BYU Spring Ball: Day 11

The days of BYU's spring football practice are getting fewer but TBS is still going strong with daily practice coverage. Today Brandon Gurney talked to Coach Anae about the progression of the receivers. The G-man also spoke with Coach Mendenhall about the big scrimmage and alumni reunion on tap for Friday.

Today's practice was largely preparation for tomorrow's big scrimmage at LaVell Edwards stadium. That contest will be played in front of the media along with more than 238 expected former players and their families. It will be an opportunity to give the players as close to a real game experience as possible this spring. It will also allow current players to show those who have gone before that the BYU tradition is in good hands.

"It will give us a chance to see what the players know," Said head coach Bronco Medenhall. "It's as close to a game-like setting as we'll have this spring. We'll see what they know and how they execute without us being out there. It will be a great gauge to what progress we've made."

One of the positions that will be heavily scrutinized in how they have developed is the wide receivers corps under new offensive coordinator Robert Anae and new receivers coach Patrick Higgins. Thus far Anae like what he sees from his wide receivers. "I've been pleased with their progress so far," said Anae. "I look forward to the rest of spring to continue that development. As a group they've all stepped forward and met the challenge."

At this point Anae indicated that he did not want to single out individual receivers that may be making an impact this coming year, but focused on their development as a group. "Coming into it you don't really gauge where they should be, at least I don't," he said. "But I've been really pleased with where they're going and how they're learning."

As stated, Coach Mendenhall expects at least 238 former players along with their families to be in attendance along with some other walkups. There will be a dinner after practice for about 500 where Mendenhall will speak to the former players. He indicated that he will talk to the former players and their families about the future of the program as well as a about his new recruiting plan.

So far the outreach effort by Mendenhall and his staff has been warmly met. "[The former players] have been very excited to have just been asked to attend and that's been my intent," said Mendenhall.

The team dressed in half-pads and ended the practice with a light scrimmage in which John Beck and Jason Beck got the majority of the reps. Several of the highlights included:

- Two catches by Breyon Jones as John Beck looked to him early in the scrimmage

- A Jason Beck completion to Matt Allen which marked Allen's return to the practice field after sustaining a concussion

- Several very nice catches by Michael Reed including a 20 yard pass from Jason Beck where he had to out-jump the defender while coming back to the ball, a 14 yard pass from Jason Beck that went for the only touchdown of the scrimmage, and a couple of grabs on short slants from John Beck

-T.J. Sitake recorded a sack along with Justin Carlson-Maddux and Vince Feula

-Daniel Coats had a couple of catches and no drops on passes from John Beck

-Matt Berry saw very limited action with only three passes over which he went 1-3

-Johnny Harline caught a couple of balls and Joe Griffin caught a pass as well

Side Notes:

Walkenhorst Returns: linebacker Paul Walkenhorst returned to practice today seeing his reps with the 3s on defense.

"10 days ago I gave Paul a leave of absence to determine what he wanted to do with his life," said Mendenhall. "He's married now, he's been at BYU a long time and I gave him time to assess where he needed to go. He came in yesterday and told me that he'd like to be part of the program and I'd certainly like him to be."

Although Walkenhorst has missed more than 2 weeks of practice this spring, Mendenhall is confident that he'll catch up. "He'll be able to contribute at some point," said Mendenhall. "He has the rest of spring and the summer to catch up. He went through all the conditioning in the off-season as well. I like Paul as a person and am glad that he's part of the program."

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