Spring Practice Report: Day Eight

The team may have had what could be described as a "case of the Mondays," as it came out a bit sluggish during Monday's session. They battled through their struggles, however, and the offense in particular finished strong with two late touchdowns during a blue zone drill.

"They're out to compete," commented head coach Bronco Mendenhall about his team. "They were a bit sluggish in terms of the concentration and the discipline. The emotion kind of overrode that, but they like to play the game."

Halfway into the practice session the coaches interrupted their usual course of action to have the team do up-downs before going forward with their normal set of reps.

"From the offensive perspective, they were jumping offsides," said Mendenhall regarding what led to the up-downs. "They were jumping offsides three, four times and defensively there were five personal fouls, so right now they're learning to balance their emotion with their execution. Sometimes when they're not emotional they come out flat, so right now they're just trying to find that balance."

During 11-on-11 drills both Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps led the offense to touchdowns. Nelson finished the day going 2-of-6 for 10 yards, with Harvey Unga running the ball into the end zone from two yards out to cap off his touchdown drive.

Jake Heaps finished the day going 3-of-8 for 26 yards. Heaps got his touchdown by virtue of a 15-yard toss to Mike Muehlmann across the middle of the field. He had two passes dropped during the drive, but was able to rally the offense in getting a score to cap off practice. His interception came as Jameson Frazier dropped deep into coverage to snag a pass intended for McKay Jacobson.

Spring game is a go, sort of

The team announced Monday that they will be holding a limited spring practice game which will be help on April 10. They will be holding a kid's clinic at noon, which will be conducted by the players. That will be followed up by more of a practice than an actual game, as they're still looking to manage their lack of depth along the offensive line.

"I love the fans to be part of our football program in some capacity," said Mendenhall. "The value of the game itself, I don't think there is any value at least from a football perspective. In terms of appreciating the fans, there is some benefit."

While some would argue that the spring game could go a long way in determining the starting quarterback, Mendenhall emphatically disagreed with that notion. He informed the media that the way they structure practice helps them do that as much as any spring game, and that one more practice wouldn't do much in his mind to help make a final determination. He also indicated that the final decision likely won't be made until the end of fall camp.

Missing Faces

Some faces were missing from Monday's practice session, including Stephen Covey, Robbie Buckner and Kyle Van Noy. While Buckner's absence was merely due to having to take a test, Covey's and Van Noy's absences were a bit more complicated.

"Kyle Van Noy has a violation of a team rule that he needs to learn and understand," explained Mendenhall. "He'll be gone until he understands that perfectly and then he'll be back. It may take one day or two days until he comes back, but he's doing some community service to help him understand better."

Covey is out with a bad back, which will in fact spell the end of his career. Mendenhall mentioned that he is done with football.

Practice Notes

-With Brandon Bradley, Brian Logan and Robbie Buckner all being held out of 11-on-11 drills, Lee Aguirre played with the ones at field corner while Corby Eason assumed his role at boundary.

-The reps at center were split fairly evenly between Ryan Freeman, Braden Hansen and Terence Brown, as Coach Weber continues to look for his best option at the position.

-Both Max Hall and Dennis Pitta were in attendance, along with signees Bryan Sampson and Bronson Kaufusi.


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