BYU Football Practice Report 8/30

The BYU Cougars concluded their final practice in pads Tuesday as they prepare for the season opener against Boston College. The next two days will focus on the game plan and tightening up the team's execution.

Despite all the injuries that seemed to have plagued the team throughout fall camp, only two players were held out of practice today by Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall: slot receiver Bryce Mahuika and corner back Kayle Buchanan.

The team also selected its captains. The team will be led on Saturday by starting quarterback John Beck and middle linebacker Cameron Jensen.

Coach Mendenhall also said those who start on the offensive line against Boston College will probably be the same as those who have played with the first team the last week or so. That would be: Jake Kuresa, Brian Sanders, Lance Reynolds Jr., Terrence Brown and Eddie Keele.

"There won't be any changes there," Mendenhall said. "They're coming together as a unit."

The offensive line will need to function as a cohesive unit if they are to contain pre-season All-American defensive end Mathais Kiwanuka. Coach Mendenhall said that he was one of the best defensive players in the nation.

"When they have a player of that caliber you certainly have to be aware of where he is at all times," said Mendenhall. "That's been stressed from the very moment we started working on Boston College."

Another thing that the coaching staff has stressed is special teams. "I think we've devoted a lot of time to special teams," Mendenhall said. "Our entire structure has placed emphasis greater than what has been in the past with a specific coach being assigned to each special team."

In today's practice the team worked on kickoffs and kickoff returns. Handling the returns were Zac Collie, Justin Robinson and Nathan Meikle. The majority of the kicks were reaching the goal line or beyond.

Both first and second team offenses and defenses ran against the scout teams of Boston College. Manaia Brown had a very nice pass deflection that he then reached up grabbed for an interception. Paul Walkenhorst continued his strong play, by making tackles (although it was non-contact) all over the field. The defense also welcomed back Dustin Gabriel, Quinn Gooch and Spencer White. Chris Hale and Nate Soelberg were the starting corners today. Practicing with the second team defense were freshmen Kyle Luekenga and Cade Hulbert.

On offense, Michael Reed had the catch of the day as he went up between two defenders and took the ball away from one of them. He came down inside the five-yard line. Rey Feinga and Dallas Reynolds also saw reps with the first team. Nine different receivers caught passes with the first offense.

The team finished the practice with a "Beat BC!" yell and then rushed off to complete the mini-obstacle course as Mendenhall watched the entire team do ten pull-ups before applauding as they ran off the field to end the session.

When meeting with reporters following practice, Mendenhall was asked if he planned on sleeping Friday night.

"Whether I planned on it or not, it's not going to happen!"

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