Offense gets back on track in Cougars’ 2nd scrimmage

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PROVO — BYU head coach Kalani Sitake admitted his offensive players struggled in the team’s first scrimmage last Saturday.

Perhaps it’s to be expected, with a new scheme under brand-new offensive coordinator Ty Detmer.

But so too, then, was the team’s response Thursday.

The offense got back on track in the Cougars’ second scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium, which was closed to the media. Though significant starters like linebacker Fred Warner and offensive lineman Tuni Kanuch sat out portions of the workout, the scales seemed to tip back in the offense’s favor.

“They are starting to jell together, and we’ve had a lot of install,” Sitake said. “They are settling more, our quarterbacks are doing a good job of seeing the field, and our run game is doing a good job.

“We were able to stay more consistent today.”

Even the defense admits the offense won the day.

“The offense looked like they have figured things out more today,” said safety Micah Hannemann, though he admitted most of the first-string linebackers sat out the 7-on-7 drill. “The defense was a little slower.”

Bringing up younger players in practice is fine. But Hannemann said the purpose of the defense will be to play fast in the 2016 season.

Photo: Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo
Photo: Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo

“We need to dial in on our technique,” he said. “Our coverages and plays are similar, and they want us to know exactly what we are doing and we can play faster. If everyone gets their technique down, then things will be good.”

There was no update on the battle at quarterback, which seems like less of a battle and more a friendly competition within the offense’s frame of reference. Sitake reiterated he hopes to announce a starter at that position sooner rather than later, and hinted most of the spots on the two-deep depth chart could be settled by early next week.

For fifth-year senior Taysom Hill and incumbent sophomore Tanner Mangum, the focus hasn’t been on a position competition, but learning the new offense and terminology.

To that end, both quarterbacks showed signs of improvement.

“I was really happy with it,” Hill said of the offense. “There are always things to clean up, but overall there were enough guys doing their assignments that we could move the ball and put some points on the board.

“We are definitely getting better. Guys understand their roles and assignments a lot better. Execution was a lot better.”

Even as he playfully vacillated between “Taysom and Tanner and Tanner and Taysom” for the No. 1 signal caller job, Sitake doesn’t think it does anyone much good to conceal the identity of the two-deep ahead of the team’s Sept. 3 opener against Arizona.

“For us, it will be beneficial to have a starting quarterback announced as soon as we can,” Sitake added. “Hopefully that gets done in a little bit.”

For now, there just really hasn’t been enough separation to make a final call. As the Cougars approach the final week of fall camp before initializing game prep against the Wildcats, the competition will likely ramp up — with the offense at both players’ fingertips.

“Taysom and I both had long drives going the length of the field,” Mangum said. “It’s always good to make sure we are putting points on the board. That was good for us … to get used to the sustained drives in practice.”


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Sean Walker


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