Back and Forth

For most of the spring, the offense has been the dominant unit. During today's scrimmage in front of over 250 former players, the defense took a stand. Such is the case with most spring practices, and Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said he would be worried if his players did not respond after a drubbing.

"Today the defensive players stepped forward, and as we watched yesterday, it was the offense with the better effort," said BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall. "It swings back and forth every year. I'd be concerned if one side didn't respond the next day, but so far they've swung back and forth for the most part."

"We did alright today," said linebacker Cameron Jensen. "We did better than we have been, but we're no where close to what we want to be and what we can be. We came out with the right mindset today, not worrying so much about assignments, but really getting after it and trusting our instincts."

"We had a bad showing yesterday, so we had to respond today," added linebacker Markell Staffieri. "Being physical was the focus today, and we think we did that. Now we just have keep it up and not take practices off."

"I liked the intensity, I thought they played more physical than they have been playing," said Mendenhall about his defense. "They executed at higher level than they had before and it's coming step by step, but we have a long way to go."

Practice Notes

- Fui Vakapuna has had his way with the defense throughout the spring. On the first play of the scrimmage, the defense struck back when David Nixon busted through the line to drop Vakapuna for a two-yard loss

- Curtis Brown then fought back for the offense, gaining 17 yards on a run off tackle. A couple of plays later, John Beck hit Andrew George for a 20-yard pass

- Other defensive highlights during 11-on-11s included a sack by defensive lineman Sean Sullivan, and a play in the backfield by linebacker Bryan Kehl on Brown.

- The offensive highlights included Jonny Harline catching a pass of 30 yards from Jason Beck and a one-handed catch by Manase Tonga on a pass out to the flat which he turned upfield for 9 yards

- The offensive and defensive lines both left the field after 11-on-11s, leaving the rest of the team to do skeleton drills. Daniel Coats had a seven-yard gain when he snagged a pass that was thrown behind him. Jason Beck tossed a 15-yard pass to Jonny Harline. Scott Johnson picked off a Jason Beck pass.

- The lines then took the field again for a practice-ending live scrimmage with officials. John Beck promptly took the first team down the field for a touchdown score coming on a 25-yard pass to the corner of the end zone to Matt Allen. Highlights on this drive included a 28-yard pass to Coats, Zac Collie holding on to a pass on a slant pattern after taking two big shots from defenders and a four-yard reception by McKay Jacobson on an out pattern. Defensive standouts included Nixon then Jensen converging on Brown for no gain on consecutive plays.

- The offense took it into the end zone again, a three-yard run by Fui Vakapuna. On this set Tonga again took a pass out of the backfield breaking several tackles for an 11-yard gain. Ray Hudson had a nice slashing run of seven yards. Hala Paongo and Kehl later converged to drop Hudson for a minimal gain

- The next series saw the defense assert itself and take control with second-team units on both sides of the ball. Ja. Beck hit Jacobson for a 10-yard pass on the only successful offensive play of the drive. Sullivan then had his second sack of the day. After a bad snap, Terrance Hooks read a draw play and stopped Ray Hudson for a minimal gain.

- Paongo started the next drive off with a sack. Jo. Beck was then chased from the pocket by Nixon. Vic So'oto caught a four-yard pass followed by Beck being chased out of the pocket by Kyle Luekenga for a short gain

- The defense held kept the offense out of the end zone for the rest of the scrimmage. Highlights included:

-Wes Anderson stripping the ball away from Wayne Latu after and eight-yard run.

-Jo. Beck hitting Tonga for a pass in the flat where he was met immediately by Cole Miyahira. Tonga bowled Miyahira over, leaving him on the ground and turning what should have been a two-yard gain into a 15-yard gain.

-Luekenga and Kehl dropping Vakapuna in the backfield on the final play of the scrimmage for a one-yard loss

- Mendenhall mentioned after practice that his concerns so far this spring included depth issues on the offensive and defensive lines and concerns regarding the development of the secondary. What he likes is the experience at quarterback, the depth at running back and the personnel at linebacker.

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