Trying to complete passes against a secondary that could well be one of the deepest ever at BYU, Beck got a brief taste of what it's like to be first string quarterback against Mendenhall's swarm defense.
"Our defense is looking really good. I really wanted to go up more against that first D because they're looking like they're flying around the ball fast today. I think Jared Meibos had a couple of picks. Brandon Heaney is fast; they're a real fast secondary. Just on the sideline here, a couple of us offensive guys where noticing how even the corners on the opposite side of the field of the play would be over there in the pile (tackle). Those guys are hustling and they are working hard."
With the quality of talent BYU has in the secondary, they can often frustrate quarterbacks and wide receivers alike. Many might view their lack of success as a direct reflection of their inabilities to either grasp the offense, read the defense. This is not the case with the Cougar quarterbacks, says Beck: "Me, Matt (Berry) and Todd (Mortensen) were all talking about it. I think it's good we are running against this defense. It's making us better."
Passing skills developed from an outstanding secondary unit will force the BYU quarterbacks to make better decisions.
"You know, it's just kind of an instinct," Beck said, adding "you have a natural timer in your head, and you kind of know when the pocket's breaking down or if you need to step into the pocket. One time at the end, the pocket kind of collapsed, but the front of the line held up well, so I got to stand in there and hit Toby (Christensen). They'll bring a couple guys and I just kind of feel like I need to get out of the pocket. Back when I first got here, I didn't have that feeling and I was a little sketchy in the pocket. Now I'm starting to get my pocket sense down better."
Beck commented on the second team offensive line's performance. "We had a couple plays where they let some guys through, but as a whole I think that second line had a really good day," Beck said. "You even see guys on the third line that are going good. Ofa Mohetau, he's on the second line, and he shows a lot of talent. Our line's hustling around and I think that's really good, but we still have a lot we need to work on though."
He also spoke glowingly about his wide receiver group. "Chris Hale and Rod Wilkerson are really fast. He (Wilkerson) took that first little screen pass for a touchdown. When someone's taking a screen pass for a 50-yard touchdown, you know he's got a lot of athleticism," Beck continued. "I love throwing to Toby Christensen over the middle. He's tough. He sticks in there."
Beck added, "We saw a lot of guys make a lot of good catches today. As a group, I was just with them stretching. They were happy about a lot of things, but there's also a lot we need to work on."
Whether you are talking about the quarterbacks, offensive line or wide receivers, BYU's hustling defense is forcing them to get better.
Even when they don't look good against a veteran, aggressive defense, they are steadily improving in practice.
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