Spring Practice Report: Day 11

The QB race between Cade Cooper and Max Hall continues to heat up. Neither has been able to completely separate themselves as the definite #1 QB. On Tuesday with Ray Feinga and Travis Bright out do to injuries, the defense had a heyday on the QB's. Thursday, however, the offense did manage to get it going, as did others such as Chris Bolden.

On Thursday the offense wanted to show that even though the top five running backs out and a number of significant linemen are out of action, scrimmages won't be a walk in the park.

Cade Cooper took all the reps with the 1's during 11-on-11's. On his first drive the defense did exactly what it wanted to do, forcing a three and out. Harvey Unga ran for no gain and Cooper went 0-2, including an incomplete pass to an open Michael Reed.

On Max Hall's first drive the offense moved the ball on the ground, but the offense couldn't build off of a solid performance from walk-on running back Ryan Folsom. Folsom had a first down run and a reception, although he did have a drop and was stopped short of a first down on a swing pass on third down. Despite those miscues, he is taking advantage of the opportunity given to him with the injuries in the Cougar backfield.

Kelly Poppinga has moved to the inside of the 3-4 scheme and has shown throughout the spring that he can be reliable against the run. Throughout the scrimmage, Poppinga was in the backfield breaking up running plays and was in good position in coverage. Cooper was 1-2 for 17 yards. Those 17 yards came on a pass to Michael Reed, who has stepped up as a vocal leader of the offense.

"It's our job as an offense to step up and I have taken it upon myself to step up and be a vocal leader of the offense," Reed said.

The drive finished on a sour note as wide receiver Daniel Tervort dropped a first down pass, much to the dismay of the #1 offense.

Hall's second possession didn't produce much. The defense was very effective, sacking Hall just before he delivered a strike for a first down. Hall wasn't happy, as he would give the ball back to the 1's. Hall did show some mobility, picking up six yards on a scramble where he felt the pressure and stepped up and eluded the defenders.

Cooper and the 1's took the field determined to show the defense that they wouldn't continue to stop the offense from having success. Jan Jorgensen did get to Cooper for a sack, but showing what might be the best word to describe Cooper, "grit," he came right back and threw a strike to Daniel Tervort for 21 yards, setting up an Unga touchdown. The PAT was blocked by Chris Bolden, who was able to break through the offensive line. Cooper is looking like he is getting more confident and getting the feel to the offense and he confirmed that.

"I feel like each day I'm gaining more confidence," Cooper said. "With every rep I take I see myself getting better."

In the spirit of the QB competition, Hall showed that he wasn't going to be outdone, making quick work of the defense. Hall went 2-2 for 17 yards, hitting Tyler Kozlowski for nine yards and Ryan Folsom for an eight yard touchdown. Hall once again showed mobility, picking up a first down on what seemed to be a designed running play. Max Hall recognizes the good that has come due to the competition for the starting position.

"You want to make every single play, so it puts pressure on you, but I think it's good," Hall said.

Cooper seemed motivated to answer the bell after Hall had a sharp possession. Copper was 2-2 for 24 yards, including the highlight of the day as tight end Dennis Pitta made an outstanding diving catch for a first down. Cooper later hooked up with Reed for the touchdown.

Hall came back looking to keep the momentum of the offense going, but the defense made sure it wouldn't happen. The first pass of the possession was batted down at the line of scrimmage by Romney Fuga. Hall went 1-3 for five yards on the drive. The toughest pill to swallow all day for Hall may have been when, while avoiding pressure, he put a pass on the mark to Zed Mendenhall, only for it to be dropped.

The defense built on the stop by intercepting Cooper. Bolden read the play and was in perfect position to make the interception.

"I knew he was looking for Mike [Reed]," Bolden said. "I guess I stepped right where he thought Mike would be."

Bolden had a solid day on the defensive side of the ball and continues to have a solid spring.

On the final set of the day Ryan Folsom continued to be the target of choice for Hall. Folsom had two receptions for eight yards. But the drive and the day ended on a sour note for the offense with a dropped pass by Tervort and a missed field goal by Mitch Payne.

However, all in all, both the offense and defense continue to be optimistic on what has been accomplished thus far in spring practices.

Now you can hear BYU outside linebacker Chris Bolden, QB Cade Cooper and WR Michael Reed talk about today's scrimmage and their personal performances on the day below.

Chris Bolden:

Michael Reed:

Cade Cooper:

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