Spring Practice Report: Day 9

The defensive intensity picked up while the offense looked a bit out of synch during today's practice. As the team readies for their third trip to LaVell Edwards Stadium tomorrow, today's practice saw a new feature in the middle of the field. Players didn't readily know why it was there, but they liked it.

Prior to practice on Monday, a big BYU flag with signatures from every single player off last year's team on it was stuck into the ground. It wasn't something the players were expecting, but they liked seeing it.

"All of our signatures are on that flag and it was great having it up there," said cornerback Kayle Buchanan. "I don't really know why it was put up. You'd have to ask the big man over there about that."

Indeed, no speech was given by head coach Bronco Mendenhall in regards to why the flag was put up, but the team did take note.

"I didn't know why they put it up there," said receiver Michael Reed. "But I liked it, I liked it a lot. Big flag waving in the middle of the field that we all signed last year, I like that."

Regardless of any specific reasoning Mendenhall had for sticking in the flag, the players were inspired by it and hope that it will be a common thing during practices to see it waving proudly.

"I think it was put up just to remind us of who we are and what we accomplished and can accomplish," said Buchanan. "Just looking at it helps raise our level of intensity, I feel, and just serves as a reminder of what this program is and what it's about."

Raise the Intensity

One thing the defense wasn't about during the last scrimmage on Friday was intensity and enthusiastic play. Following the scrimmage, every defensive player who talked with Total Blue Sports mentioned that the intensity was down and they were going to rectify that this week and during every practice to finish out spring camp.

"We were flat," said Buchanan regarding last week's scrimmage. "We weren't totally flat, but we didn't feel like we took a step forward. It wasn't an advance for us and we need to be doing that with every practice we do. So yeah, we're definitely looking to play with more enthusiasm and intensity. Maybe seeing that flag will help."

It's hard to tangibly coach enthusiasm or intensity on the practice field. Having the right combination of both is very much incumbent upon the players and the team captains, which Buchanan and his teammates recognize.

"It's just something we have to think about and have our mind on going into it," said Buchanan. "It's not something you can coach. You just have to raise the level of intensity yourself and encourage your teammates to do the same by what you may say or how you play."

11-on-11s

-Max Hall got the first set of reps during 11-on-11s with the first-teamers and went 1-2 for just two yards on a pass to Daniel Tervort. On the play, linebacker Bryan Kehl immediately met Tervort in the flat forcing the play to be whistled dead just as the pass was completed.

-Cade Cooper then got a set with the 2s on offense against the 1s on defense. Cooper went 1-3 for 13 yards during the set. Cooper's completion was enabled by a very athletic grab by tight end Dennis Pitta, who laid out to make a fingertip-grab on the reception that went for 13 yards. Kehl ended the set with a sack.

-Kehl met Hall rudely on the third set, recording another sack. On the very next play Hall hit Michael Reed for a touchdown on a 55-yard pass.

-Hall then got another set with the 1s against the second-team defense and drove the team for a score. During the set, Hall went 5-7 for 61 yards, capping it off with a 13-yard pass to Reed. Reed caught two other passes during the set for four and 14 yards, respectively. Vic So'oto caught a pass for 20 yards on the first play, while Hall hit Bryce Mahuika for 10 yards on an important third down, extending the set.

-The next set had Jan Jorgensen sacking Cooper on the very first play. Cooper went 2-3 on the set for 20 yards, with completions to Tyler Kozlowski and Pitta for nine and 11 yards, respectively. Defensive highlights included a sack by Grant Nelson and a pass breakup by Dan Van Sweden over the middle.

-Hall's final set was uneventful as he went 1-3 for just five yards.

-Recruits Daniel Sorensen and Justin Sorensen were in attendance, as was Washington prep phenom Jerry Bruner.

-Also in attendance was quarterback Kevin O'Mary from Mira Mesa High School in San Diego, California. O'Mary plans to walk-on at BYU this coming fall.


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