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BYU football notebook: Jake Heaps, Ross Apo pair up on long bomb

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 9 2011 3:47 p.m. MDT

PROVO — BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall would love to see a lot of Jake Heaps-to-Ross Apo touchdowns this fall — and beyond.

He saw one during Tuesday's practice, a 70-yard strike from Heaps that Apo caught on the run and raced into the end zone. The tight-spiral pass covered about 60 yards in the air.

"The coverage was exceptional," Mendenhall said of the play. "It was a long, long pass right in stride. I think that will be a combination we see for a long time here. That's my hope. I was really impressed."

Apo explained that the offense called a play-action bomb.

"I just kind of jogged out there like I was going to block, then I took off," said the redshirt freshman wide receiver. "Jake always puts the ball where it needs to be. Whenever the coaches call a big pass, I'm running to catch it."

On the day during team drills, Heaps competed 4-of-5 passes for 98 yards.

"Jake is playing really well in general," Mendenhall said. "He's doing a really nice job on third down. Jake is very accurate. I can't count many throws he's missed so far in three practices. I'm impressed."

Backup QB Riley Nelson was 0-for-2, including a pass that was intercepted by defensive lineman Hebron Fangupo. Third-stringer James Lark went 2-for-3 for 27 yards.

CHANGING THE ROUTINE: BYU practiced inside its climate-controlled indoor practice facility Tuesday. The Cougars practiced in 90-plus-degree temperatures on Saturday and Monday. Mendenhall said the main reason for going indoors was to change the routine.

"I like to kind of keep the team guessing as to what practice will be like and what conditions we'll do it in," he said. "Camp is long, and the more that I can keep them guessing and break routine and break monotony, I like doing it that way."

What did the players think of being inside?

"I don't mind," Apo said. "I'll play anywhere. I'll play in the basketball gym."

OH THE HUMIDITY: BYU's season-opener is at Ole Miss on Sept. 3. The Cougars are doing what they can to prepare for the heat and humidity that awaits them by putting an emphasis on conditioning.

"I think (humidity) affects the defense more than the offense," Mendenhall said. "Each day the conditioning level kind of goes up and up and up. That will give us a chance to fight it. After coaching at Louisiana Tech, I'm aware of the humidity and what it's like there. (Intravenous drip feeds) are commonplace at halftime. We're basically telling our players an IV doesn't mean you're going to the hospital. It means that you're getting ready for the second half. So we're preparing our players. I know that's an exaggeration, but it is going to be hot and it is going to be humid. We'll have to play a lot of players, so we're trying to get as many ready in the best shape."

BIG LEG: Sophomore placekicker Justin Sorensen booted a 52-yard field goal Tuesday and was just short on a pair of 67-yard attempts.

"We're just trying to identify the range in which he'll be consistent from," Mendenhall said. "He has a leg from a long ways out. That will be a great weapon from a kickoff perspective and also from a field goal perspective. This is just the beginning of finding out what he can do."

email: jeffc@desnews.com

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