Mendenhall identifies areas in which Cougars need work
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
PROVO — The BYU football team was happy with its overall performance against Washington State immediately following the game and after poring over game film that sentiment is largely the same. That is not to suggest there aren't things that need work — quite a few things, as it happens.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall laid out a complete slate of things he'd like to see improve as the team preps for Weber State.
"We can clean up special teams a little bit," noted Mendenhall. "We had a big kick return against us, so we need to fit our lanes a little bit better. Our punt protection could have been shored up. Kick protection, although we had none blocked, I think that could use some work. Blue-zone execution in terms of scoring touchdowns instead of field goals and then a couple of times defensively our guys didn't plaster or didn't stay on their receivers long enough when the quarterback had extra time, so those are just some random things that come to mind."
Fortunately the team has some extra time to work on those things with two extra days at their disposal after playing on a Thursday night. It's the hope of Mendenhall that those two extra days will be used efficiently.
The team will next take on Weber State, a team that could be easily overlooked. Mendenhall trusts that his team is mature and focused enough on the task at hand that they wouldn't overlook anyone.
"Our approach already isn't about who we're playing," said Mendenhall. "We have so much we can improve on. … I sure hope there is no thought that way — there certainly isn't on my part."
DIDN'T SEE IT: Thursday night's game featured an inordinate amount of personal foul penalties whistled against BYU — particularly on the defensive end. Mendenhall and his staff pored over the game film and couldn't readily identify much that would warrant unsportsmanlike penalties.
"I didn't see (inappropriate conduct)," said Mendenhall. "I looked, but I didn't see (it). It doesn't mean the (infractions) didn't happen, but I looked and (didn't see much)."
Mendenhall did see his defense being aggressive from the outset and viewed this as a positive.
"I would rather tone them back than go the other way, so I really see it all as being completely negative," said Mendenhall. "If they're over-aggressive to begin with then I'll take that as a good sign and we'll just kind of ease them back as we go."
TUSHAUS IN THE MIDDLE: There was a lot of anticipation on how offensive line coach Mark Weber would handle the center position heading into the season. Both Blair Tushaus and Houston Reynolds were listed as starters, with Weber giving consideration to rotating centers throughout the game.
Turns out he rested on Tushaus handling the center duties with Reynolds logging time at offensive guard. So how did Tushaus grade out?
"He did a really nice job in terms of directing the calls and protection and delivering the football to the quarterback," noted Mendenhall. "Now the mastery and the physical play and execution (needs work). The mastery of doing your own assignment is now (his) next step."
INJURY NEWS: Star receiver Cody Hoffman left Thursday's game early with a quad contusion but is practicing and expected to play against Weber State this week.
Tight end Devin Mahina, who has been out with a broken hand, caught passes during Monday's practice session and could have played against WSU if he was needed, according to Mendenhall. Mahina should be available for Weber State along with both safety Craig Bills, who had his bell rung, and linebacker Zac Stout, who has an Achilles tendon injury.
Defensive back Skye PoVey is expected to miss next week's game with a foot injury.
Justin Sorensen was kicking during Monday's practice, doing the most work he's done this year, according to team trainer Jeff Hurst.
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