BYU football notebook: Joshua Quezada making impact

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 17 2011 5:48 p.m. MDT

PROVO — It didn't take Joshua Quezada long to make an impact on BYU football.

As a true freshman, the running back scored the Cougars' first touchdown of the 2010 campaign on a 9-yard pass from Riley Nelson in the second quarter of a 23-17 season-opening win over Washington.

"Actually, that pass was pretty much luck," Quezada recalled Wednesday. "I just happened to be in on that play."

Quezada's humility is one of the many things coach Bronco Mendenhall likes about the 5-foot-11, 202-pound sophomore.

"The biggest key to Josh is who he is," Mendenhall said. "Of all of the freshmen that we brought in a year ago, he was the best example of what I would expect from someone in our program. That includes every single freshman that came in. He was the best example, the best leader and had the most influence. That's pretty impressive."

Quezada rushed for 505 yards on 99 carries last season, an average of 5.1 yards per carry. He also scored five rushing touchdowns.

"As a freshman, I loved the reps that I got. I had fun as a freshman," he said. "I learned a lot as the year went by. The college level is a lot different from high school. I'm still learning. I'm trying to learn as much as I can from the players and coaches."

There's a big difference, Quezada said, between last year's team and this year's team.

"We're a lot closer now that we were before. We're all on the same page," he said. "Last year we were expecting to carry on the tradition but at the same time, we didn't build that trust from each other. I definitely think that trust is a lot better now than it was before."

DEFENSE RULES: While BYU's offense had its way the first week of fall camp, the tide has turned.

Once again, the defense dominated Wednesday, as it has most of this week. Quarterback Jake Heaps completed only 1-of-5 passes for 17 yards.

"The offense needs to respond better," Mendenhall said. "My guess is that they will. But it's at that point of camp where they're tired."

The Cougars will hold another scrimmage Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Another scrimmage, featuring the young players, will take place next Wednesday.

COACHES' POLL VOTER: This year, Mendenhall is a voter in the USA Today/Coaches poll.

"It's an interesting story. The first time I was asked, which was three or four years ago, I declined," Mendenhall said. "Then after I sent my response back, I didn't feel very good about it. I didn't feel like that was right. I was still learning the coaching profession and didn't know when I was going to find time to do it. But then I faxed back in after the first time and said I would be willing to do it. I'm glad to try to help, I guess is the best way to say it. I think it's kind of service-oriented. I don't spend much time following (college football). I'm going to need help (from BYU media relations director Brett Pyne) quite a bit to keep me posted. I'm going to have to watch more than what I've done, which is going to be a change. But I feel like I need to do my part, just like any other head coach."

Mendenhall has said before that his wife, Holly, follows college football closely. "She might be the one voting, yeah," Mendenhall joked.

Utah's Kyle Whittingham and Utah State's Gary Andersen are also voters this year.

REDEN MOVED: Freshman Stehly Reden has been switched from defensive line to tight end.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere