BYU football: Cougar coaches size up top performances from spring ball

Published: Monday, March 26 2012 10:39 p.m. MDT

Assistant coach Lance Reynolds during BYU football practice Monday, March 26, 2012, in Provo, Utah.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Top list: 10 emerging players at BYU's spring camp

PROVO — BYU staged its spring scrimmage last Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium, and on Monday it was back to work for the Cougars, who are in their final week of spring practice.

Following the scrimmage, head coach Bronco Mendenhall named a handful of players that impressed him, including running back Adam Hine, defensive lineman Ziggy Ansah, quarterback Taysom Hill, defensive back Mike Hague and linebacker Manoa Pikula.

After Monday's practice in the indoor practice facility, Mendenhall said he would add offensive lineman Michael Yeck and defensive back Chase Pendley to that list of players that raised their stock during the scrimmage.

Overall, Mendenhall said the scrimmage "helped solidify what we think the two-deep will look like going into the fall and getting a chance for players to be in the stadium and experience BYU football and have some fun. That's really what we were hoping to accomplish."

"There were a couple of things that were really good for me to see," offensive coordinator Brandon Doman said of the scrimmage. "When you walk down the tunnel into the stadium, it changes everything — from how you feel to the way kids react and respond. We've kept the offense simple this spring and I wanted to see the ability of our players to learn with people in the stands. A few guys performed well today that helped themselves. It was good to see."

For the coaches, the best news was that there were no new injuries sustained Saturday. Hine took a hard hit to the helmet, but Mendenhall categorized it as a bell-ringer, not a concussion.

"We came out of it great, which is a real positive," Mendenhall said.

BYU will practice again Wednesday and Friday. Friday marks the culmination of spring practice and it will also be Alumni Day.

HAGUE'S DUAL ROLES: Hague has been playing both safety and cornerback this spring. Hague, who recorded a diving interception in last Saturday's spring scrimmage, was a backup safety last season, but due to the injuries in the secondary, he's gaining experience at two positions.

"I'm more comfortable at safety," Hague said. "I like corner, it's new to me — a lot of technique, a lot of muscle memory you have to get down that I haven't gotten down yet. But it's coming along. I'm there because we have a couple of guys hurt and I want to help in any way possible … We want to be a diverse secondary that can do a lot of things. We think we're pretty athletic back there. I like playing corner and safety."

ON CHAMBERS: Senior O'Neill Chambers, who was switched from receiver to defensive back, had a pass breakup in the spring scrimmage.

Hague said he enjoys playing with Chambers, who rejoined the team this spring after being suspended during the 2010 season.

"As soon as we found out he was going to be in the secondary, it was awesome because he's so athletic. O'Neill is one of the most athletic people that I've been around. The way he's picked it up — sometimes you need to walk him through coverages, but this defense is kind of like a different language. It's going to take time for him to pick it up. But if you tell him where to go and how fast to go, he'll go there. He's a great teammate. We love having him with us. It's fantastic."

NO SHORTAGE OF QBS: BYU will have six quarterbacks on scholarship this fall — Riley Nelson, James Lark, Hill, Jason Munns, Ammon Olsen and Alex Kuresa.

Kuresa, who was expected to go on a mission this summer, has decided not to leave until after the 2012 season.

"He missed the first couple of weeks of spring due to some academic stuff he needed to take care of. He's now on track," Doman said of Kuresa. "He'll finish out the rest of spring and be with us in the fall. So we'll have six guys on scholarship this fall (at QB), which is two too many, but necessary for what we need to get done."

NOTES: Linebacker Kyle Van Noy celebrated his birthday on Monday … Former Cougar running back JJ Di Luigi watched practice, as did defensive back Craig Bills, who recently returned home from a mission and will play next fall.

Top list: 10 emerging players at BYU's spring camp

Email: jeffc@desnews.com

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