Alisa.
Tailback/fullback Iona Pritchard is the nicest thug on BYU's football team. Off the field he would be the first to walk an old lady across the street. But once he straps on that helmet, that infectious smile quickly disappears, and his aim switches to an all-out effort to punish linebackers.
Wiping away freshman obscurity
Freshman wide receivers Alex Kuresa, Dylan Collie, Cody Raymond and Kurt Henderson will be names Cougar fans will hear more of this year. All four were heavily involved in Thursday's actions and contributed in many ways.
Total Blue Sports' newcomer pick of the year Alex Kuresa was more involved in the offense, and as in previous practices, made his presence felt in multiple ways by catching and running the ball downfield.
Henderson, a 6-foot-1-inch, 190-pound player out of St. George, has increasingly helped himself through fall camp by being constant and steady. On Thursday, Henderson caught a touchdown pass after getting behind defenders for the second score of the day. Henderson will be one to keep an eye on as he continues to steadily perform on the field, forcing himself to be noticed.
"Yeah, we got some of the younger guys involved today," said Cody Hoffman, who was happy to be suited up. "We've got some of the younger guys getting reps and doing some good things out there. It was good to see."
Hoffman had a short but very effective day on Thursday. Hoffman caught two passes, one of which was a touchdown.
"I just do what I gotta do," said Hoffman nonchalantly. "I just caught two passes today, but I did score one touchdown. You know me, I get in and get out. You know, one touchdown and two catches. That's good enough for the day I guess."
The offense scored five touchdowns on the day: Hoffman and Henderson each caught one, while Foote rushed for two and Hine had another.
"We had a pretty good day today," Hoffman said with a smile. "I think our offense did a really good job and our defense is really good, so to have this kind of day against that defense tells you how good we can be."
He went from being a walk-on to becoming a staple within the offense. J.D. Falslev is seeing his role within the offense expand more and more.
"I love it, I love it," Falslev said. "It's fun to be on the field and, like I've said, if my role is to be on the sideline cheering on my teammates, that's fine with me. I'll do anything I can to help this team because I love the game of football, and I plan on being around the game of football for a long time, whether that's playing, whether that's coaching or whatever that is. I want to be around this game for a long time. We'll see how my role progresses throughout the season and throughout the rest of fall camp, but anytime I can be out on the field for this or that, I'd love to be out there."
Bring the polish please
There still are some areas that need some spit shine taken to them. The receivers are doing a great job of running more precise routes, whether they are short, intermediate or longer routes. What could be polished up a bit more, however, is the blocking responsibilities in the run game.
"We still have some wide receiver blocking things that we need to work on," Falslev said. "Either we can come out here and improve and work hard, or we can come out here and practice bad habits. So, we need these last two weeks of camp to really improve on our skills, fine-tune everything, and work on our plays to really nail down all of our assignments."
Bagging and sacking
However, it wasn't all about the offense. The defense did have some success and some of that came from some of the younger players. There were a number of sacks on the day, with one coming from return missionary defensive lineman Remington Peck, who combined with Spencer Hadley to record a sack on Taysom Hill.
Another came from true freshman Jheremmya Leuta-Douyere, who made a beautiful inside move to chase down the speedy Hill. From the nearby sideline, calls of, "Come on baby Tebow!" were heard by cheering defensive players.
"Some of the younger guys got a chance to get some sacks today," said Lene Lesatele. "I think the offense might of gotten the better of us overall today, but we did some good things too."
Matt Hadley also recorded a sack against Jason Munns, and walk-on defensive tackle Roman Andrus also recorded a sack from his left defensive tackle position.
"Our defense is really good," Falslev said. "They fly around. We had a lot of guys that weren't playing today. When the season starts, you're going to see a defense that is really hungry, flies around and gets to the ball and makes tackles. I mean, they're hungry. I haven't seen a defense that is as hungry as our defense is right now."
The Cougars still have two weeks to prepare for their season-opener against Washington State. They're not quite satisfied with where they are, but with two week still left to prepare, the Cougars are well on their way.
"We need the two weeks and we're not there yet. We have a long season ahead of us," Falslev said. "I don't think we'll be 100 percent across the board by the time we hit Washington State. That's the game of football. You're never going to be spot on with every little thing. It's the team that makes the most plays and has the most will to win that will win."