Spring Practice Report: Day Nine

During spring practice sessions in recent years, the defensive end and nose tackle positions have been very thin in regards to depth and experience. With three able options at nose tackle along with three other very experienced options at defensive end, the Cougars are looking good along the defensive front.

"We're looking really good with all the guys we have with experience this spring," said defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen. "We have me, Ian [Dulan], [and] Brett [Denney] all with a lot of experience, so we should be really good at defensive end for not only this coming year, but for the year after that."

Indeed, with a host of marginally experienced players battling it out at most other positions on defense, one could look at the defensive end position as being the strength of the defense for this coming season.

"Yeah, I guess you could say that," responded Jorgensen when asked if defensive end was the strength of the defense. "We should be very strong there. We're going to be at least as good as last year and should be a lot better with all the guys we have returning."

Extra Help

While Jorgensen, Dulan and Denney are established in the defensive end rotation, there are others vying for the last spot on the two-deep roster. Assuming the position as the primary backup to Jorgensen so far this spring is converted tight end Steve Fendry.

Fendry spent all of last season battling at the defensive end position, trying to learn all the nuances involved so he could compete this spring for a spot in the rotation. Having never played the position until last season, Fendry was very raw.

"I had no idea how to play the position coming in last season," said Fendry. "All I played was tight end before, but I feel I made a lot of progress. Coach Kaufusi is a great coach who knows his stuff. Just listening to what he teaches and then applying it has really helped."

Fendry transferred to BYU from Colorado last season and had to sit out a year due to transfer rules. Now that he's here at BYU, Fendry is happy with where he is at athletically and spiritually.

"I transferred from Colorado because it really didn't fit with my lifestyle being there," said Fendry. "BYU much better fits my lifestyle. I'm also happy with how I've progressed, but I have a long way to go until I'm able to help them on the football field."

Fendry is currently playing behind Mountain West Conference sack leader Jan Jorgensen, and is readily taking notes while listening to every bit of advice thrown his way.

"Jan is very liberal in giving advice to me, which I appreciate," said Fendry. "He's obviously very good and he's a leader on the team, so I'm thankful for all the advice that he gives me."

"Yeah, I guess I am pretty liberal in my advice-giving," said Jorgensen with a laugh. "I try to help out wherever I can and hopefully I'm helping Steven and the rest of the young guys out there."

Having never played the position until last fall, Fendry's learning curve is relatively steep, but he's coming along as he looks to contribute on the field this year.

"He's coming along well," said defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi about Fendry. "He still has a lot to learn, but I like his progress and I like how he works. He's playing behind Jan, which should help him a lot in seeing how Jan does things."

Playing Fast

Chief among Jorgensen's advice to Fendry and the younger defensive ends is simply to play fast. As young guys try to figure things out, Jorgensen has noticed that they tend to play too slow thanks to being unsure about what exactly to do in certain situations.

"The new guys always play a bit too slow it seems," noted Jorgensen. "I know I struggled with the same thing when I was starting out, so I'm always telling the younger guys to play faster. It's tough when you're not sure of exactly what you do, but no matter if you're doing the right things, if you play too slow you're not going to be effective."

Jorgensen also feels strongly that every defensive end needs to figure out what works best for them and then go with that so as to become more effective in their pass rushes and how they stop the run.

"There are obviously fundamental things that every defensive linemen needs to learn and be good at, but we all have different strengths and can use things and figure out what works best for us personally," explained Jorgensen. "I try and teach the new guys what works best for me, but everyone is different. Everyone sets up their offensive linemen differently, and Steve and the rest of them just need to figure out what works best for them."

Hall Back on Track

After what could be termed as a volatile practice session on Friday for the offense, quarterback Max Hall led a very composed unit to a touchdown during the single set of reps taken by the first-team offense during 11-on-11 drills.

Hall went 6-for-6 for 49 yards during the set, which culminated in a touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Pitta. The offense looked as smooth as they have all spring, and looked very much removed from the mistake-ridden practice they had on Friday.

"All Friday showed is that as good as we think we might be … we still have a lot of work to do," said Hall. "When stuff doesn't go our way we have to find a way to overcome it and pull through it, so we definitely have some stuff we need to work on."

Notes

-Recruits Mike Edmunds and Richard Wilson were in attendance on Monday. Wilson received an official offer from BYU on Monday, and TBS will follow up on that.

-Bingham signees Austin Holt and Justin Sorensen were also at practice, along with soon-to-be walk-on Greg Unga.

-Another walk-on in attendance was quarterback Austin Allred from Royal City, Washington. Allred is a 6-foot, 185-pound quarterback prospect that competed in high school against Spencer Hadley.

-Luke Ashworth returned to the practice field following his minor back injury.

-Neither Brandon Bradley nor G Pittman practiced on Monday.


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