Fall Practice Report: Day 4

The team practiced again in shells on the fourth day of fall camp, and for the most part the defense responded and held the offense in check.

Players Take the Field

-It's really good to see Jordan Atkinson out there again, as he's someone who could really help out with the experience and depth issues at linebacker. He played inside linebacker when he first got to BYU last season, but was switched outside early on during fall camp.

-I do believe there is still an outside chance that Atkinson gets switched back to inside linebacker should the freshmen like Zac Stout and Austen Jorgensen rise to the challenge. On the outside, he presents a Coleby Clawson-like presence with his physical play, which will benefit the Will position.

-The tight end position will be one that will really heat up here in the coming weeks. Right now it's Mike Muehlmann - who I believe has separated himself a bit from Devin Mahina so far in camp - that would be the starter.

-There are, however, some other intriguing options. There's Richard Wilson, who has the best speed and lateral quickness but lacks the traditional size of a tight end. Then there's also Austin Holt, who really looks good coming off of his mission and could be breaking the two-deep very easily this season.

-The guy that no one talks about at tight end, but who I believe is a real candidate to break the two-deep is Marcus Mathews. His experience is at wideout, and that has helped him learn to run great routes, which will help him as he looks to win one of the top tight end spots in the rotation.

-Drew Phillips still hasn't been cleared, which is incredibly frustrating. I got to know Phillips very well during the recruiting process and I know how excited he was to contribute early, so hopefully things get resolved on that end.

-Phillips is one of the more intriguing true freshmen, as he brings a unique element to the running backs with his speed. He's someone coaches could have done a lot with in other roles as well, and hopefully they'll have that chance with him here soon.

Blue zone Drills

-Jake Heaps got the first set of reps with the first-team offense going against the first-team defense. He completed a 14-yard pass to Luke Ashworth and completed the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Zeke Mendenhall. J.J. Di Luigi had a 5-yard run during the set.

-Riley Nelson made quick work of the second-team defense, directing the second-team offense to a one-play drive when he hit Ross Apo with a 20-yard touchdown pass.

-Nelson then got another set with the first-team offense going against the second-team defense. He went 1-of-2 for 6 yards with his lone completion going to Di Luigi. O'Neill Chambers almost made a great leaping catch near the end zone, tipping an under-thrown ball to himself over the defender.

-Heaps then directed the threes on offense against the ones on defense and finished 0-of-3. His first pass would have been a 17-yard gainer save for Rhen Brown dropping the ball. The second pass was a busted screen which saw Heaps throwing an intentional incompletion. His third attempt was almost caught by Apo on third down, but the ball was slightly overthrown, leading Apo to dive for the football on an out pattern.

-It's starting to don on this observer that Apo has been open quite a bit during this first week of practices.

Final Team Drills

-Riley Nelson got the first set of reps with the first-team offense going against the first-team defense. The drive ended with him throwing one incomplete pass on what first appeared to be a spectacular leaping grab by Zed Mendenhall.

-James Lark got the next set of reps leading the twos on offense against the twos on defense. He went 3-of-6 for 47 yards, with David Foote capping off the set with a 7-yard touchdown run. Lark's best pass may have been a 33-yard toss to Rhen Brown on a sideline route.

-Jake Heaps then got the next set of reps with the first-team offense going against the threes on defense. Heaps finished going 3-of-5 for 36 yards, with two passes Spencer Hafoka and his last completion going to J.J. Di Luigi for 10 yards.

-The first-team defense entered the set during the last snap, which was a 15-yard touchdown run by Bryan Kariya. The extra point was blocked by Jameson Frazier.

-Nelson got the final set of reps with the twos on offense going against the ones on defense and wasn't able to throw a pass due to Kyle Van Noy making a tackle-for-a-loss, which was followed up by a sack recorded by Thomas Bryson.

-Zac Stout, Collin Keoshian, Sae Tautu, Jordan Johnson and Kori Gaines all saw a significant amount of reps with the third-team defense.

-Alani Fua saw action playing the Will linebacker spot with the second-team defense. Van Noy saw almost exclusive reps with the first-team defense playing the Sam linebacker position.

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