Lovely, Wagner Compete with First Team D

BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall made it very clear that he switched to the 3-4 defense because it would put his best players on the field, namely, the linebackers. There are many skilled linebackers on the team and Cougar coaches are giving each of them a chance to prove themselves. Today Gary Lovely and Aaron Wagner got a turn to show their stuff with the ones.

BYU coaches have a pretty good understanding of what they have on the front shelves. Today defensive coaches got a chance delve a bit deeper into their inventory at linebacker thanks to injuries and player sitting out contact drills.

There were a few different players getting reps with the first team defense. One such player was outside linebacker Aaron Wagner, who manned the middle of the field in place of Cameron "The General" Jensen.

"Aaron Wagner is a great player and we need players with confidence that can go out there and make plays," said Gary Lovely. "That's what coaches are trying to do right now."

This summer, Wagner sported a mohawk to accent his on-field reputation of being a tenacious and intimidating linebacker. When fall camp started, Wagner found himself on the second team, but after Markell Staffieri went down last week and Dan Bates went down yesterday, the big Canadian took over with the ones in the middle today.

"Right now the coaches are just trying to put the best players on the field in order to give us the best chances to win," said Lovely. "Last year we didn't rotate the defense that much and the defense got tired and opposing offenses took advantage of us, and as long as we have good rotation we should be more fresh and able to play at a higher level over a longer period of time on defense, so we can dominate this conference."

Lovely himself is part of that rotation. Today he got his chance to play with the first team defense today and he enjoyed every minute of it.

"It felt good playing against that type of speed and level of competition on the first team offense," said the 6-foot-1 200-pound Lovely. "For us to develop to a higher level in order for us to keep the intensity of the defense up will only help us win more games, and I think that's what we're trying to do right now."

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