BYU football notebook: JJ Di Luigi displays his versatility running, catching the ball
PROVO — Through the air and on the ground, BYU's JJ Di Luigi showed off his versatility during Wednesday's practice session.
The senior running back caught an over-the-shoulder pass in the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown from quarterback Jake Heaps. Later, Di Luigi skirted outside and beat the Cougar defense to the pylon for a 14-yard TD run.
"He poses one more thing that defenses have to prepare for," Heaps said of Di Luigi. "When you're able to flex out a running back and be able to have him run routes and do those types of things, it's tough on defenses. Against a man-to-man team, you might have JJ line up against an outside linebacker. JJ is a very versatile guy. We're lucky to have him on our football team."
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall was pleased with the offense's performance overall.
"I think they came to life today, which was fun," he said. "Not only on the ground but throwing the ball, which was a nice complement. Practice No. 4, to have a day like that, it's a good sign."
Heaps completed 5-of-6 passes for 98 yards.
"Jake is really accurate with the ball, not missing many throws," Mendenhall said. "That's the main things sustaining drives. Even for the first three days, if there have been miscues, Jake's decision-making is the biggest difference. I think it's just come through his experience."
In fall camp, Heaps is 21-of-25 for 337 yards and four touchdowns. Zero interceptions.
"If (his passes) are incomplete, it's not necessarily a bad throw. They might have just dropped it," Mendenhall said. "He's not only delivering the ball accurately, but he's delivering it where it's supposed to go, in terms of his reads, which is more important."
FORMIDABLE LINEBACKERS: Though potential starters Jordan Pendleton, Brandon Ogletree and Jameson Frazier were held out due to various injuries Wednesday, Mendenhall likes what he sees at linebacker.
"Right now, the linebacking corps, when you consider … Pendleton, (Kyle) Van Noy, Ogletree and (Uona) Kaveinga all at the same time, it's a formidable group. And there's some good depth as well. It could be one of the strengths of the team."
Of Van Noy, Mendenhall said, "Kyle is probably playing at a higher level than anyone on the defense right now and has been one of the standouts of camp. Every day that he practices he gets better. He's making a lot of plays."
MAKING AN IMPACT: Two more players who have caught the coaches' attention during fall camp are tight end Austin Holt and free safety Mike Hague.
"Austin Holt not only came in to camp in the best shape, but he's also been the most consistent (of the tight ends)," Mendenhall said.
The coach also is happy with Hague, who switched to safety from running back last spring.
"I really like him. Mike's done an awesome job," Mendenhall said. "Right now I'd say he's right on the heels of (last year's starter) Travis Uale."
EXTRA POINTS: Freshman tight end Colby Jorgensen suffered a dislocated shoulder after taking a shot from defensive back Preston Hadley. … Wide receiver Dallin Cutler had a 36-yard catch. ... Defensive linemen Ezekial Ansah and Ian Dulan each recorded a "whistle" sack.
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