The offensive line continues to see a shuffling cast of characters are Coach Tujague and Coach Anae look for the best combination to put on the field. The effort level and running blocking have been much improved early on in spring ball. The pass protection is still coming along but showing signs of life. The starting offensive line today was (L-R): Kyle Johnson, Solomone Kafu, Edward Fusi, Tuni Kanuch, and Michael Yeck. Terrance Alletto also saw time w/ the first team at left guard when the coaches moved Kafu to right tackle. The second team line was (L-R): Quinn Lawlor, Terrance Alletto, Parker Dawe, Tui Crichton, and Ului Lapuaho. Jordan Black and Brian Rawlinson also saw time with the 2nd unit at left guard and right guard, respectively.
The running back position may very well be the deepest position on the team. Jamaal Williams, Paul Lasike, Algernon Brown, Adam Hine, and Nate Carter are all vying for time. That depth is pushing each player to do their best. Coach Mendenhall said Hine will start at 4th on the depth chart in fall camp when he returns to action after off-season shoulder surgery. Nate Carter is in a tough position being so far down the depth chart but he talked about his spring performance. Listen to that interview here:
The first and second string units of wide recievers saw only one change in depth from last week to Monday. Colby Pearson, Kurt Henderson, and Terenn Houk were the startin wide receiver contingent today. Michael Davis, Nick Kurtz, Travis Frey, and Mitchell Juergens are running with the second time. An impressive note is that the downfield blocking and effort from the receivers has been impressive. Coach Guy Holliday has imposed his ideals on his charges.
Deep snapper is a position that BYU fans have been used to not having to worry about. In spring ball, it appears to be two contenders for the job. Those contenders are 2nd string center Parker Dawe and reserve linebacker Kevan Bills, who's battled back from two consecutive ACL injuries. It's a battle that will continue into the summer and fall camp. Play of the day defensively today goes to Mitchell Juergens who intercepted a Christian Stewart pass on the goal line and returned it 100 yards for a pick-six in pass skeleton drills. Offensively, the tip of the cap would go to Nate Carter and Algernon Brown for punching in touchdowns in Blue Zone drills.
The defense battled fairly well but the offense found some success in the both the run and passing game. In what was a fast paced display of offensive and defense battles between the various units, the defense was able to stop the offense during blue zone play.
It was a very physical battle between receiver and cornerbacks today. Receivers were expected to block cornerbacks down field on specific plays that led to some real battles. There wasn't much change in the first team units today, but D.J Doman did receive some time playing nickel safety today with the first team unit from time to time.
Walk-on cornerback Garrett Juergens made a nice play today despite given the difficult task of covering speedy receiver Mike Davis. With the ball within the 10 yard line an attempt at a quick strike into the end zone seemed possible, but as Davis broke on his route Juergens broke in front of Davis intercepting the pass. Juergens took it back to the other end of the field to the cheers of Coach Howell and the rest of the defense.
Outside linebacker Sae Tautu was playing Buck linebacker today alongside Zac Stout at the Mike. Stout looks very strong in defending against the run game, and even shot a gap in anticipation to make a stop in the backfield. Adam Pulsipher got a few reps with the second team defense today at the Mike backer position. Manoa Pikula ran well today but was flagged with a pass interference trying to keep strides with Devin Mahina down field.
Bronson Kaufusi continues to be very disruptive on the outside both in the pass rush and pass defense game. Kaufusi is also being very disruptive on the line of scrimmage as well knocking receivers off their routes prior to dropping back into coverage. One specific play, Kaufusi knocked two receivers off their routes prior to dropping back into coverage. On one play Kaufusi was able to speed around into the backfield and record a sack. The following play saw him make a nice athletic play. A low pass was tipped up into the air by Jherremya Leuta-Douyere that allowed Kaufusi to snag it for an interception, which he ran back for some considerable distance. Coach Mendenhall's excitement was visibly clear as the defense swarmed around Kaufusi to help block for the return.