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Cougar Nation: BYU football notebook: Cougars host high school coaches at spring practice

Published: Friday, March 16 2012 9:06 p.m. MDT

PROVO — BYU held its coaching clinic with top high school coaches coming to attend from as far away as Georgia and Florida. Those coaches help teach other attending coaches from in-state while taking notes from the BYU coaching staff. It also serves as an opportunity for the BYU staff to build or maintain good recruiting connections.

"It's great to have those coaches come in and learn more about BYU and what we're about and take that message back home to their programs and their communities," said Mendenhall. "Some of the most prestigious coaches in high school football (attend) and we try to provide a service for our in-state coaches to learn from."

The clinic began at 7 a.m. for the visiting coaches who attended clinics while learning new concepts. At about 2 p.m., the BYU coaching staff got involved with those coaches attending team meetings and the afternoon's practice session.

According to Mendenhall, those attending coaches witnessed a sharp practice session that he was pleased with.

"Competitive and sharp," described Mendenhall about Friday's session. "I think we're managing it really well for the health of our team and we've kind of found a nice model to keep the team going while guys recover (from injury)."

The latest injury includes Ross Apo landing awkwardly on his shoulder with an MRI to come to determine the extent. According to trainer Kevin Morris they want to determine the exact nature of the injury quickly so as to assure Apo will be ready for the season.

As for the practice itself, Riley Nelson went 3-for-5 during his one set for 35 yards, including a 31-yard pass to Cody Hoffman. He guided the offense into field goal range with Riley Stephenson capping off the set with a 36-yard field goal.

James Lark went 1-for-3 for 9 yards with Taysom Hill going 1-for-4 for 7 yards. Alani Fua showed well from his outside linebacker spot, recording two sacks while knocking down a pass at the line of scrimmage.

LASIKE ON LOAN: Running back Paul Lasike caught the eye of everyone during Tuesday's practice session, but has been MIA since. The reason is due to his rugby commitments as he's merely on loan to the football team.

Mendenhall and the rest of the coaches would love to have Lasike full time, but understand that rugby is his first priority currently. With BYU prepping to take on St. Mary's on Saturday, Lasike went back to rugby practice to prepare for the match with his teammates.

With regards to football practices, running back coach Joe DuPaix has been impressed with what he's seen.

"We're very encouraged with what we've seen," said DuPaix. "He's a great learner, so he has a great idea of what the play entails and what his responsibilities are. Sometimes he doesn't have technique to complete the assignment, but sometimes he does and it's exciting because he brings a lot of ability."

email: bgurney@desnews.com

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