A player from the two-deep made a position switch in this morning's 10am session, an 18-period practice that marks the de facto halfway point of camp, with 11 of the 22 planned planned pre-"Oklahoma" practices now in the books.
Shiloah Te'o had been the second-string Kat safety since the day camp began, but when the players hit the field this morning, Te'o was at Buck linebacker, seeing both second and third-string snaps, along with Jeff Bell, and behind Shawn Doman. Taking Te'os spot withe second-string at Kat was freshman Jray Galea'i.
Bronco Mendenhall says Te'o's shift should not be considered a permanent position change, but rather a way to allow BYU to prepare "nickel" or "dime" package that would give BYU more speed and athleticism on the field. Having said that, Te'o spent the day with the linebackers in positional breakout sessions.
The linebacking corps itself is a revolving door, with various injuries and other absences affecting the daily depth chart. Today, starting strongside linebacker Jordan Pendleton was attending a funeral, so he joined the list of absent linebackers---already out are Terrance Hooks (hamstring), Brandon Ogletree (hip flexor) and Jordan Atkinson (groin)--meaning four linebackers projected for the two-deep were missing today.
Bronco Mendenhall addressed Te'o's position shift and many other items in today's post-practice interview. You can hear the coach's comments by clicking his audio link in the "Cougar Cuts" box to the right.
Today's other post-practice interview is with one of the nicest guys and most-well spoken players on the team, tight end Andrew George.
Bronco also updates the Manase Tonga situation, which is to say he explains that he has no idea if or when Tonga may report to camp.
Tonga watched a portion of today's practice in street clothes.
Reshirt freshman cornerback Robbie Buckner was in uniform today, but was kept out of drills as he makes his way back from a hamstring injury.
Players were in full pads today and practicing in front of 800+ fans, who were present for the second of three "open" practices.
In today's "blue zone" segment of practice, the offense accounted for one touchdown, a pass from Max Hall to Malosi Te'o, who caught the ball in the flat and sauntered into the end zone.
The touchdown came on Hall's second series of "blue zone," and the third and final series overall. The first series ended when Brandon Bradley reached over McKay Jacobson to knock away what would have been a third-down touchdown toss. The ensuing 24-yard field goal was no good by Mitch Payne (wide right).
Brenden Gaskins went three-and-out in the second series, but the special teams unit scored when holder Matt Marshall found Dennis Pitta all alone for a TD on the fake field goal.
In the "Team" session of practice, Max Hall led three offensive series, two of which ended in missed field goals (both wide left, as I recall). That means in today's "live" work, all three field goals attempted were missed.
The field goals were not long ones, either--24 yards, 28 yards, and 33 yards, by my accounting.
After a season in which freshman kicker Justin Sorensen raised expectations for the kicking game, the placekicking situation has been a decided trouble spot in camp, with Bronco acknowledging that it could turn into a competition between the three-year veteran Payne and the return missionary freshman Riley Stephenson.
Stephenson has done a tremendous job in the punt game, but to this point, Payne's placement kicks are not matching Stephenson's punting proficiency.
The "Team" portion of practice included five offensive series overall, and on the one Hall series that did not end in a field goal attempt, he led a smart drive downfield that culminated in a 10-yard catch and run by J.J. DiLuigi.
The other two offensive series were led by Brenden Gaskins (he threw a deep interception to Corby Eason on his first play from scrimmage) and Riley Nelson, who went three-and-out.
DiLuigi is getting lots of work, with Harvey Unga held out of most "live" segments. DiLuigi is being utilized equally as both a runner and pass catcher, and had a handful of nice plays in both areas today.
By the way, Max Hall showed no ill effects of yesterday's finger dislocation. No wrap, no tape, no visible discomfort. Indeed, in yesterday's late afternoon practice (post-injury), he went 11 for 13, for 139 yards and a touchdown in "Team."
WR Stephen Covey suffered what appeared to be a finger dislocation in this morning's practice. He went over to trainer Kevin Morris, who performed the trademark "yank." A moment of searing pain was followed by a return to flexibility. You gotta love sports in moments like this...
Scouts from the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers attended today's practice. A Denver Broncos rep was on hand yesterday.
While Brenden Gaskins continues to take the #2 snaps in "live" segments, Riley Nelson is seeing more second-team reps in "skelly" (6 v. 8) segments.
There was some movement in the second-string offensive line, as noted in the Day 9 depth chart.
(players moving up within the two-deep up from the day before are noted in bold.)
Depth Chart, Day 9:
LT: (Matt Reynolds--injured) Braden Hansen, Terrence Alletto
LG: Marco Thorson (also center), Ryan Freeman (also center)
C: R.J. Willing, Fono Vakalhahi or Houston Reynolds
RG: Terence Brown, Houston Reynolds or Tui Crichton
RT: Nick Alletto, Fono Vakalahi or Ryan Mulitalo
TE: Dennis Pitta, Andrew George, Braden Brown
WR (X): O'Neill Chambers, Spencer Hafoka, Rhen Brown or Cody Hoffman, (Mitch Mathews-injured)
WR (Z): McKay Jacobson, Luke Ashworth, B.J. Peterson or J.D. Falslev or Brett Thompson
WR Notes: Outside receivers are to be able to play both X and Z. While the pattern run will depend on formation and play call, "X" receivers line up left, while "Z" receivers line up right. For example, a receiver could line up as an "X," but then motion could change formation strength and require the "X" to run the "Z" pattern, and vice versa. Basically, however, "X" lines up left and "Z" lines up right.
WR (H): Matt Marshall, Stephen Covey, Parker Mangum
TB: Harvey Unga, J.J. DiLuigi, Malosi Te'o or Mike Hague
FB: (note: Manase Tonga assumes the #1 spot if and when he arrives) Bryan Kariya, Braden Brown (also TE), Anthony Heimuli or Mike Hague
QB: Max Hall, Brenden Gaskins, Riley Nelson
LE: Brett Denney, Matt Putnam, Steven Fisher
NT: Russell Tialavea, Romney Fuga or Tevita Hola
RE: Jan Jorgensen, Vic So'oto, Remington Peck or Steven Fisher
SLB: Jordan Pendleton, Grant Nelson or Richard Wilson, Jameson Frazier
MLB: Matt Bauman, Brandon Ogletree, Shane Hunter
BLB: (Terrance Hooks--out, injury) Shawn Doman, Jeff Bell or Shiloah Te'o, Dan Van Sweden
WLB: Coleby Clawson, (Jordan Atkinson--injured) or Grant Nelson, Chase Hansen or Masi Tuitama
FC: (Robbie Buckner--injured), Brian Logan, Corby Eason
BC: Brandon Bradley, Lee Aguirre, Trevor Bateman
Kat: Andrew Rich, Shiloah Te'o, Jray Galea'i
Free: Scott Johnson, Craig Bills, Steven
The annual "Cougar Kickoff" meet-the-team night takes place tonight at Haws Field (west of the Indoor Practice Facility). The event runs from 6:00-8:30pm, and is free to the public.
Hoops note: Jonathan Tavernari and the Brazilian national team take on Argentina in San Juan, Puerto Rico at 4:00pm MT today. They meet in the tourney opener at the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup--a tuneup for next week's Tournament of the Americas.