The offensive line continues to be a major topic of conversation during spring camp but the offensive line had a solid day in the trenches. Part of that was due to the top defensive lineman being held out of action but the offensive line opened holes for Nate Carter and Jeremiah Burr to run through while also forming a pocket around Taysom Hill and Christian Stewart. The first string line was unchanged with (L-R) Kyle Johnson, Solomone Kafu, Edward Fusi, Tuni Kanuch, and Michael Yeck holding down their respective positions. The second string line went (L-R) Quinn Lawlor, Terrance Alletto, Parker Dawe, Tui Crichton, and Ului Lapuaho. Ryker Mathews and Brayden Kearsley saw time at left and right tackle, respectively, with the second stringers as well. Both players made their spring camp debuts this week after sorting out academic issues.
Taysom Hill saw action on 11 of BYU's 20 offensive drives on Saturday, finishing the day 19/27 for 307 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Hill also carried the ball 9 times for 48 yards. Senior backup Christian Stewart finished his day 10/16 for 68 yards. Stewart also carried the ball 3 times for 15 yards. Sophomore Billy Green saw limited action and finished the day 0/1 passing and had 1 carry for 9 yards. Hill made an effort to trust his offensive line during the scrimmage and was rewarded with some solid throwing windows. Overall, it was a solid day for Hill who's worked to become a more polished passer.
The receiving core got a lot of work on Saturday as the offense passed the ball 44 times. Kurt Henderson (6 rec. 74 yds. TD) and Terenn Houk (3 rec. 74 yds. TD) were the stars of the scrimmage. Michael Davis had the long pass of the day, hauling in a well-thrown 53 yard bomb from Taysom Hill. JC transfer Nick Kurtz also showed well, hauling in 5 receptions for 47 yards. Walk-on running back Jeremiah Burr had a big day receiving the ball out of the backfield, finishing with 66 yards on 3 receptions. The depth chart at wide receiver was a bit harder to discern today but Henderson, Colby Pearson, Houk, Kurtz, Davis, and Travis Frey saw time with the first string, while Mitchell Juergens and converted defensive back Jake Ziolkowski joined the aforementioned receivers to get reps with the second string. Cody Bond, Khalil Bell, and Cody Stewart also saw limited action.
It was a relatively quiet day for the tight ends on Saturday with Devin Mahina only catching one pass for 5 yards. The positive was that the reception came in the endzone for a touchdown. Sophomore Bryan Sampson is skinny but definitely not afraid to mix it up in the run game. Both Mahina and Sampson will play a role in 2014 for BYU. Returned missionary Brad Heap saw some action late in the scrimmage today.
BYU held Jamaal Williams, Paul Lasike, and Algernon Brown out of the scrimmage Saturday, opening the door for walk-ons Nate Carter and Jeremiah Burr to get most of the action. Carter carried the ball 22 times for 61 yards and a touchdown, while Burr added 62 yards on 18 carries. Both Carter and Burr have made a name for themselves in spring ball. Carter also added 1 reception for 5 yards, while Burr added 66 yards receiving mentioned above. Running Backs Coach Mark Atuaia has a full cupboard of backs to use in 2014 and BYU will be well-served to use them.
Mainline defensive linemen, including Remington Peck, Graham Rowley, and Travis Tuiloma, were held out of the scrimmage today. The first string defensive line was Tanner Balderee, JonRyheem Peoples, and Theodore King. Second string was Adam Ingersoll, converted offensive lineman Josh Carter, and Latanoa Pikula. Peoples had an up and down day. The physical ability is readily apparent so it is up to him to put it together mentally. Carter is making strides in his transition to nose tackle and collected a fumble recovery this afternoon. Kesni Tausinga was in street clothes as he battles to overcome a foot injury. The rest of the defense continues to heap praise on the defensive linemen, saying they are young but very talented.
BYU's linebacker cupboard seemed relatively barren at the end of 2013 but according to Coach Mendenhall he's found ready replacements to carry on the torch of BYU's linebacking legacy. Manoa Pikula (BLB) and Zac Stout (MLB) would be the starters if the season started today inside with Jherremya Leuta-Douyere and Austin Heder backing them up, respectively. On the edge you'd have Alani Fua (SLB) and Bronson Kaufusi (WLB) starting with depth behind them coming from Michael Alisa, Sae Tautu, Jordan Egbert, and Peter Welsh. Leuta-Douyere and Egbert tallied "whistle" sacks in the scrimmage today. Freshman Brock Markham added an interception off a deflection.
BYU's strength on paper on defense this season is the defensive secondary and they carry themselves as such. Trent Trammel and Robertson Daniel were the only 2 expected starters on the field on Saturday and both had good days. Daniel collected a fumble recovery as he looks to take on more of a leadership role in his senior year. Skye PoVey added a sack as he locked down the boundary side of the field. D.J. Doman and Garrett Juergens also notched sacks on the day. PoVey, Dallin Leavitt, Kai Nacua, Chris Badger, Trevor Bateman, and Drew Reilly saw time with the first team on Saturday, while Jordan Preator, Doman, Juergens, and Michael Wadsworth saw time on the second team. The depth of the secondary will serve BYU well heading into the 2014 season.
BYU's kicking game continues to be a 3 man competition between Vance "Moose" Bingham, Trevor Samson, and Austin Brasher. Bingham had taken the lead in the competition but Coach Mendenhall said that Trevor Samson closed the gap with his performance today. Brasher connected on his 2 field goal attempts, while Bingham and Samson each connected on their single attempts at the end of drives during the scrimmage. The kicking battle will continue into fall camp with the return of Corey Edwards from the mission field to add another body to the battle. Scott Arrellano continues to hold onto his starting position as the punter but Jordan Miller is pushing him. Parker Dawe and Kevan Bills continue to get work at the deep snapper position but both are inconsistent with snaps bouncing on the ground or being off-line. Mitchell Juergens was the punt returner while Michael Davis was the kick returner.