Day One of Two-a-Days



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Today was the first day of two-a-days for the Cougars, with a regular-length session in full pads to be followed by a shorter, helmets-only session this afternoon. FYI, on days of two-a-days, I will be attending the morning session only, since it will always be the heavier, fully-padded session.

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Injury notes include another player lost due to season-ending surgery. 3rd string weakside linebacker Jadon Wagner has a Lisfranc injury in his right foot and will be done for the year while he recuperates. He has a redshirt season available. Jadon is the younger brother of former BYU linebacker Aaron Wagner (who is on the injured list with the Toronto Argonauts, if I'm not mistaken).

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This particular Lisfranc injury is not as severe as the one suffered by Chad Lewis and Cade Cooper, but is severe enough to warrant a significant repair job. Without venturing into an area in which I am unqualified to speak, the Lisfranc sprain invoves the central ligament in midfoot that controls stability in the bones of the foot. In Chad's case, the ligament blew and the foot basically "exploded," as I recall Chad telling me. Jadon's injury is such that he was able to put some pressure on the foot the other day and stand on the sidelines, whereas that would not have been possible with Chad. Jadon originally hurt the foot in Spring football.

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Receiver Michael Reed thought he might be able to go today, but his hamstring was still sore enough to cause him to miss another day of practice. Receivers Saia Hafoka (knee) and Ryan Neeley (groin) were also out today, while offensive lineman Matt Reynolds was out with a mild concussion. Linebacker Kelly Bills got his bell rung in the "Cougar" drill and sat out much of practice as a result.

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I shared a brief word with Brenden Gaskins today. What a positive guy! He's getting some soft throws in now with the splint on his injured finger, and he's looking forward to having a new contraption configured next week to allow him to get back to a more full-speed routine. Gaskins is not moping by any means, and he's one of those guys who believes that things happen for a reason. His personal faith also plays a role in his positivity, and I hope things work out for him.

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After a few days of James Lark and Jason Munns taking turns behind Max Hall, Sam Doman got the first crack at second-string QB in "Team" today. Suffice it to say, no one is threatening Gaskins' backup position to this point.

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Today was true freshman WR Jordan Smith's first day in shoulder pads, and he's been solid when given the opportunity to perform (drills, mostly). He's BYU's tallest receiver at 6'4".

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BYU's backfield has a definitive pecking order right now, with Fui (he's a "one name" guy now--like a Brazilian soccer player), Manase Tonga, Harvey Unga, Wayne Latu and Joe Semanoff having earned their status through tenure and past performance (J.J DiLuigi, Isaac Taylor, Ryan Folsom and Ryan Love are used as the perfunctory running backs in the Cougar drill, for example). DiLuigi, for obvious reasons, is expected to push at least a couple of the experienced backs for reps, but moving to the top of the pack will be difficult in a crowded backfield. If you heard Bronco on today's "Daily Download," you know he believes some young players can suffer if given "too much, too soon," so it will be interesting to see what happens with guys like, DiLuigi, Ryan Kessman, and others.

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Bronco referred to last season and the number of freshmen who did see playing time (players like Mike Hague, McKay Jacobson, Romney Fuga, Russell Tialavea, Ian Dulan, Matangi Tonga and Ryan Freeman all come to mind), but it's not everyone who thrives while playing as a rookie. Right now, the only freshmen seeing steady time in the two-deep are LB Grant Nelson (redshirt, return missionary), OL Garrett Reden (redshirt), OL Walter Kahaiali'i (redshirt), OL Nick Alleto (redshirt, return missionary), OL Jason Speredon (redshirt, return missionary), and WR Tyler Kozlowski (redshirt). In other words, not a single true freshman is targeted for major playing time this season. Things can change, but right now, experience and ability to execute are being weighed with an emphasis equal to or greater than that of potential--or in some cases, sheer athleticism.

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