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BYU football to end spring practice with open scrimmage

Published: Friday, April 8 2011 11:49 p.m. MDT

PROVO — As spring practice concludes today, the BYU football program is staging a bonafide Blue-White game.

The scrimmage will begin at noon at LaVell Edwards Stadium and admission is free.

Cougar coach Bronco Mendenhall said the players, and the coaching staff, will be divided up for the event.

The Blue team features the first-team offense and the second-team defense. The Blue squad will be led by associate head coach Lance Reynolds, with secondary coach Nick Howell, receivers coach Ben Cahoon and running backs coach Joe DuPaix assisting him.

The White team is comprised of the first-team defense and second-team offense. The White squad will be led by inside linebackers coach Paul Tidwell, with help from offensive coordinator Brandon Doman, offensive line coach Mark Weber, outside linebackers coach Kelly Poppinga and defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi.

"The ones (first-team) will go against the ones and the twos (second-team) against the twos," Mendenhall said.

As for the format, the scrimmage will consist of four, 12-minute quarters. The clock will stop in the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.

"Hopefully that will give us about 65 or 70 plays," Mendenhall said. "That's what we're basing it on. That's what we were intending to do."

Prior to the scrimmage, at 11 a.m., Cougar players will conduct a clinic for schoolchildren up to the eighth grade.

Asked about the players who have raised their stock during the course of spring practice, Mendenhall mentioned safety Mike Hague, linebacker Spencer Hadley, defensive back Preston Hadley, wide receivers Spencer Hafoka and Ross Apo, and tight ends Austin Holt and Marcus Mathews.

"Austin Holt has done a nice job of establishing more of a physical role and Marcus Mathews in more of a down-the-field role," the coach said. "They've both emerged in different areas. I'm sure there are others, but those are the first ones that come to mind."

MORE ON HILL: On Thursday, BYU announced that quarterback Taysom Hill has signed a scholarship agreement and will enroll at BYU next January.

Hill, who signed with Stanford out of high school, returns home from an LDS mission in Sydney, Australia, in December.

Mendenhall said he doesn't know all the details about how Hill decided to attend BYU, referring reporters to Doman for those questions. But he did say that it was his understanding that Hill's mission president called and let the coaching staff know that Hill "was considering BYU. Then we said, 'OK.'"

The Cougars had recruited Hill out of Highland High in Pocatello, Idaho, a few years ago. Mendenhall described Hill as "a great athlete, a great leader, very, very productive. Super-smart in terms of as a student. We really wanted him before, but we had gotten in late in the recruiting process.."

Mendenhall added that he understood that Hill liked coach Jim Harbaugh, who left Stanford to become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in January. "My guess is that might had something to do with coming (to BYU), with coach Harbaugh leaving," Mendenhall said.

CHAMBERS UPDATE: O'Neill Chambers, who played receiver at BYU until he was suspended last season, showed up at a practice this week. He remains a student at BYU, though he will not play this season.

"O'Neill will be a walk-on in our program," Mendenhall said. "He won't have any action with the team through the fall. The first time we'll consider him (for a return to the program), if he's met all of the other criteria I have for him, will be in January. That will be a year-and-a-half's time. If he hasn't, I'll make him go all the way through spring in a non-football capacity, then possibly he'd rejoin us the following fall (of 2012)."

Asked if Chambers was willing to comply with the conditions placed on him, Mendenhall replied, "Absolutely. He hasn't missed a thing yet. He had a chance to be released (from his scholarship) and he was released to go anywhere he wanted to go and he won't go. He wants to be here. It's quite a statement."

Mendenhall added that in the event that Chambers returns to the program, he will most likely do so as a member of the defensive secondary. "I'd like to coach him personally," Mendenhall said. "That's my thought at this point. If you write it down, I'll probably change it, but right now, he's probably going into the secondary, maybe at free safety."

email:jcall@desnews.com

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