So what is on tap tomorrow?
"A 24-hour period of practice where the last 30 minutes at least will be a live scrimmage of 1's against 1's and 2's against 2's," Mendenhall answered. "There will also be an inside 10-minute run and a Cougar drill crossover which is fundamentals all over the field. There will be also be a high school coaches clinic going on and our attempt is to show exactly how we're building the program We‘ll put our best foot forward in showing them everything we possibly can. There will be a lot of contact and hopefully a lot of effort."
The pace this spring has been brisk under first-year Coach Mendenhall's direction, as he noted following today's practice session. "The pace we've been pushing has taken its toll injury wise, but the increase in effort and pace is what I think this team needs."
One player who has taken Mendenhall's regimen in stride, showing well this spring is linebacker Richard Nehring. Nehring might have had his best performance of spring practice during today's scrimmage. He picked off two passes and recorded a sack in addition to numerous tackles.
"I feel the defense did alright," Nehring said. "I'm just out there to make plays and go as hard as I can. Fortunately, today I was able to make a few plays."
Nehring has been a fixture on the second team of the linebacking corps this spring and that is in line with what Nehring and Mendenhall saw for him. "I want to be in the rotation," Nehring said. "My expectations were to be playing at least on the second-string."
Mendenhall added: "Richard Nehring is a high effort player. We were considering him strongly last year to play in the two-deep during fall camp, but then he had a hamstring injury, so we decided to red-shirt him. He is someone who would have contributed last year."
Nehring comes to BYU having grown up in Indiana before serving an LDS mission to Las Vegas, Nevada. He served with his current roommate and fellow linebacker Aaron Wagner. "We were companions out in the mission field and we get along real well," Nehring said. "I'm rooming with him now here at BYU, so it‘s just a blast."
Wagner went on his mission after playing a season for Washington State. So was there a little recruiting going on between Nehring and Wagner? "Maybe a little," Nehring said with a laugh. "He said he really enjoyed playing at Washington State when I was with him, so it was a nice surprise, sort of, when he decided to come here and play."
Thursday's Practice Highlights:
-Matt Smith caught a Matt Berry pass for about 50 yards on a fly pattern up the sidelines. He then caught what may have been the best catch of the scrimmage with a fully extended dive to haul in a 40-yard toss from John Beck
- As mentioned, Nehring intercepted a couple of passes, one by Jason Beck and the other by John Beck
-Michael Reed had several nice grabs including a 10-yarder from Jason Beck, a 40-yard post that went for a touchdown from John Beck and another 8-yard slant from John Beck
-Fahu Tahi had a couple of nice runs including a 4-yard run off tackle that went for a touchdown
-Nehring recorded a sack along with Michael Marquardt
-Kyle Tew knocked down a Matt Berry pass at the line of scrimmage
-KC Bills showed good coverage skills knocking down a pass intended for Nathan Meikle
-David Gooch caught the longest pass of the scrimmage splitting the defense on an 80-yard touchdown grab thrown by Jason Beck
-Jonny Harline again had several nice grabs including a very difficult 30-yard catch down the middle on a high lob from Matt Berry. Harline reached above his head to snag the slightly overthrown ball without breaking stride in the face of very good coverage
-Jason Beck has received another year of eligibility from the NCAA according to Mendenhall
-In attendance at the practice was a local offensive lineman named Ryan Freeman. Freeman attends Orem High and is receiving attention from BYU, Oregon and Boise State among others. Freeman is 6-4, 275 and runs a 5.0 forty. His teammate Zeke Wiley is also being looked at hard by the Cougars and is sure to receive more attention as the recruiting period gets started in earnest this summer.