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Monday, August 13, 2012

BYU Fall Camp: Week 2 Recap

The second week of fall football camp is in the books for the Brigham Young Cougars. Week two was highlighted by the first team scrimmage and the return of wide receiver Cody Hoffman and safety Joe Sampson. Most of the news out of camp has been good, but the kicking game became an area of concern this week.


Big Days
The week got started with quarterback Riley Nelson completing 100 percent of his passes (8 of 8) for 108 yards and one touchdown in the full team session. To keep things in perspective, the team was equipped with just helmets that day.

Linebacker Spencer Hadley represented the defense on Wednesday. He intercepted one pass and was credited with two sacks.

Running back Adam Hine was a highly touted recruit when he committed several years ago. He had been overshadowed by incoming freshman Jamaal Williams the first few days of camp, but, on Wednesday, Hine got loose for a 40-yard touchdown run.

After missing four days of practices, including the first two days of this week, Hoffman showed he was still Nelson’s number one target. During Friday’s work on red zone offense, Hoffman caught two touchdown passes.

Kicking Conundrum 
Place kicker Justin Sorensen had an MRI done on his back this week. Team doctors didn’t clear Sorensen to resume a regular practice schedule, but Bronco Mendenhall is optimistic that Sorensen will be kicking in the season opener. Nevertheless, punter Riley Stephenson has started practicing field goals, and so has quarterback Taysom Hill.

I have reservations about Sorensen’s health. All offseason, I shared Mendenhall’s optimism about Sorensen’s readiness for the 2012 season, but the latest reports have me concerned. Even if doctors give Sorensen the green light before the season starts, how ready will Sorensen be? Are touchbacks going to be automatic? Can BYU be confident that Sorensen’s leg will deliver on really long field goals?

I understand, and appreciate, the positive outlook that Mendenhall has and Sorensen’s desire to play, but it doesn’t feel right to play Sorensen this year. It doesn’t seem reasonable that after having back surgery and missing much of fall camp Sorensen will come out of the gates better than he has ever been in a Cougar uniform. He was a kicking phenomenon in high school, and that is what he was recruited to do.

Going into his junior year that has yet to happen, and given this timeline, the odds seem high he won’t fully regain his abilities until a significant portion of the season is over. That would make this a wasted year. He would have only one year of eligibility left to try and salvage his career. Why not redshirt Sorensen to ensure that this back situation is fully behind him, and then have two seasons of incredible kicking?

Scrimmage Notes 
The first team scrimmage was on Thursday. Most starters were held out or had their reps severely limited. Quarterback Riley Nelson played three series and went 6 of 10 for 76 yards and one TD.

Taysom Hill had a nice showing completing four of seven passes for 85 yards and one touchdown to Terenn Houk. Houk caught two passes on the day (both from Hill) for 66 yards.  “Hill to Houk” is something I can get used to hearing/seeing.

Jason Munns was the other quarterback who stood out. Munns was 3 of 4 passing for 28 yards and drove the team to a field goal. He has struggled to take advantage of the little opportunities that have come his way the last two years. It was good to see him have some success.

In total, the quarterbacks completed 22 passes. Just two went to tight ends. Austin Holt hauled in a 16 yarder, and Richard Wilson had one for seven yards.

The running back corps had a good day. They combined for 22 carries and 125 yards. Jamaal Williams had the best statistical day (5 carries, 34 yards, TD), but none of the running backs averaged less than five yards per carry.

The defense registered six “sacks.”

Multi-Dimensional Players  
Coaches are experimenting with expanded roles for JD Falslev and Alex Kuresa. In addition to playing wide receiver and special teams, they are getting carries out of the backfield. Multi-dimensional, utility type players are rare. Most teams don’t even have one. If Falslev and Kuresa prove to be able to do some damage in this capacity, then there doesn’t seem to be a need to use Taysom Hill in situational roles. Maybe the coaches still find it sage to not redshirt Hill, but it should be for other reasons than to put him in the game for situational plays. The latest word from Mendenhall on Hill redshirting made it sound like the that decision is still up in the air. 

MIA 
Several players missed one or more practices this week. Some of the more notable were: Marcus Mathews (sick), Cody Hoffman, Joe Sampson, Zac Stout, and many projected starters on the offensive line. All incoming freshmen missed Monday and Wednesday with school conflicts.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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