G-Notes: 8/7/08

Practice is heating up as the team draws closer to its opening date with Northern Iowa at LaVell Edwards Stadium. So what has been prominent in G-man's notes since the last installment? Matt Reynolds, good-looking unknowns at wideout and issues at center, among other things.

Quarterback

Something that has gone under the radar up to this point are the possible exchange issues that might crop up as Max Hall learns to take snaps from Dallas Reynolds, R.J. Willing or whoever else will be manning the center spot this season. Snapping the football isn't something you want to note, but if exchanges aren't good it can be a drive killer and possibly turn over the football.

While the snaps to Hall haven't been horrendous, there have been a few fumbled snaps during practice. Hall said Thursday that it wasn't an easy thing for a quarterback to adjust to a new center.

"It's a big difference," said Hall. "You know, Dallas and R.J. are rotating right now and they're learning. They're learning how to make calls and snap the ball, and that is part of what fall camp is for. I've been happy with their progress and especially the progress Dallas has made. Hopefully we perfect it in the next few weeks and we know who the main guy is so I can get used to him."

Every day during practice Hall has spent more time than usual taking snaps, primarily with Reynolds and Willing. We'll be monitoring how the snaps are going, and it just may become something not worth noting as the snaps become more and more consistent with every day.

"It's not a huge problem right now, but it's an area where you want perfection," said Hall. "You don't want to have a single play out there end because of a bad snap, because little mistakes like that can kill you as an offense. I'm confident that it won't be an issue this fall."

Running Back

The forgotten player in the mix at fullback is Isaac Taylor, but after watching practice Thursday it's easy to note that Taylor is remaining a good option at fullback along with Fui Vakapuna and Kelly Bills. Now that the team will be practicing with full pads it may become easier to designate who is getting the job done with pass protection and lead blocking, which will ultimately be the biggest factors in deciding who gets most of the reps at fullback.

Both J.J. DiLuigi and Wayne Latu are performing well. Right now DiLuigi is getting more reps than Latu with the 1s on offense, but what Latu is doing better this fall is catching the football. Most practices see Latu catch at least one pass out of the backfield. which will help him earn regular playing time this coming year.

Wide Receiver

Two big bodies at wide receiver that look very good during drills are Jameson Frazier from Alta High School and B.J. Peterson from Brighton High. Both players present big, athletic bodies that move very well through passing drills. Both players are true freshman walk-ons that may earn spots in the rotation in future years.

On the heels of his controversial comments made to ESPN, O'Neill Chambers didn't seem all that affected during the day's practice session. Chambers showed to be very teachable once again, taking constant instruction from Austin Collie and others. Following practice Chambers had a long chat with graduate assistant Micah Alba.

Chambers can play and he came in firmly believing he has what it takes to play sooner rather than later in BYU's system. I can't recall seeing any true freshman getting the reps Chambers has received this early into fall practices since Austin Collie.

Chambers is getting a lot of looks and could very well play a role in this year's offense. Regardless, Chambers is bringing the sort of buzz Collie and McKay Jacobson did as true freshmen. With his comments behind him, look for Chambers to get more and more involved and likely earn a spot in the rotation for the coming season. I'm sold on the kid.

Tight End

Andrew George continues to become more involved, while Dennis Pitta remains as productive as always. There isn't a whole lot to report about the tight end position, as there won't be many surprises there this coming season.

Offensive Line

I'm beginning to wonder if I should replace "offensive line" in this segment with "Matt Reynolds." Indeed, Matt Reynolds is the talk of camp with his play. It's become very apparent that Coach Weber intends to get Matt on the field this year, which precipitated the tinkering at the center position.

Thursday I got to see Matt perform with pads in full-contact drills, and yeah, he's good. I've stated many times that it's oftentimes difficult to gauge just how well an offensive lineman is playing until they start hitting. But after watching Matt Reynolds hit Jan Jorgensen during Thursday's practice, it's easy to note that he's ready to play.

Jan Jorgensen may very well prove to be the toughest competition Matt Reynolds sees all year, and initially Reynolds is holding his own. He doesn't make big mistakes, and he held Jorgensen relatively in check throughout the day's practice, which is no easy task.

Defensive Line

Russell Tialavea showed two times Thursday why he's going to make such a huge impact this coming year. It seemed Tialavea penetrated the backfield almost as soon as the center snapped the ball to the quarterback, disrupting anything and everything the offense could do.

Brock Richardson has put together a solid week of practice so far. Richardson is backing up Jorgensen at defensive end, and so far he has made his share of plays.

Linebacker

Word is that Matt Bauman will return to practice this coming Monday. What I have noted about Bauman is that he looks to have gained about 10 pounds in the offseason, as has Shawn Doman. This added strength should aid him considerably this year with taking up blockers during running plays.

On the outside Vic So'oto is showing well in defending against the run. I stated this as being the primary concern with So'oto entering fall practices, but so far So'oto is getting it done. What I like best about So'oto so far is the energy he brings to the defense when he's on the field.

Safety

I watched a good portion of practice with the hobbled Chris Warner Thursday, and although he's bummed about not being out there, he was more than willing to let his scholarship go to another player in hopes of making the team better.

Warner raved to me about David Tafuna. According to Warner, Tafuna is the most athletic player BYU has ever had at strong safety. Warner, having played the strong safety position, feels that Tafuna is going to have one of the best years any strong safety at BYU has ever had.

Cornerback

People have been asking me about Scott Johnson since practice started, to which I had to state that I hadn't really noticed him up to this point. Not noticing a cornerback certainly isn't a bad thing, as it usually indicates that he's getting it done in coverage, but Thursday I certainly did notice Johnson as he knocked down two straight passes in coverage to begin 11-on-11 drills.

Bradley meanwhile continued to shine, knocking down a pass of his own in coverage. Bradley thrives in one-on-one situations, which usually come as the offense gets within the 10-yard line. Don't be surprised to see Bradley get all the reps at CB when an opposing offense nears the goal line.

Punter

Enough with the kicking battle between Mitch Payne and Justin Sorensen; it's time to give props to C.J. Santiago. During Thursday's practice session I watched Santiago punt a lot, and what could readily be noted is that he's getting good distance and gets a lot of height on the ball with much greater frequency than he did a year ago.


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