BYU Finishes Spring Ball on a High Note

There was a star studded audience in attendance today to witness BYU's final spring practice of 2005. Cornerbacks Steven Covey and Brandon Howard were there along with wide receiver Luke Ashworth and running back Harvey Unga. Also in attendance were Hawaiian wide receiver Spencer Hafoka and a group of Mountain View High School football players out of Arizona.

The Cougar football team held a light skeli scrimmage to end what has been almost a month of hard work, learning a new offense and enduring the occasional bumps and bruises that come with the tough hitting and physical play of weekly practices.

Back to participate in the final practice after suffering a hamstring injury early in the spring was slot receiver Bryce Mahuika.

"I think today I actually felt pretty good," said Mahuika. "I don't feel any pulling in my hamstring when I run or when I cut or anything like that. The only thing really is the all out burst of speed that's getting me right now. I'm a bit hesitant when I take off. My quickness is still there and I'm still catching everything, but I can feel it after a few routes; I feel a bit winded but that‘s pretty much it."

Along with Saia Hafoka, Nathan Meikle and Breyon Jones, Mahuika will be currently penciled in to play the slot position heading into the summer. He will also be given special teams duty as well.

"Yeah, punts and kicks and I love doing that so I'll be doing that again this year," Mahuika said.

Mahuika would rather be playing than watching from the sidelines, but he has been forced into the roll of spectator instead of pass catcher most of this spring. Based on his observations, Mahuika feels the offense will eventually be play well together despite the up and down results over the last four weeks.

"I think the offense is coming along really well it's just we are a little up and down," Mahuika said. "We look really good at times and other times we look really bad. So we just need to focus and get that timing down and once we get that, and, not to make excuses, but, we've had some injuries, but once everything comes together and we'll have the potential to be really good."

So how does he like being coached by offensive coordinator and inside receivers coach Robert Anae?

"I like him a lot," said Mahuika. "I like the way he acts and he's a lot like Coach Reynolds and that was my coach last year. You know he jokes around and he gets his point across without making you feel like an idiot."

Sophomore offensive linemen David Oswald, a 6'8", 290 pound tackle, who returned in December from a mission to northern Germany, has been seeing plenty of reps with the first and second team units at both the right and left tackle. Oswald feels that the up and down performance by the offense is mental.

"I feel pretty good and it's good to be back," said Oswald. "I'm getting time playing with both the ones and the twos at right and left tackle, and it's going really good. My strength is almost back. Those guys [Marquardt and Sitaki] teach me a lot. They put me on my back today once!

"A lot of the stuff we focused on today was mental. That's why we weren't suited up in all of our pads today because we wanted to focus on the mental aspect. It's not so much guys making bad blocks or not having the athletic abilities or having problems with the defense or blitzes but rather it being mental mistakes and that's what we were kind of focusing on today. But it's going good. It's a lot more intense this year and we're working a lot harder which makes it a lot more fun too. There's more energy and more excitement on the field right now."

Fullback Moa Peaua echoed Oswald's comments.

"Today we just wanted to focus on the little things like blocking and just the little things," Peaua said.

Moa Peaua has been receiving time in the backfield as a blocking specialist who, often times leads the way for running backs Fahu Tahi and Curtis Brown.

"Well it's the same as it was last year and that's just blocking," said Peaua of his role this year. "That's fine with me as long as I can get back onto the field to help the team,"

After BYU coaches persuaded Peaua to lose 10 pounds by keeping him from the practice field, Peaua was able to shed a few more pounds following a brief bought with the flu bug.

"They wanted me to lose 10 pounds," said Peaua. "I got sick and that helped a lot. One day I got a bad cough and it turned into a fever. I lost weight because I didn't eat for a whole two days!"

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