Spring Practice Report: Day Seven

Hundreds of high school coaches were on hand as the Cougars practiced on Friday, as they were in town for BYU's coaches clinic. There were an estimated 300 coaches, who hailed from programs in Utah, Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington. What they witnessed was the defense come out on top most of the day until the very end.

When Coach Mendenhall and his program first started hosting coaches clinics, only Utah high school coaches were involved. Though he said they were happy to present to the other coaches at the clinic, there was a conflict because they were speaking to their competitors.

"And so rather than put our own state coaches in that position, we're bringing the best from around the country who are doing fantastic jobs, and all of a sudden Utah high school football is benefitting from all these ideas," said Mendenhall.

Not only are coaches from all around able to learn from and measure themselves up against other programs, but Mendenhall noted that Bingham High School's game last year against Trinity High School at Cowboys Stadium came about thanks to a past coaches clinic.

Mendenhall said that another benefit of the clinics "is the high school coaches that come to present, they have a lot better idea of what a unique and wonderful place BYU is, and all of a sudden they're advocates when they go back home."

Scrimmages

As for the practice itself, Riley Nelson saw the first action in 11-on-11 scrimmages. The team worked on late-game execution, with the offense having limited time to move down the field and score.

Nelson went 3-of-6 on the drive for18 yards. He was able to convert one third down with his legs, and then later converted a fourth down with a 12-yard pass to McKay Jacobson. Nelson also completed short passes to Bryan Kariya and Harvey Unga, with the latter being stopped dead in his tracks almost immediately by Steven Thomas after catching a swing pass.

The drive ended when, with seconds left on the clock, Nelson's Hail Mary was intercepted downfield by Travis Uale.

Later during the practice, James Lark got his shot with the first-team, albeit not in the same late-game situation. He completed his one pass of the drive, a swing pass to Kariya, but Brian Logan made an excellent open-field tackle to limit his yardage. Lark also had two rushes for five yards, but was unable to pick up a first down.

Jake Heaps then took the field but didn't get an opportunity to air it out. Josha Quezada and Malosi Te'o both ran the ball twice, with Te'o fumbling the ball on his second carry. Corby Eason was able to make the recovery.

Nelson later had another series of reps with the first team. His one pass, intended for Unga, was broken up by Matt Putnam. Nelson also had two rushes but did not pick up a first down. He finished the day with 11 yards rushing.

Lark was up next, and completed an 8-yard pass to B.J. Peterson. However, back-to-back sacks doomed the drive. On the first sack, the play got off to a bad start thanks to a low snap. The second sack came by way of Kyle Van Noy rushing from Lark's blind side and coming in untouched.

The practice ended with Heaps' final drive. It got off to a good start on the first play, with Matt Marshall getting a reception and some yards after the catch for a 20-yard gain. Zed Mendenhall then caught a 5-yard pass before getting hit hard by Paul Olsen.

Marshall got in on the action again with an 8-yard reception. Cody Hoffman contributed with a 20-yard reception of his own. Mike Muehlmann caught Heaps' final two passes for a total of 20 yards, the last pass being a touchdown down the seam.

Heaps finished 6-of-10 for 73 yards and one touchdown.


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