PROVO – It was a hot summer evening to open Camp Kalani 2017, but nobody was complaining because football season was officially back.
Watching the 30-minute observation session at the end of practice, here are three observations I took away from day one.
1. Tanner Mangum is in better shape than people think
Being the starting quarterback at BYU will always generate chatter from locals and Cougar fans around the country online. But there was a lot of discussion this off-season about Mangum’s shape and how prepared he was for this season. After one fall camp practice, those concerns from fans can be put to rest. Mangum looked quicker in rollouts and was throwing tight spirals while on the run. Mangum looked very good and you can already tell he feels more comfortable in this offense than he did last spring.
Now the guys behind Mangum, that’s a story for another day.
2. Ula Tolutau showed flashes of his potential
The running back position is up for grabs as they try to replace the all-time leading rusher in school history Jamaal Williams.
No one stepped in spring practices, but after day one of fall camp, Ula Tolutau appeared to have a quicker burst out of the backfield than he did four months ago. Tolutau has the highest potential of these backs. This staff is expecting him to be their back of the future in the same breath as Harvey Unga, he showed those flashes with a handful of good runs in the opening session.
3. Beefcastles everywhere you look
Kalani Sitake said at media day that he likes his linemen to be huge, well he has that in 2017. Strength and conditioning coach Nu’u Tafisi has put in the work with the entire program, but especially the trenches. Tejan Koroma is in the best shape of his life, Sione Takitaki has added more muscle but still remains at his playing weight of two years ago at 245.
For the best discussion and analysis of BYU football fall camp, keep it locked to Cougar Sports with Ben Criddle weekdays from 3-7 pm here on ESPN 960!
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