Following a knee injury that left him sidelined over the past season, Tom Sorensen has been busy rehabbing, staying in shape and looking forward to the day when he'll compete again for the starting job.
"Right now my knee is feeling great," said Sorensen. "There is no pain when I'm running and there's no pain when I'm lifting. The only hesitation anybody has is time. As for me, I don't have any hesitation."
Being the tough linemen and the competitor that Sorensen is, it's natural that he would have no hesitation to jump right back into action. At the same time, he understands there is wisdom behind the decisions of the coaches who have told him take it slow.
"As far as spring goes they're going to keep me out of scrimmages and one-on-one competition to let [my knee] continue to heal ‘til fall camp starts," said Sorensen. "When fall camp starts we'll get going then, but right now for the most part I'm just doing mental reps. I'm trying to take in as much as possible and learning more with the new coach. I'm learning the new things that will make me better once fall camp comes around."
While Sorensen is soaking in information from a non-contact point, whether watching on the sidelines, participating in group meetings or learning new techniques from Coach Weber, he is still heavily involved in strengthening his knee and building up his overall physical strength.
"Other than that I'm just trying to get my leg stronger," Sorensen said. "Last week we maxed on our squats and I was able to match my max prior to when I tore my ACL. Right now everything is looking up and I'm looking forward to a good season next year."
Having received some on hands-on o-line training from Coach Grimes prior to the injury, Sorensen is now prepared to learn from Coach Weber.
"One thing that I'm really impressed with in Coach Weber is his intensity and his overall love for the game," Sorensen said. "He has a real o-linemen's mentality and we now get points for knocking guys on the ground downfield. I think he really wants to see us hustling down field chasing d-linemen and even defensive backs that are too fast for us o-linemen. That's what he likes to see and expects from us and that's something I'm used to."
One aspect fellow teammate Sete Aulai mentioned concerning Coach Weber was his focus on becoming more aggressive downfield and the drills he implemented within the current format to help develop this in greater detail. Like Aulai, Sorensen feels this is something that Weber is stressing more of.
"He recognized that we are a big, strong and physical presence in the middle," said Sorensen. "He also has commented that we are an athletic bunch of big guys, and so he wants to put that to use and get us going more downhill as much as we can so no one can stop us. It's not going to matter who it is; no one is going to be able to stop us."
The big emphasis by BYU coaches over the past couple of days has been ball security. With the offense turning the ball over a few times during last Friday's scrimmage, this fundamental part of the game has been talked about and is being stressed and worked on by the Cougar coaching staff.
"The number one thing right now is ball security," said Sorensen. "As long as we keep the ball in our hands and away from our opponents we win."
According to Sorensen, to help the team stay focused on meeting goals with the focus being on continual improvement, the Cougar staff talked to the team about the three pillars, all of which are key team elements the staff feels will help the team as a whole add upon last year's success.
"We have the three pillars," Sorensen said. "We want to get over 24 points each scrimmage or each game. We want to get back to the fundamentals of the game which really is what spring practice is all about, especially with the second and third team units. We also want to focus on being consistent in everything we do. We feel that it really isn't going to matter what quarterback is in there because they'll have time to pick apart defenses. We really enjoy going up against one another and we're all looking forward to the season."
Speaking of o-linemen, Coach Grimes came into the Indoor Practice Facility today to see and talk with his former o-line players. Standing in the middle and surrounded by the large group of guys he helped mold and train, Grimes had a big smile on his face from ear to ear as he spoke with and joked among his former players. The o-line group seemed happy that Grimes came in to the IPF for a quick hello and chat with them.