Spring Practice Report: Day Five

Keeping up the energy and enthusiasm the team showed forth during the first week of spring practice has very much been a goal of both coaches and players this spring. So following a spirited scrimmage on Friday, how did the team come out Monday as it kicked off the second week of spring practices?

"This team really likes to compete," noted head coach Bronco Mendenhall following Monday's practice session. "They like to work, they like to practice and they're fun to be around. Execution could still improve, but I just like their desire to work."

Indeed, Monday's practice again was a spirited event with coaches installing different sets as they will do consistently as spring practice unfolds. It was the offense that seemed to benefit most from the new sets, as Max Hall went 15-of-16 for 109 yards and a touchdown.

Hall connected with Dennis Pitta from six yards out for the touchdown. Pitta caught four passes for 37 yards. The catch of the day was made by Luke Ashworth, who leaped high for a pass on the sidelines and hauled it in for a 15-yard gain.

Defensive Switches

A couple of notable switches on defense came with Matt Ah You and Shawn Doman replacing both Matt Bauman and Terrance Hooks with the ones, which is something that is likely to occur at intervals during the rest of spring practice. Bauman and Hooks saw every rep with the ones last week, while Doman and Ah You saw their reps with the second-team defense.

In the secondary Brandon Bradley saw reps with the ones at field corner after spending the entire first week playing boundary corner with the first team.

"It gives us a chance to keep adding more depth," said Mendenhall. "Today Brandon Bradley got work at field corner, Steven Thomas stepped in at boundary corner and Garrett Nicholson was able to play a backup role, so it gives us a chance to develop more depth. With four more corners coming in the fall, it allows us a chance to cross-train the guys we do have."

Mendenhall then mentioned that he'd like to set Scott Johnson starting at safety in stone, but it will largely determined by how ready any of the four incoming corners will be this fall when they enter the program. Between the four incoming players, Mendenhall is relatively certain that at least one of them will prove able to man the starting field cornerback spot.

Bradley meanwhile continues to feel more and more adjusted physically from his mission every day he's out there and couldn't really care less where he's playing on the field.

"Oh, man, I feel so much better starting practice this time around than any time since I've been back," said Bradley. "Everything comes faster to me, I'm able to adjust faster and I know where I need to go every time, which makes me a lot better able to make plays."

While Bradley is expected to start as boundary corner this coming year, he's fine wherever they choose to put him.

"Yeah, they just came up to me today and said they wanted me to play field corner and I was like ‘okay,'" related Bradley. "I've played there a bit before, but that was the first time this spring and it felt different, but it's good to learn different positions because you never know what is going to happen."

The big shakeup in the secondary this spring came with last year's starting boundary corner Scott Johnson switching over to free safety. According to Mendenhall, things are going extremely well at safety.

"Scottie is doing great," said Mendenhall. "The communication between him and Andrew Rich is probably the best communication I've had in the secondary since I've been here. It's not to say that they're the best players, but that the communication between Scotty and Andrew Rich is the best it's been, so I'm encouraged by that."

Off the Field

A lot of the news from Monday's practice came from who was watching practice from the sidelines. Recruits present included Joey Owens, Dallas Lloyd, Trevor Brown (who will be playing quarterback for Timpview this coming year), Tannon Pedersen and Ricky Heimuli, among others.

The Cougars-to-be who were present included Richard Wilson, Craig Bills, Peni Maka'afi, Anthony Heimuli, Mike Hague and Robbie Buckner, among others.

Coach Mendenhall actually stopped practice to introduce the Pleasant Grove recruits present Monday to the team, which was a new practice that I've never seen before. Mendenhall mentioned that it was due in part to recruiting expert Tom Lemming holding a recruiting function where they were invited.

Reden Out for the Year

Mendenhall informed the media today that offensive lineman Garrett Reden will be out for the year following a foot injury that just didn't heal properly in the offseason. Doctors determined that Reden should sit out during the coming year, and he'll try for a medical redshirt.

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