Day 4 wrapped up and while the offense continued to push the defense around, there were a few individuals who made plays on the defensive side of the ball:
Playmakers in the Secondary
BYU graduated 3/4 primary starters from the secondary last year and there’s been a lot of concern about how the next guys will step up. So far a handful of guys have impressed.
As has been mentioned several times, Jordan Preator and Mike Davis have flip flopped sides of the field through the first four days of fall camp and the change has been noticeable so far. During today’s interviews, Bronco was asked about what he thought about Preator’s performance thus far and he said, “I’m impressed with the steps Preator has taken everyday but even more so with Mike Davis. Michael Shelton has performed well too.”
Mike Davis hasn’t gotten a lot of recognition through the first four days, but he has been able to perform well at boundary corner. Davis’ length and athleticism is ideal for a player that would play field corner on BYU’s defense but he has been able to use these skills at boundary and provide press coverage on a talented core of wide receivers. Davis has also been very physical in his play and able to lock down his side of the field. Ben Criddle provided some analysis on Davis and said, “He is able to lock down his side of the field while showing an impressive aptitude for coming off the edge and getting after the QB on corner blitzes.”
Last year, the Cougars struggled in pressuring the QB and getting into the backfield. Over the last two days Kesni Tausinga has stood out as a playmaker at nose tackle. Over the last two days he’s had four sacks and a forced fumble during 11-on-11 drills. Bronco said that on the edge he has two playmakers who have separated themselves, “Bronson is a strong pass rusher, as well as Sione Takitaki. I would say they are 1 and 2. Bronson is more natural with his hand down, especially in our scheme. He looks more at home there.”
The defense needs to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks in order to be successful this year. It’s encouraging to see a few different guys making plays on the defensive side of the ball. BYU has the athletes available to do so, but it remains to be seen if they can produce an effective pass rush against a very difficult schedule.
Colby Jorgensen Undergoes Surgery
As reported by Jared Lloyd of the Daily Herald, Colby Jorgensen fractured his neck during yesterday’s practice and underwent surgery to have two rods inserted in his neck. Bronco Mendenhall said of the situation, “[As a coach] it’s really hard. In the 10 or 11 years I’ve been in the position I’m much more sensitive to this situation. It’s hard on the team and hard on the staff. No one understood the severity until later that night.”
With the severity of the injury, we here at ESPN 960 want to let the Jorgensen family know that they are in our thoughts and we wish Colby a speedy recovery.
Jay Drew from the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Sione Takitaki has been charged for two counts of misdemeanor theft. Drew said, “Campus police allege that Takitaki stole apparel from the school’s soccer and track teams last month while he worked on the custodial staff at Smith Fieldhouse. Takitaki, from Fontana, Calif., is charged with two counts of misdemeanor theft for incidents that occurred on July 10 and July 21, BYU Police Lt. Arnold Lemmon said.”
Takitaki is scheduled for arraignment on August 27th to answer the charges. He has participated in all four practices of fall camp thus far and will be suspended for the season opener against Nebraska.
There was some change-up in rotations on the defensive side of the ball. Manoa Pikula and Jherremya Leuta-Douyere rotated in with the first team on defense at MLB. Harvey Langi and Adam Pulispher rotated in with the second team. Kesni Tausinga also got a couple of series with the first team DL consisting of Bronson Kaufusi and Logan Taele.
On offense, Rickey Shumway impressed hauling in two touchdown catches from Tanner Mangum and Beau Hoge.
At the back up center position, miscues have continued. Between Parker Dawe and Jacob Jimenez there were four snaps that were mishandled. Bronco said that play at this position needs to improve.
Jonny Linehan was very consistent punting the football while Trevor Almond boomed a 70+ yard punt.
Players working on returning punts and kicks included: Mitchell Juergens, Garrett Juergens, Trey Dye, Eric Takenaka, and Adam Hine.
Devon Blackmon was late to practice and struggled catching the ball with three combined drops during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work.
The play of the day was a 72 yd TD pass from Taysom Hill to Mitchell Juergens. Chris Badger was rolled up in coverage and left his feet attempting a PBU on the ball. There was no help over the top and Juergens walked into the end zone.
The following players were either held out of practice or left early:
DB Micah Hannemann (Knee Contusion)
WR Mitch Mathews (Hernia)
WR Jackson Kaka (Elbow)
LB Colby Jorgensen (Fractured Neck)
LB Austin Heder (Undisclosed)
DB Garret Juergens (Fractured Clavical)