Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
PROVO — Following Saturday's scrimmage, head coach Bronco Mendenhall made the comment that he'd like to see his defensive front play more physical. For Eathyn Manumaleuna, it's the last thing you want to hear.
"It was frustrating to hear it, but he was right about that though; we need to step it up and get after it better," he said. "We weren't happy with how we played on Saturday. We got pushed around too easy, and we needed to make sure that doesn't happen."
While Saturday's scrimmage saw the offense score on its opening drive, the defense stepped up its play. All five sets of today's team drills saw the defense hold the offense to a three-and-out.
"That's what it's all about," said inside linebacker Uona Kaveinga. "We had to respond to what we did on Saturday, and I think we definitely did that. We stepped up it, and now we can't go back."
According to Manumaleuna, it's all about changing their mindset individually and as a unit.
"It sounded a lot better out there today," he said. "Guys were talking better, communicating better, and we were more focused. We were worried too much about what everyone else was doing on Saturday, and today, I think we just focused on what we needed to get done, and didn't worry about everyone else. For me, I need to focus and get a lot better with my play than what I'm doing now."
Most practice sessions feature a bit of give and take by the offense and then by the defense. One day the offense will dominate, and then it's up to the defense to respond and vice versa.
So is it the offense's turn to step it up with the next practice session?
"It's good that the offense is playing well, but we're always going to do our best to keep them out of the end zone," said Kaveinga. "That's our job, and we haven't been doing as good of a job at that as we should. It's up to us now to keep it going, to keep aggressive and to play with spirit."
Iona Pritchard'ssurgery went well. According to trainer Kevin Morris, he was heard reciting plays and assignments when he was coming out of anesthesia following his operation.
Malosi Te'o has left the team due to family issues. He'll be replaced by Nate Carter on the roster.
Jake Heaps went 1-for-3 for 4 yards on a pass to Cody Hoffman during team drills. James Lark saw the second set of reps behind Heaps and went 2-for-4 for 10 yards with Riley Nelson not attempting a pass.
Defensive highlights included sacks from Ezekial Ansah, Jameson Frazier and Kye Van Noy dropping Joshua Quezada behind the line of scrimmage for a 4-yard loss.
"Kyle Van Noy does work," Kaveinga said about his teammate. "Every day he's out there ready to go and he's very fun to play with. He has a great attitude, and he's getting it done every day out here."
Justin Sorensen again showed well making field goals of 37, 42, and twice from 52 yards. He missed another attempt from 52 yards, however, as his attempt sailed wide right.
Riley Stephenson had punts of 58 and 32 yards.
Although Jameson Frazier returned to live reps today, Van Noy retained his spot playing outside linebacker with the first team along with Jordan Pendleton.
The practice session concluded with the defense going through a new obstacle course, which had them jumping over garbage cans, taking swipes at tackling dummies, and finishing off leaping up to touch the crossbar in the end zone.
The offensive line finished the practice session by running sprints.
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