BYU Spring Ball: Day Four

Total Blue Sports' Brandon Gurney was on hand for the fourth day of BYU's pring practice. He gives fans the rundown on the day's events including a scrimmage and a guest appearance from a Super Bowl champ alumnus.

The team wound up its first week of practice with its first full pads session. The practice concluded with a full-contact scrimmage. While the yesterday's half scrimmage was used as the reference point that Coach Bronco Mendenhall referred to a day ago, today's scrimmage saw the players going all out for the first time since their game against Utah last season.

"It was fun," said defensive lineman Justin Carlson-Maddux following the scrimmage. "We're football players and we love to hit, especially us being on the defense. It was just a lot of fun. The energy was up, people were flying around and I felt good out there."

Said Coach Bronco Mendenhall: "I feel we did better today. The sound was better and I felt that the players wanted to be out there. It was faster today and guys were competing. I'll have to look at the film to see more about the execution, but in regards to competing I feel that we did a lot better today."

"We obviously have a lot to work on, but I feel that we're much farther along this year than in any of the prior 3 years that I've been here at this time," said Carlson-Maddux. "The attitude is just so much better. There is a real sense of being together in this year's team that I think might not have been there during past years."

The team scrimmaged in full pads, but started at the same point on the field with every down. A lot of the first-teamers like Jake Kuresa, Cameron Jensen, Curtis Brown, Manaia Brown and KC Bills were held out of the scrimmage for precautionary reasons.

The following are some of the scrimmage highlights:

-John Beck took the field first with the 1's and promptly completed a flare pass to Daniel Coats that went for about 12 yards.

-Fahu Tahi ran for a short gain of 2 yards.

-Judd Anderton sacked John Beck mainly due to good coverage downfield.

-John Beck completed a 4 yard slant to Michael Reed, followed by a similar pass for similar yardage to Coats.

-A fumbled snap ended John Beck's series.

-Matt Berry got his chance with the 2's.

-Berry's highlights included consecutive completions to Zac Collie and David Gooch of 5 and 15 yards respectively. His reps ended with an overthrown pass to Reed streaking down the sidelines.

-John Beck got another set of reps and was promptly sacked by Anderton and Carlson-Maddux. Fahu Tahi then caught a shovel pass that he took up field for about 20 yards. His reps ended with an interception by Nate Hutchinson of a slightly under-thrown pass to Reed. Hutchinson battled for the ball and promptly returned it for a would-be touchdown.

-Jason Beck got his first set of reps which started with a fumbled snap. He was then sacked by Aaron Wagner around the end. After a completion to Eric Watterson of about 5 yards he was sacked again by TJ Sitake. His reps ended with a 2 yard pass again to Watterson that Wagner sniffed out, tackling Watterson in the flat for a minimal gain.

-John Beck got another set of reps and started it off completing an 8 yard slant to Reed. He followed that with a 5 yard pass to Meikle. Tahi then busted the gap on a 60 yard run that would have gone the distance had Craig North not tracked him down just before he got to the end zone. He then threw a beautiful 35 yard strike to Matt Smith streaking down the sideline. Wagner then forced John Beck to throw the ball away and a Vince Feula sack ended that set of reps.

-Matt Berry saw another set of reps and didn't go much of anywhere after his first pass attempt was dropped by Breyon Jones. Anderton and Richard Nehring tackled Wayne Latu in the backfield for a short loss. Berry finished his set of reps with another incompletion.

-John Beck got another set of reps while Tahi again busted a long run of 50 yards off tackle that was helped considerably by a great open field block by Matt Smith. Gary Lovely then forced John Beck to scramble out of the pocket while running for a minimal gain. After a 5 yard completion to Meikle, Coats dropped a pass that ended those set of reps.

-The second and third strings then got reps with quarterbacks Jason Beck, Jackson Brown and Michael Affleck having their shots. Affleck had a nice 15 yard completion over the middle. Nerhing again showed his presence knocking down a pass across the middle and Matt Smith had consecutive receptions for 5 and 15 yards respectively.

"Man, we're rusty, but I like this group of guys a lot," said Carlson-Maddux following the scrimmage. "I feel that we're just doing the right things and I know that we'll get it together. This was a good first scrimmage, we have a ton of stuff to work on, but I really like where we're at as a team. It just feels great being out there again."

Practice notes:

-Moa Peaua is still with the team, but has not practiced. Said Coach Mendenhall, "Moa is on the team and I gave him a reporting weight. He hasn't yet met his weight so he trains and conditions and when he meets his weight, then he'll be able to join us out here and practice."

-Steven Covey, Harvey Unga and Luke Ashworth all attended practice. They were joined by a couple of soon-to-be preferred walk-ons in 5A MVP Bryan Kariya of Davis High School. 6-1, 200 who will play safety or linebacker and Lolo Tenifa 6-0, 190 out of Highland High School who ran a 4.53 at BYU's camp this past summer. Tenifa is set to take the ACT again in a week and if he passes, then a scholarship may be available to him. Tenifa is planning on playing defensive back.

Steve Young addressed the team following practice. He spoke of his journey of going from an 8th string quarterback at BYU to the NFL Hall of Fame. Several highlights of his speech included:

-The importance of being at practice every day. It doesn't matter if you're sick, hurt or whatever. It is very important to be at practice.

-Nobody currently on the team is in a worse spot than when he came in as a freshman, so they all have an opportunity to shine.

-Young emphasized accountability and encouraged the team to expect excellence. He called for them to forge an almost religious affiliation with the football program.

Said Mendenhall about Young and the speech he gave to the team following practice: "It's a tremendous experience for not only the players, but for myself to have a player like Steve Young come and talk to us. He's just a part of the tradition that BYU has. Not to reach out to players like Steve Young and have them talk about the standard that has been set and the program that they helped to build would be a mistake on my part as a head coach."

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