Due to giving up a long touchdown pass and head coach Bronco Mendenhall not being pleased with how they were running off the field, the BYU defense had to do a grueling conditioning drill to end practice. The drill had the defense lining up in one end zone on the pracitce field, sprinting 5 yards, dropping to the ground, jumping up and then repeat over and over again up and down the field.
"It's not a fun drill," said linebacker Bryan Kehl. "It's not how you want to end practice, but we deserved it. We didn't do what we needed to on defense at times and so you have to do it. That's just the way it is."
At first, the offensive players watched their teammates struggle through the drills, but it was not long before the vast majority of them lined up behind their defensive teammates and joined then in the brutal drill.
"We're a band of brothers," said fullback Manase Tonga, "Those are our teammates out there. It's all about being a band of brothers. We do things together on this team."
"Seeing those guys behind us doing the drill was awesome," said Kehl. "It just speaks for the unity we have as a team. We're not an offense and a defense, we're a team. We're all together, so yeah, that was awesome. We'd do the same for them and they know that."
The team practiced special teams work again for an entire practice segment. They did kickoff coverage and return drills. Those taking turns returning kickoffs were McKay Jacobson, Justin Robinson, Brandon Howard, Ray Hudson, Tico Pringle, Bryce Mahuika, Mike Hague and Zac Erekson.
There were two standout kick returns. The first saw Jacobson take the ball out to midfield, weaving between gaps created by his blockers. The second, by Justin Robinson, was the best return of the day. The shifty cornerback split the seam early and showed his blazing speed by outrunning everyone to the end zone.
Standout Player of the Day
Judd Anderton (6-5, 270, Jr.) was today's standout player. He has played well since fall camp began, and this morning, he was especially strong in his assignments. Anderton was an unknown commodity since arriving in Provo in 2003. Injuries plagued the Tacoma, Washington product until this year.
"I'm just healthy; it's that simple," said Anderton. "I haven't been able to go more than eight months since coming here without having something go wrong. I can play. I've always known that, and now that I'm healthy, I'm playing well. I'm with the first-teamers and I aim to stay there. That's the goal."
Anderton made his presence known in the run-drills against the full offensive contingent.
"We're going to be good," said Anderton. "Nobody is expecting much from us up front, but we have some really good guys like Ian Dulan and some others that are going to help us a lot. We're going to have a strong defensive front, stronger than most think."
-During the so-called "Cougar Drill" – which pits three offensive linemen against two defensive linemen and a linebacker while a running back tries to make yards – all eyes were on the freshmen and newcomers that will be asked to contribute right away. Matangi Tonga and Romney Fuga both proved stout. Neither moved a bit. They even managed to force the running back to go where he did not want to go on several occasions.
"Our defensive line is going to be good," said Kehl, "Those guys are young, but they're going to be good, real good."
-Tight end Vic So'oto made the best catch of the day on a 50-yard bomb from Jason Beck. The sophomore tight end made a circus grab after the ball was deflected by Tico Pringle in coverage.
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