PROVO — The defense dominated BYU's practice Monday morning, and the defensive depth chart, particularly in the secondary, is coming into focus.
Going into fall camp, the Cougars had voids to fill in the secondary after losing starting safety Andrew Rich and cornerbacks Brandon Bradley and Brian Logan to graduation.
While it appears that Daniel Sorensen will start at kat safety in place of Rich, senior Corby Eason has the edge at field corner and Preston Hadley is running with the first team at boundary corner.
"If we were to play today, the field corner would be Corby Eason, then Robbie Buckner and then Jordan Johnson," said coach Bronco Mendenhall. "At boundary corner today, it would be Preston Hadley, DeQuan Everett and Joe Sampson. That could still change by the time we play. But the rest of the positions are fairly solid."
As for the battle at free safety, Travis Uale and Mike Hague are "still neck-and-neck," Mendenhall said. Uale, who started last season, was sidelined Monday due to sore ribs.
"Travis still has a slight edge because of experience and leadership, but Mike is not far behind," Mendenhall said. "Most likely, we'll play both of them."
At outside linebacker, Jameson Frazier participated in live reps, backing up starting outside 'backers Kyle Van Noy and Jordan Pendleton.
DEFENSE RISES UP: BYU's defense came out Monday aggressive and motivated after Saturday's scrimmage. In five series Monday, the Cougar offense didn't earn a single first down.
"The defense is going to throw different things at us as camp progresses and we have to be ready and aware that they're going to throw more blitzes at us and come after us," said running back Bryan Kariya. "I don't feel satisfied letting (the defense) win any single day. As an offense, we have the potential and the opportunity to go out and dominate every practice. Mainly, it was a mental slip for us today. The offense has had the upper hand. Today, with some of the packages they put in today, we weren't quite ready for."
According to linebacker Uona Kaveinga, "We had to respond to what we did on Saturday and we definitely did that."
Mendenhall likes to see momentum shift between offense and defense during fall camp.
"It was another good practice day. As always, there will be days that swing one way or another," he said. "You always want to see one side or the other respond if they think they can do better from the day before. The main thing is, I want to see our team keep getting better. I think that's what's happening."
PRITCHARD'S SURGERY: Fullback Iona Pritchard underwent season-ending surgery for his broken leg and dislocated ankle.
Head trainer Kevin Morris said when Pritchard came out of the operation, still under the influence of anesthesia, he recited plays and assignments.
Mendenhall has talked to Pritchard since the surgery.
"I talked to him the night after. He was still groggy coming out of anesthetic," he said. "He's a fantastic kid. It will be great to have him for the next three years after this one."
WAGNER SET TO RETURN: Linebacker Jadon Wagner, who left school in the spring after being drafted by the Canadian Football League, was set to be back at practice Monday afternoon.10 comments on this story
Wagner, who started the final nine games of last season, had to be cleared by both the NCAA and the BYU admissions office before he could start practicing, Mendenhall said.
TE'O GONE: Running back Malosi Te'o has decided to leave the team, and return home to Hawaii, due to family issues. Last year, Te'o transferred to Hawaii before returning to BYU this summer.
Te'o, a walk-on, was replaced on the roster by running back Nate Carter.