From the Gridiron to the Hardwoods



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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The start of this blog was written from inside the Smith Fieldhouse, where the BYU Men's Basketball team is working out in preparation for its upcoming trip to France. After attending football practice in the heat, it was nice to venture inside and cool off with the hoopsters--who, by the way, look good. More on the Cougar basketball team below...

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First of all, the word is that backup QB Brenden Gaskins will not require surgery on his fractured finger. The training staff will outfit him with a splint that hopefully allows a throwing motion and proper fingertip sensitivity, while keeping the finger extended, thus allowing the injury to heal properly. Assuming no setbacks and sucessful implementation of the splint, Gaskins could be throwing by next week.

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Receiver Michael Reed missed the majority of practice nursing a sore hamstring. Receiver Bryce Mahuika sat out late--the training staff said they weren't holding him out. 3rd string linebacker Jaden Wagner hurt his right foot and had to leave practice--worth keeping an eye on, but nothing major. Tight end Vic So'oto was sent home sick.

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One of my favorite drills to watch is the "wideout v. corner" 1-on-1 drill. Simply put, the receiver lines up outside, runs his predetermined route and tries to beat the defender for the catch. The QB is almost always accurate, so it makes for some interesting matchups. Today, Bryce Mahuika made a phenomenal stop-and-go that had the DB biting hard, and Bryce followed that up with a series of well-run routes and receptions, earning kudos from Coach Higgins. Freshman Ryan Kessman made a leaping grab over Brandon Howard, and once again, Tyler Kozlowski laid out for a great catch--no surprise he has earned himself some time with the "ones" while Reed leaves some reps on the table. Austin Collie was his usual solid-to-spectacular self in the 1-on-1 drill.

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CJ Santiago is getting punts about 50 yards downfield on his better kicks, but has fluttered a few and will no doubt get more comfortable as camp progresses. Bronco likes what he has seen so far from CJ.

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As heard in the "Daily Download," Max Hall led an impressive drive in the first drive of "team" today, but after a third down completion very near the 1st down marker at the 5-yard line, Bronco called off the series and sent the "twos" the other way. Max was not pleased--he wanted to get the 1st string offense into the end zone (even though he says the offense would "count that one" as a score). Bronco's view: without full pads, goal line offense and defense can get a little too physical for the protection offered, so that's that--next series. And indeed, after coming up short on the next couple of drives, Hall found Pitta for a nifty TD to end the session.

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Running backs coach Lance Reynolds has his left foot in a walking boot while he recovers from an injury. As I was talking to him pre-practice, his "ride" arrived (an equipment cart). But once practice starts, "Hop-along" is all business--he walks everywhere. After practice, former BYU lineman Lance Reynolds, Jr. was seen hanging out with brothers and current Cougars Dallas and Matt. Houston Reynolds is in the MTC, preparing to depart for Frankfurt later this month.

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Reminder: e-mail your "Cougar Daily Download" Question of the Day for a player or coach to: gwrubell@ksl.com. On tomorrow's "Download," interviews with Dallas Reynolds and David Nixon, plus Bronco's daily practice summary and more.

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Recruiting services were a little premature, but Logan High product Charles Abouo has now (officially) verbally committed to Dave Rose and the Cougars for 2008. The potential is there for Abouo to be a Mike Hall-like player, but he is raw and will need plenty of work.

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The basketball team looks good. Up front, Chris Miles has done very well, considering he just got back from his mission to Portland a week ago. He shows high-post touch that could make him a useful "4" man for the Cougars and allow Jonathan Tavernari to play the wing on the team's tour of France. Walk-on Gavin McGregor will see plenty of time in the post and could be classified a "pleasant surprise" by observers. Trent Plaisted, meantime, is working on his midrange shot and facing the basket to allow him some time at the "4." Forward/post Vuk Ivanovic remains with the Serbian National team and will not be with the Cougars in France. In the backcourt, Cummard and Burgess will join JT on the wing, with Ben Murdock and walk-on Chase Ulicny handling the point. Lee looks like Lee--fiery, all over the place, making plays and making shots. Sam needs this trip to augment his confidence and give him shot-making opportunities, while Murdock gets a great chance to show the coaches he can run this team. I look forward to the reports from France.

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Thank you for all of the positive feedback on the "DD" and the new blog. I am continually awed by the passion and fervor of the BYU fan base, and it's great to know you guys and girls are out there listening and reading. I really enjoy the work, and I hope it comes through in the reports I'm putting together.

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