BYU 2013 Spring Football: Day One Report
Jake Hatch - March 5th, 2013
Tags: BYU, College, Football, Cougar Sports with Alema Harrington
Cougar fans rejoice! Football is back! Well, spring ball that is. This is the debut post of Jake Hatch’s “Hatch of Knowledge” series. I will be posting (regularly, I hope) news and notes as well as my personal observations from BYU practices and events I attend. Feel free to let me know what you’d like to hear about. You can contact me on twitter @JakeHatch77 or at our show twitter feed @CougarSports960.
Monday was the debut for the revamped BYU offensive coaching staff. Robert Anae had his coaches wearing headsets for communication most of practice. The now famous “pursuit drill” that the BYU defense has been subject to was debuted on the offensive side of the ball. Many of the offensive players commented that it was an eye-opening experience that made them realize how hard the defense had been working. From what I saw today the offense is going to be relatively simplistic but the pace will be a break-neck one. Signals and pictures are going to be the method of communicating play calls it appears, similar to the iffenses of Oregon and Arizona. Coach Anae explains more about that in his interview that you can find linked at the bottom of this article.
The QB depth chart was a major topic of discussion amongst the fans and media alike. On day one it shook out as Taysom Hill running with the ones, followed by Jason Munns with the twos, and then Ammon Olsen running the third team. Freshmen QB’s Tanner Mangum and Billy Green as well as Snow College transfer Christian Stewart are the other quarterbacks in camp this spring. All six quarterbacks got reps and it remains to be seen what the pecking order will be.
Taysom Hill’s health is the biggest question mark and by all accounts, Hill is back. The coaches said today they didn’t expect him to go as hard or get as much work done as he did. Based on my observation, I would surmise that Hill is probably 95% and doesn’t show many, if any, effects of his gruesome knee injury he suffered against Utah State. How much more of a work load he gets will be a story line to pay attention to as spring practices continue the next couple weeks.
The ones on the offensive line for BYU today were Brad Wilcox (LT), Solomone Kafu (LG), Manaaki Vaitai (C), Kyle Johnson (RG) and Michael Yeck (RT). BYU running back duties were handled by Jamaal Williams and Michael Alisa getting seemingly equal reps as the top two backs along with Adam Hine and Paul Lasike getting some work in. Iona Pritchard got a lot of work at FB but it is unclear how much the fullback will be utilized under Coach Anae. The tight ends had reps pretty evenly distributed amongst the corps with Richard Wilson, Kaneakua Friel, Stehly Reden, and Mike Edmunds getting a lot of work.
BYU’s vaunted defense that finished ranked third in the nation looks like it is ready to repeat that performance. The defense was flying around the field with a swagger that tells you they are confident they can reprise their 2012 performance. Kyle Van Noy (WLB), Manoa Pikula (BLB), Uani Unga (MLB), and Alani Fua (SLB) were the starting linebackers while the starting defensive backs were Adam Hogan (BC), Daniel Sorensen (KAT/SS), Mike Hague (FS), and Jordan Johnson (FC). The defensive line was manned by converted tight end Austin Holt at left end, Marques Johnson at nose tackle, and Remington Peck at right end.
The highlight reel for day one was slim but the defensive play of the day was an interception of Ammon Olsen by junior cornerback Cameron Comer which probably would have been a “Pick-Six” in a live situation. The offensive highlight was a 50 yard touchdown reception by Ross Apo thrown by Taysom Hill.
A few players have made position changes this off season. Previously noted was Austin Holt who is making the shift from tight end to defensive end. Fellow former tight end Darin Tuttle is also working out as a defensive end. Former WR Jordan Smith is also now on defense, working out as a safety. Tui Crichton who was shifted to the offensive line late last season will stay there and not shift back over the defensive line. He is working out at right guard currently
A lot of talk was focused on the kicking and punting game this off season. BYU coaches expect Justin Sorensen to gain the poise and form he had in high school and hold down the kicking position. Walk-on kicker Tyler Jackson is practicing with the team right now as well. At punter BYU has two walk-ons competing for the position in junior Scott Arellano and sophomore Jordan Miller. It also appears there will be an open try out for someone to replace Reed Hornung at long-snapper. FB Iona Pritchard, OL Chris Hardinger, OL Parker Dawe, LS Devin Brewer, and DL Kevin O’Mary all got work at the position on Monday.
A number of players are sitting out of spring camp, including wide receivers Cody Hoffman (shoulder) and JD Falslev (ankle). Offensive lineman Brock Stringham (back) and Ryker Mathews (hip) are also out for the duration of spring practice. Safety Craig Bills and linebacker Spencer Hadley were at practice but did not practice. No updates were given on their status.
JUCO transfer cornerback Trenton Trammell had gotten rave reviews from teammates and coaches alike for his off season work outs. He was expected to make an immediate impact on the BYU secondary but he went down during individual drills on Monday and sat out the rest of practice with his knee wrapped in ice. BYU officials said doctors will conduct further tests and get an MRI of his knee to evaluate what the injury is exactly. Here’s hoping his injury is relatively minor and he can get back out on the field quickly.
A more complete depth chart for all positions will develop as practices continue. My apologies if you’d like more of the 2-deep but at this point positions and places on the depth chart are quite fluid. Let me know what else you’d like to hear about. Audio links from today’s practice, including Bronco Mendenhall, Robert Anae and others are below: