Scrimmage Over, Crowton Begins Fine-tuning Process

BYU head football coach <b>Gary Crowton</b> saw some things he liked, but a lot more he didn't during yesterday's first full practice scrimmage.

One thing is certain: He's glad the Cougars are not playing Georgia Tech today or tomorrow.

The defense impressed. The most glaring statistic was quarterback Matt Berry's four interceptions. No doubt, the Berry boo-bird fans will be in full form campaigning for freshman sensation John Beck, who did look better leading the second unit offense primarily against the second unit defense.

Indeed, Crowton was extremely pleased with the way the defense was "flying around" and knows if they can cause havoc against their own offense who know them best, they could certainly – and hopefully – do worse against teams the Cougars will face this fall.

The word Crowton used about the offense was "synchronized," specifically the lack of it yesterday. But he also knows it is early enough (that's why he scheduled the early scrimmage) to make all the adjustments needed by game day on August 28.

Despite all the woeful cries you may hear from some who watched the scrimmage, Crowton is actually encouraged, and No, he does not have his head buried in the sand.

There was never any doubt that BYU's defense was going to be good this year because of the experienced veterans. There was doubt the offense would match it. Yesterday proved it -- as least early in fall practice.

The good news we will have an exciting and interesting defense to watch this fall. The bad news is our offense must rise to the challenge. If they do, as expected, the combination will be deadly for a lot of teams for some years to come.

Crowton had to get on his offense yesterday about driving through on their blocks and several long runs resulted from it. He knows he, Robbie Bosco and Todd Bradford (the latter are co-offensive coordinators), have a lot to work on immediately.

The offensive line made some errors recognizing some assignments as Bronco's defense showed a lot of different looks, but they got better as the scrimmage progressed.

Crowton thought Berry's multiple interceptions were caused because he threw the ball too early on more than one occasion. Berry hung to the ball too long the last time they scrimmaged. Now Berry, coaches and receivers have to work on a happy medium or balance. That will come. It was not all bad. Berry had his highlights yesterday as well.

If it rained yesterday on Berry's parade, teammate Beck poured it on with an impressive showing, escaping the pocket and dodging defenders when the offensive line could not hold them at bay.

Crowton was impressed with Beck's athleticism, but wants him to stay in the pocket longer or as long as possible. The key now is for the offensive line to provide sufficient protection for the Cougar quarterbacks.

He was obviously pleased with the power-running and shifty moves yesterday of Marcus Whalen and Fui Vakapuna. There is no question both can do some serious damage (good for BYU) this fall. The speedier running backs, Thomas Stancil and Reynaldo Brathwaite, have looked good in fall camp, even if they didn't get much of a chance to show it yesterday.

Though the depth is good, the tight ends did not deliver what Crowton was expecting yesterday. He knows they are young and still susceptible to mental errors. This is something tight end coach Mike Empey will undoubtedly work on in coming days.

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