Fall Practice: Day 2

After a sluggish start, the offense revved it up and finished out the 11-on-11 drills with two touchdowns. Monday's practice saw the execution get sharper, and the offense aims to improve and tighten up their execution with every day of practice. Monday will be used as merely a benchmark for improvement during tomorrow's practice session.

"We were definitely more sharp today," said receiver Austin Collie. "The routes were crisper, the throws were better, but most of all, the timing just seemed a lot better today."

The 11-on-11 drills started out with a thud, as Max Hall's first pass was picked off by Cougar safety Quinn Gooch.

"I was really mad about that pass," said Hall. "It was just a bad throw, a bad read, and just a bad everything about it. I can't do stuff like that. Sure, we did well the rest of the practice, but man, stuff like that can't happen if we're to be as successful as we can be. It was entirely my fault and I'll work as hard as possible to see that stuff like that doesn't happen out there."

After an interception and a couple of sacks by Chris Bolden and Grant Nelson, respectively, the offense started to hum as Hall led them to two straight 70-yard drives, ending into the endzone each time.

"We got it together," said Hall. "After the interception, I felt we, and myself especially, got going, and the execution was very good from there on out."

Following the Gooch interception, Hall led the offense 70 yards on 6-of-8 passing for 52 yards. Highlights on the drive included two passes to receiver Michael Reed for 18 yards, and two consecutive passes to Matt Allen for 15 yards. Tight end Dennis Pitta also picked up 12 yards on a pass, putting the offense inside the 5 yard line and setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by Fui Vakapuna.

"I think that first interception really motivated Max," noted Collie. "Max is a guy who thrives off emotion, and he was nails for sure following that first interception for the rest of the practice."

The second set of reps saw Hall completing all six of his passes for 51 yards against the second-team defense. Highlights included two passes to tight end Andrew George for 14 yards, another pass to Reed for 13 yards, and a critical third down completion to tight end Vic So'oto for 14 yards. Vakapuna then took the ball into the endzone from six yards out.

"I'm blessed with good receivers and an incredible offensive line," said Hall. "The receivers are all where they should be every time, and it's just up to me to get it to them and settle down. I did that much better today."

The final set of reps saw Hall going 4-for-4 for 35 yards, which included passes to Collie for 14 yards and 8 yards. Defensive lineman Sean Sullivan ended the practice session with a sack. Other sacks on the day were recorded by Brett Denney, Jan Jorgensen, Grant Nelson and Chris Bolden.

Following the practice session, Hall spent about 20 minutes throwing routes to running backs Fui Vakapuna and Harvey Unga.

"That's a huge part of our offense," said Hall regarding the extra time spent with the running backs. "I need to get my timing down really well with those guys since it's such a big part of what we do. Not being able to pass effectively to our running backs will really hurt us as an offense, so I want to make sure we get our timing down."

Overall, the offense was pleased with what they were able to accomplish during Monday's practice, and looks to improve every day with what they're doing on the practice field.

"It's coming together," said Collie. "You could see it today. We got better as an offense, which is what you want to do every day."

Slimming Down

Two players who have come in more trim this fall are receivers Michael Reed and Austin Collie. Both have shed at least 10 pounds to ready themselves better for the coming season.

"I came off my mission fat," said Collie. "I'm losing weight all the time and I've lost about 15 pounds since the spring, which is really helping me. I feel close to where I was athletically as a true freshman; I'm right there."

"I'm a lean, mean machine," said Reed about his own weight loss. "I feel I'm faster now and that I can move better. I think it's definitely helped me so far and will continue to help me throughout the season."

Newbie Watch

-Cornerback G Pittman again showed well during today's practice, knocking down two passes during 7-on-7 drills.

-Receiver Ryan Kessman improved on his performance on Saturday by getting more separation on his routes and making some nice catches.

-Pittman and safety Jordan Pendleton were the first true freshmen off the bench to see time with the third team unit during drills.

Practice Notes

-Linebacker recruit Masi Tuitama was at practice today with his family. Tuitama will be greyshirting this year while taking a couple of classes at BYU before practicing with the team officially come January.

-Manase Tonga joined the team on the practice field, having some nice runs and catches during drills.

-C.J. Santiago is set to start practicing, while receiver Jordan Smith is still awaiting his transcripts so that he is clear to practice.

-The team will go with half-pads tomorrow as they get ready for full-contact practices later this week.

Total Blue Sports Top Stories