Spring Camp Day One: A Day of Intensity

Inside the indoor practice facility the Cougars went to work on the first day of spring camp. There were some visibly noticeable differences in today's activities, and most of that came from the new offensive staff that's been assembled. The offensive staff was loud and intense and the Cougars responded with urgency.

Among the shuffle of first day spring camp, there was one thing that stood out today and that was the level of intensity from the offensive coaches. There were more vocal coaches screaming and getting after players today than could be remembered at BYU in quite awhile.

"For the first day I'm glad that the guys are running hard. They worked hard today," said Coach Anae. "There's a lot of guys running into each other and that's expected. It's a new offense and fast tempo and I'm very proud that they went hard today. They went fast and they went hard. I think when we look at film we're not going to look at very many guys without corrections without guys going hard and going fast."

The intensity was expected from someone like Coach Anae simply because he's coached at BYU before, but to see it from Coach Tujegue, who was very active, and Coach Holliday who virtually shocked wide receivers into a fear of making mistakes.

"With me, I'm always pushing, pushing and pushing," said Coach Holliday. "My attitude is practice has to be a lot harder than games, and, you know, we're going to be okay. I'm excited."

Coach Holliday barked and addressed players with drill sergeant efficiency, although he explained that it's not intended to break players down, but to mold them, Coach Holliday's intense demeanor and fast pace expectations are definitely a change, and, quite honestly, a much needed one.

"With me and my personality being so strong, I don't ever try and break people down," said Coach Holliday with a laugh in his voice. "I don't worry about what people did in the past. I've always had the goal of helping my guys become the best receiver group in every conference I've coached in. I want these guys to be tough and I believe the reflect the coach that coaches them, so I'm going to approach them a certain way so that they'll approach their position and field in similar fashion.

"I want our guys to be tough. I'm going to be intense and I want our players to be intense. If you're laid back a lot of times your players will be laid back. If you're intense then you're players will practice and play intense."

"He told us that when we go out to block the defense that we're to hit them in the mouth," said receiver Ross Apo. "That was something that we didn't do last year, and so he's going to be on us to do that this year.

"With some of the drills he wanted us to hit the other receivers and get them out of the way. Every drill he wants us to act like it's a game. There's more intensity and you guys probably saw that when we were running through drills."

While barking out orders, then stopping the drills only to bark out more orders, Coach Holliday's eye to detail and quickness to spot a player not following exact orders was quite impressive. A follow up demonstration, followed by calling out players who weren't doing it to his exact specifications, was always the case whether necessary or not.

"I think there is a lot of room to grown and a lot talent here that we can mold," said Coach Holliday. "You know each receiver here, you have to find what each player strength is and the you develop it. We can make points and complain about maybe we're not fast enough but I'm not worried about that. It's about how hard you play and then them being technically sound. I've had some guys that could run like deer's but their technique wasn't good enough. My thing to make sure they have the tools and know what to do in an instant because they've been trained in every circumstance."

As BYU's new wide receivers coach, Coach Holliday has one goal in mind. His coaching style reflected that goal from his interaction with the players to the types of drills he's brought to the program.

"My thing is when people turn on film, I want them to see my group being the hardest working group," said Coach Holliday. "I want them to see a group of receivers that work really hard, and when they see my guys they're worried knowing it's going to be a long day. That's what I want them to think, ‘Man, it's going to be a long day.' I want them to think, ‘Man, even if they don't catch the ball they're going to wear me out physically.' I want us to bring that to this program."

"That's the kind of coach you want that will always be in your ear pushing you telling you to run," said Apo. "Obviously you're going to get tired, but when you have that coach, like Coach Holliday, yelling at you you're going to find the energy to run. I think that's what he brings to the table."

The offensive coaching staff borrowed a page from Coach Mendenhall. Unlike before, the offensive players had to run the infamous pursuit drills. If the players didn't break out and go has hard and expected, they were yelled at to do it all over again.

"You know, we have a great defense and Coach Mendenhall has done a great job of developing that culture and that mindset here at BYU," said Coach Holliday. "So, we have a great defense. But everything that I know about BYU, is that it's an offense with great quarterbacks that is known for throwing the ball and scoring tons of points. That's what we're going to do and if we can make these players run hard and fast and be tough we'll win a lot of ball games."

Sophomore Quarterback Taysom Hill participated in every position drill. When it came time for team participation, he was also unrestricted to play his game. However, the coaches did blow the whistle quickly when he broke out of the pocket.

"He's on restriction but they didn't restrict him too much today," Anae said. "He ran around and did some good things. He made some good reads."

The quarterback position has been opened up for competition and every player has a chance to earn the starting job.

"You know it's wide open. It's wide open, it really is," said Anae. "I thought all the quarterbacks, at least for the most part, were moving pretty fast."

There's no plans to name a starting quarterback by the end of spring camp according to coach Anae. Right now the focus of spring camp is for the players to grasp the new offensive culture of going hard and fast.

"That's way down the line right now," said Anae. "Right now we assessing all positions, so way down the line. We're coming into a year without a bonafide starter returning so it's open. All positions are open. With the new slots, new coaches they're all open. They're all up for competition.

"Well, we're not judging personnel right now unless we look at film and see the breakdown on what we can actually get better with going fast and going hard. Generally speaking, I'm really pleased with the overall approach."

Coach Anae is going to allow the quarterbacks to compete while not worrying about naming a starter by the end of spring camp.

Sideline Notes

There is a new communication technique being utilized and that's the usage of large picture cards to signal in the plays. It wasn't a technique the Wildcats of Arizona used but one fans might see occurring on the BYU sidelines in the future.

"No, we used signals down there," Anae said. "Whether you use cards or signal them it's a language. In any up tempo offense you have to use language, so that's what we're doing. We're communicating. I bet our communication is pretty complex so whether we use cards or not the idea is to communicate fast."

Trenton Trammell went down with a leg injury during today's practice. He was seen on the sidelines with ice on his knee.

CB Trevor Bateman was out with the team but he wasn't participating with the drills. He's still nursing a previous injury.

Craig Bills was suited up but also wasn't participating with the team drills. He was standing nearby watching as well.

Fono Vakalahi wasn't suited up today. He's currently working on getting his grades back in order before rejoining the team.

Ryker Mathews came to practice a bit late on crutches and did not participate with the team. He's had surgery and is still nursing his way back.

Blair Tushaus was there at practice watching the team from the sidelines. He felt it just didn't work out for him here at BYU.

Former Cougar tight end Andrew George was coaching the tight ends group. He was working with them during the position development period of practice. It does appear that he'll more than likely continue to work with them as a General Assistant.

With new centers Manaaki Vaitai, Terrence Alletto, and Parker Dawe, there were more missed snaps today than would be normally expected. Several of the bad snaps came in the shotgun formation, which will have to be worked out.

Cameron Comer made his return to the team and had a great first day of spring camp. Comer recorded an interception and took it back to the cheers of his defensive teammates.

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