Early impressions with football finally returning.
Provo, UT: March 5th kicked off day one of BYU’s spring practices, and it didn’t disappoint. The intensity was palpable inside the Cougar’s indoor practice facility as the offense went head to head with the defense in a 30 minute, rapid-fire series of plays. Newly hired Offensive Coordinator, Jeff Grimes, gave us a peek of his quick paced, motioning offense – a style he says was heavily influenced by his first D1 job at Boise State.
Emotions and tempers were running high during the helmets only scrimmage – at one point both the offensive and defensive sidelines were cleared to break up a scuffle between junior cornerback Trevion Greene, and senior wide receiver Beau Tanner. Honestly, I liked it. In fact, I dare say I loved it. Obviously, in a game setting these players need to keep their cool, but football is an emotional sport. It’s a ‘hit’ or ‘be hit’ environment and there’s nothing wrong with puffing your chest out a bit and having some attitude.
Speaking of emotion, BYU’s defense – specifically the secondary – seemed fired up and ready to go at yesterday’s practice. There’s definitely a few holes that Tuiaki and company are going to have to fill in, but so far it looks like they’re on the right page. I was curious to see how Dayan Ghanwoloku would do after being moved from cornerback over to safety, and I’m happy to say that he looked loose and comfortable in the defensive secondary during yesterday’s practice. Preferred walk-on Grayson Magleby also stood out in his reps at the safety position. His footwork in coverage was a little rusty, but as a former track runner for the Cougars, Magleby can flat out move. Plus at 6’4” 210 pounds, this kid looks like Hercules back there.
What really turned my head though was the overall play at the corner position. Due to a few key injuries, including Austin McChesney, only five players were rotating through at the corner spot on Monday morning. At 6’3”, Trevion Greene has the length and potential to be the shutdown guy that the BYU secondary desperately needs. Quick feet and top end speed are definitely his strengths, but what’s really going to determine his success is his technique to stick a jam and knock a wideout off his route. On the other boundary, senior Michael Shelton saw a good amount of reps at the corner position and really excelled in his press and man coverage abilities. He’s only 5’8”, but his quick hands and feet helped put him in the right position to make a play on the ball multiple times.
There’s still a long road ahead for the Cougars to get where they need to be for this year’s opener at Arizona, but yesterday’s practice was electric. Spring hasn’t quite sprung yet in Provo, but rise and shout Cougar fans – football is back.