BYU Fall Football Practice Report 8/25

BYU's preseason came to a wet and wild close today. Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall continued the Cougar tradition of allowing the players to slip and slide their way to the end of fall camp. For the next nine days, all thoughts will be on the Eagles of Boston College.

Senior Chris Hale said the key to getting maximum distance on the 25-yard long plastic sheet is your form. "You have to keep your feet up," he said. "You also need to keep your chest up, and try to slide on your belly-button."

Fellow senior O'Neil Howell added that you have to be quick too. "You have to get to your feet quick or you get turf burn on your stomach," he said. Howell did acknowledge that if there was a water slide at the end of each sprint, he would not mind running sprints all afternoon.

But from here on out, the main focus will no longer be on conditioning or player assignments, it will all be on Boston College.

"Game preparation starts today," Mendenhall said. "The coaches will go upstairs and we'll be working on tomorrow morning's practice. Tomorrow morning will be our first full Boston College look. We did all of our preseason scouting over the summer as a staff, so we're not starting from scratch. It's just to refresh ourselves. Now we can apply that to what we know about our team."

What the staff will be looking for are ways to exploit a solid Eagle team that returns eight starters on defense and seven on offense. Mendenhall said that BC is a physical team that runs the ball well and is "confident and well coached."

With Boston College just days away, there are other decisions that need to be made as well. Redshirts also need to be determined. Mendenhall said that many of those decisions could be made as early as tomorrow morning. But he added that because the Cougars do not play on the road until October, they can push the borderline cases off.

"We have the luxury of not being on the road for a while," he said. "That doesn't force our hand in terms travel roster which is sometimes the first determinant. Our scheduling is in our favor in that respect."

One player who might be on the red-shirt bubble is freshman tight end Vic So'oto. Mendenhall praised his work ethic, and said that he is a player who could be a third tight end and contribute on special teams.

The head coach was also impressed by how the team has responded every time he's challenged them.

"There hasn't been a time since I've been head coach that I haven't asked the team and framed it correctly that they haven't responded. There have been times when I didn't ask them right and didn't set it up for them to have success. But when I have asked them correctly they have responded.

"I looked at the scrimmage, I asked them to improve and perform and execute at a higher level than they did the scrimmage before. And throughout I would say that was accomplished."

Although the team is still a work in progress, he said that the team's attitude is as good as he's ever seen at this point. He was particularly pleased to see the secondary respond after a strong challenge yesterday.

Another thing Mendenhall addressed was what players are doing when they are injured. He said that it is not enough for them to simply come out and do their conditioning. Because they are missing valuable repetitions on the practice field they should be doing extra film study or something else to make up mentally for what they are missing on the field. The coach noticed that players were coming back, and running fast, but they did not necessarily know where to go. Mendenhall said that if he could do it again he would organize it differently and state more clearly what is expected of those who cannot practice.

As for practicing, after going three and out on several consecutive two-minute drills in the team's final scrimmage, the team was put in the same situation. The practice ending 11-on-11 recreated those situations. This time the offense responded much better and scored on several of the drives. The final play of the session was a touchdown pass to Todd Watkins who snuck inside the pylon before going out of bounds.


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