The Brigham Young Cougars’ spring football practices are half over. Time for a mid-term progress report.
1. Tick for Tack. The offense and defense are matching each other big play for big play. The defense has made several sacks and intercepted a few balls. The offense has four pass completions of 50 yards or more and scored three touchdowns. The competitive balance is good. Neither unit is inferior to the other, which is making it challenging for both. The end result will be both sides of the ball better reaching their potentials.
2. Making up ground. Wide receiver Ross Apo redshirted last season with injuries. That lost time impeded his development on the collegiate level and in the chemistry department with quarterback Jake Heaps. Apo is playing well this spring. He has made several receptions, including a 59-yarder. By the fall, he should be ready to be an integral part of the offense.
3. Position changes. Michael Alisa has moved from linebacker to fullback. Mike Hague has moved from fullback to safety, and lost 45 pounds in the process. Mike Muehlmann has switched from tight end to defensive end. Muehlmann has registered a sack already. Alisa’s move is a good one. BYU has no depth at full back, so he figures to see playing time this year. The competition at safety is probably just as stiff as it is at running back, but at least Hague won't have to deal with any established starters.
4. Full speed ahead. Last year, BYU was replacing six of the front seven on defense and the entire offensive back field and tight end. Naturally, that necessitated the coaches to move a little slower as new players got up to speed. This year, position battles and depth are much more solidified. The coaches realize this and they are conducting practices with more intensity and driving the team full speed ahead to make 2011 the best it can be.
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