PROVO — The Cougars kicked off their fall practice session with a lot of enthusiasm and some surprising variations with how they practice. In covering practices for years, you get used to how BYU does things and when it does those things during every practice session.
Today Coach Bronco Mendenhall changed things up and it was well-received by the players.
“We did a lot more technique work and a lot of stretching during practice — more than we’ve done in past years,” said linebacker Spencer Hadley. “It’s good because it’s a continuation of how we trained in the offseason and we wanted to carry that over to our practice sessions. We changed our offseason workouts and we feel better going into this seaosn — at least I do — than we have for a while.”
It’s said every year, but players assured the media that this offseason saw an increase in intensity and player participation. According to Hadley the offseason work bled into a relatively sharp first practice session.
“It wasn’t really a surprise because I know the work we’ve put in,” said Hadley. “We’re obviously no where near where we need to be, but the new guys really put in the work and it was exciting to be out there. We’ve all waited for this for a long time.”
The theme this year is “Every day is gameday” which simply means to bring the intensity up with every practice session.
“We were playing Washington State today — that’s the attitude we had and what we’re going to have every day until we actually play them,” said Hadley. “You don’t necessarily beat an opponent just on the day that you play them, but you beat them in the summer, in every practice and with every film session — everything that builds up to when you actually play.”
-Riley Nelson unofficially went 5-10 for 33 yards in quick-whistled team drills. James Lark went 2-2 for 16 yards with Jason Munns throwing both of his passes incomplete.
-The first-team offensive line going from left tackle to right consisted of Ryker Mathews, Solomone Kafu, Blair Tushaus, Brock Stringham and Braden Brown. The second group consisted of Michael Yeck, Braden Hansen, Famika Anae, Manaaki Vaitai and Ryan Freeman. This obviously isn’t a depth chart, but just how they lined up during the first practice.
-Dylan Collie looked very polished for a true freshman, running precise routes and catching every ball thrown at him. He’s a Collie.
-It’s only one day, but Jamaal Williams has good size and noticeable burst through the line. He looks to have a lot of upside.
-Alex Kuresa has been switched to wide receiver
-Max Hall is in school finishing his degree and will work as a student assistant this season.
-The play of the day was Nelson completing a 50 yard touchdown pass to Dallin Cutler during 7-on-7 drills.