The End is Near...



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Perhaps the biggest news to come out of today's practice came before practice, with word from Bronco that there would not be another scrimmage, and that Thursday's scheduled "transitional" practice has been cancelled. As a result, camp will end with a single practice on Wednesday, and Arizona prep work will begin in earnest on Friday.

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RB Manase Tonga missed the morning session to attend to some issues related to the Honor Code Office's handling of Tonga's offseason legal matters. Tonga is suspended for the Arizona game.

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LB Terrance Hooks was not with the team this morning. It is hoped he will be with the team this afternoon. Hooks is also suspended for the Arizona opener.

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Today is the final day of two-a-days, with this morning's fully-padded practice to be followed by a "helmets only" session in the afternoon.

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PK Mitch Payne missed another day of work today with tendinitis. Punter C.J. Santiago was held out while the school waits out the arrival of documents related to Santiago's graduation from junior college. Backup kicker Brian Smith handled punting and placekicking today.

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The offense failed to get the ball in the end zone in 5 drives during "team," and was also kept out during two simulated overtime sessions. The practice ended when Andre Saulsberry intercepted Brenden Gaskins in the end zone, on a pass intended for Jordan Smith.

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Attendance at the final "open practice" of camp was 680.

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Scouts were on hand from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers. Both teams already have BYU guys on their rosters.

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Others missing in action today:

LB Dan Van Sweden (having a screw removed after previous knee surgery)

LB Austen Jorgensen (bruised sternum)

LB Kelly Bills (concussion)

NT Mo Foketi (sick)

WR Ryan Kessman (sick)

WR Ryan Neeley (groin)

DL Judd Anderton (sprained ankle)

CB Brandon Howard (hamstring)

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WR Austin Collie was back practicing after missing Saturday's scrimmage with a tight hip flexor. He looked just fine.

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The defensive two-deep appears more or less set, with CB Brandon Howard and NT Mo Foketi the only players from the depth chart not present today. Howard is #2 at field corner, and Foketi either #1, #2, or #3 (depending on the day) at nose. In their absence, here's how it looked today:

LE: Ian Dulan (1), Brett Denney (2)

NT: Eathyn Manumaleuna (1), Rick Wolfley (2)

RE: Jan Jorgensen (1), Sean Sullivan (2)

SLB: Bryan Kehl (1), Grant Nelson (2)

MLB: Kelly Poppinga (1), Matt Bauman (2)

BLB: Markell Staffieri (1), Shawn Doman (2)

WLB: David Nixon (1), Chris Bolden (2)

FC: Kayle Buchanan (1), Scott Johnson (2)

Kat: Corby Hodgkiss (1), Jordan Pendleton (2)

Free: Quinn Gooch (1), Kellen Fowler (2)

BC: Ben Criddle (1), Andre Saulsberry (2)

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Bronco indicated today that Denney could also move up outside with Dulan moving inside to nose, depending on need.

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Clarifying some offensive line depth notes from Saturday: there are essentially 8 players seeing regular 1st-team reps in camp (the 5 projected starters, plus Reden, Willing and Sorensen), and while there is a "standard" #2 line of M. Reynolds, Kahaiali'i, Sorensen, Speredon and Alleto (left to right), Reden and Willing would obviously be considered ahead of any of the second-team guards or tackles.

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Having both #1 kickers out recently hasn't helped, but the kicking game in general has been lackluster throughout camp. Bronco says in today's post-practice comments that the punting game's hallmarks will be "consistency and coverage," rather than distance and power. As for placekicking, Payne has been up and down, making and missing in almost equal amounts, and suffering PAT troubles in the first scrimmage. Suffice it to say, kickoffs are not getting into the end zone (although very few kickers will find the end zone consistently this season due to the new NCAA kickoff rules), and 50 yard punts are a rarity. Indeed, I would have to say that of the punts I have observed, a 40-yard average would be considered the norm, with just enough squibs and shanks to cause concern.

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Speaking of the punt game, the three-man "swinging gate" today was comprised of Reden, Speredon and Wolfley (1st unit, left to right), with Richardson, Alleto and Kahaiali'i on the second unit (left to right). With the trio 6 yards in front of the punter, the middle of the three players stands behind the player to his right, perpendicular to the line of scrimmage, then allows the snap to go through to the punter, before "swinging" and closing off the snap gap.

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