BYU Spring Ball: Day Two

TBS has a report from Provo on the second day of BYU spring football practice. Brandon Gurney reports on his observations and conversations with coaches and players. The G-man also gat the lowdown on three Cougar prospects in attendance.

Spring practice is a time the team uses to reintroduce itself to football, work out the off-season kinks and lay the groundwork for the coming season. It's also a time for players to prove themselves and for many to get going again following injuries or sitting out a year due to transfer rules or other things. Players like Aaron Wagner, Joe Griffin, Michael Morris, Paul Walkenhorst, and KC Bills are just happy to get going again after waiting their turn.

"I'm back and it feels good," said Griffin following his first full practice session since arriving at BYU last summer. "It just feels amazing. I can't even describe how good it feels. I mean, it's lonely being hurt. You don't feel as part of the team as you'd like, so I'm definitely glad to be back."

Griffin was among those who had some good moments in practice catching several balls while showing good separation, speeding away from defenders on a simple hitch pattern and taking it the distance for a touchdown.

Other practice highlights included:

-Michael Reed catching a hitch-pass like Griffin and doing the exact same thing in taking it the distance for a touchdown. Reed broke an attempted Nate Hutchinson tackle near the goal-line.

-Reed and Hutchinson both showed their aggression early on sharing a couple of competitive shoves before being separated by teammates which isn't an uncommon occurrence during a Spring practice session.

- Quarterback John Beck threw a picture perfect fly pattern of about 40 yards to Matt Smith who snagged it right before he went out of bounds.

-Curtis Brown caught several balls out of the backfield and seemed to get more touches today.

-Johnny Harline again stood out among the tight ends with several nice grabs

Said Griffin about the team and Spring practice under the new head coaching staff: "I think it is establishing a lot of discipline and focus in everybody in what they have to do. You have to know what you have to do. You have to mind your P's and Q's and it's going to be fun. Guys are responding and working hard."

Griffin is perhaps the prototype of the new inside receiving position that Coach Anae is bringing to his offense. Standing in at 6-3 and under 220 pounds, Griffin is a bit of a "tweener" between a tight end and a wide receiver. "I'm playing inside receiver," said Griffin of his new position. "In this offense they have two different types of tight ends. They have a bigger one and a smaller one. I can maneuver a little bit better than some of the bigger guys, so that's probably what I'll be playing this year." Griffin is very excited about the offense. "It's going to be a lot of fun," he said. "It's definitely more simple. With this offense there are less options. It's either do this or this and that's it. It's more reading for the quarterback, but more simple for us. But it's more simple for the quarterback in that he's not going to have to read as many routes. He'll have a lot more options. He can just see if something is open and if it's not he can just go to the next guy."

Side Notes:

-Paul Walkenhorst switched back to linebacker and practiced with the linebackers all day today. Said head coach Bronco Mendenhall: "We moved Paul back to linebacker today. I talked to Paul before Spring practice began and he asked me where I saw him playing and I told him that he was active enough and big enough to be a quality defensive end. He went through the preseason workout preparing to play there, but he came in and told me today that it just didn't seem natural to him and asked me if he could switch back and I told him ‘certainly.' I want these guys to play exactly where they feel like they belong and I'll never move a player if they don't feel like that's where they should be."

-2005 Cougar signee Kyle Leukenga was in attendance and talked about his recently received off-season workout regimen. "It's about 25 pages long and very detailed," said the 240-pund linebacker. "I'm basically lifting at least 3 hours a day which isn't hard because I have two weight-lifting classes this semester in school. I'm also running about 2 miles per night and doing sprints with Matt Asiata." Regarding Asiata, Leukenga said: "He's just waiting on his test score. He wants to come down here and play real bad and I hope he'll come because he's just an awesome player."

-Other notable sideline observers included a tandem of players from American Fork who by the name of McKay Frandsen, a 6-3, 210-pound recruit and Michael Muehlmann, a 6-5, 220-pound tight end or a defensive end prospect. Both are considering BYU.

-One of the more intriguing spectators was 6-6, 221-pound Kenny Bledsoe who recently completed a mission to the Phillipines and is currently enrolled at BYU. Said Bledsoe: "I played mostly basketball in high school, but I really want to play tight end here at BYU. I want to be out there right now and show them what I can do, but I can wait a while." Bledsoe was a track star in high school where he ran a 49.6 in the 400 meters and a 1:52 in the 800 meters. "I've also been timed running a 4.57 forty and I have a 34" vertical leap, so I think I can play," he said. "Kentucky is still after me offering a scholarship, but I'm here at BYU and I'm going to try and play here."


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