BYU football: Injury puts a damper on scrimmage

Published: Saturday, Aug. 13 2011 3:20 p.m. MDT

"The general execution was more solid. Without a lot of frills and variety, it seemed the execution was a little bit more sound," he said. "I would have liked to see the defensive front play more physical today. And I think our play-action concentration in the secondary could improve. But it's stepping forward. It's continuing progress."

With the first week of fall camp in the books, and the season-opener at Ole Miss just three weeks away, the Cougars are simply looking to get better.

"We've got two-a-days all next week and we're looking to make huge improvements," Heaps said. "We're looking to cut down on the mental errors and looking forward to crisping up everything, from route-running to throwing the football to my reads When we're able to do that, we'll be a great football team."

READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL: BYU fans came out in droves for Saturday's scrimmage.

"It's so fun to be a BYU Cougar right now and to be part of this football program," Doman said. "The interest from our fans, they came out more today than I've seen at a spring game. Im glad they feel that way and we're motivated to make it fun for them."

"My sense is, I've never seen an opening scrimmage with this much support, attention and excitement," Mendenhall said. "That's was just when I was driving over. I thought something else might be going on on campus as well. It's pretty neat."

MORE ON PRITCHARD: Though the former Bingham High star recently returned home from a mission, he had made an immediate impact.

"He was going to be depended upon heavily," Mendenhall said. "So it's a big loss because of how he's played already in fall camp. We were excited about him and what he could do for our offense."

The Cougars will rely more on Mike Alisa in Pritchard's absence.

"There will have to be some adjustment now," Mendenhall said. "Fortunately, we're deep at running back. We have a fullback, Mike Alisa, (who is) a cross-trained type of player."

Heaps said he'll miss having Pritchard on the field.

"He's done a fantastic job in fall camp. I've been blown away by how well he's done. He's just off a mission and he's going to be a great player for us at BYU. It's tough to see a guy go through an injury like that."

POSITION BATTLES: With several open positions on the offense and defense, Mendenhall said he's hoping to use Saturday's scrimmage "as an evaluation tool and that will be our intent. My hope is next week I'll like to be able to say that, 'We're more solid here' and, 'This is still dead even.' We'll have to see."

Preston Hadley and Corby Eason saw significant time with the first team defense at the cornerback positions, while Houston Reynolds and Marco Thorson continued to rotate at left guard.

As for the tight ends, Marcus Mathews led all receivers with 44 yards on two catches. Austin Holt had a 14-yard reception.

"I thought there was great progress by (the tight ends) today," Doman said. "The reason why BYU's been so successful in the past is because inside the box, the running backs and the tight ends have been difficult for teams to defend. If we can continue to do that at a really high level, which I believe we can with this group, then we'll continue the tradition of being great in that area. One guy may emerge. No one has. If it remains a committee, fine. But I think one guy will emerge before we're done."

LIFE OF RILEY: Backup quarterback Riley Nelson completed 4-of-6 passes for 52 yards. James Lark was 0-for-2 and Jason Munns was 2-for-4 for 20 yards.

Doman said he would like to find a role for Nelson.

"Riley's a guy that needs to be used in this offense," Doman said. "He's athletic and we're gradually putting things in. In some way, shape or form, he needs to be utilized to do some things."

EXTRA POINTS: Running back Bryan Kariya rushed five times for 23 yards and JJ Di Luigi had three rushes for 22 yards ... Placekicker Justin Sorensen made field goals from 32, 29 and 47 yards. He missed from 42 and 37 yards. His 37-yard attempt smacked the right upright.

BYU camp report

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