BYU football: Practice for Justin Sorensen should improve Cougars' kicking-game ailments

Published: Monday, Oct. 15 2012 11:36 p.m. MDT

PROVO — There has been nothing consistent about the BYU football kicking game so far this season, but with a dramatic increase in repetitions, Justin Sorensen and Co. look to put their troubles behind them.

After a steady dose of missed attempts, bad snaps, botched fakes over the first half of this season, coach Bronco Mendenhall had clearly had enough and increased the special teams' workload in practice. For the ailing Sorensen, the extra work may have been just what the doctor ordered.

"I haven't had many chances to kick this offseason and into fall camp," said Sorensen. "It's been frustrating because you need those repetitions to be effective and I obviously haven't been as effective as I'd like to be. But hopefully that's changing."

Sorensen made good on all three extra-point attempts and his lone field-goal attempt last week against Oregon State after seeing increased reps during practice.

"We seriously quadrupled what we normally do in practice last week," said Sorensen. "I feel that I'm catching up and I felt great all week during practice, so I think it helped. I'm finally feeling that I'm getting back to where I should be. I just need some more work and some more reps, but I'm definitely encouraged with what we did last week."

Sorensen says his back is still sore, but he feels his accuracy is largely back — though his distance still needs some work.

"It's coming and it's back to where I can kick from distance, but probably not to the point where I can attempt 60- or even 50-yard field goals," said Sorensen. "Hopefully my length gets back to where it was before my injury."

BRONCO BELIEVES IN NELSON: Following Riley Nelson's three-interception effort against Oregon State, many fans and pundits have argued that a change at quarterback may be warranted. Mendenhall strongly disagrees with such assessments and definitively says he couldn't see a scenario where Nelson would lose his starting gig, short of injury.

"I think Riley is improving our team," said Mendenhall. "A few of his decisions were not wise, but we answered touchdown for touchdown for a long time. … But we do need to take better care of the football."

MORE MAX PROTECT: Oregon State saw a lot of success on Saturday employing a max-protection scheme during most passing plays. The formerly dominant Cougar pass defense struggled to defend the scheme — ultimately giving up 332 yards passing and 35 points. For that reason Mendenhall fully expects to see more max protect against his defense moving forward.

"If you go for six games not giving up many points then you have one game where you give up a lot of points I'd probably copy (the game with a lot of points)," said Mendenhall.

ALL GOOD ON THE INJURY FRONT: The good news from the Oregon State loss was the team coming out of it relatively healthy. Mendenhall mentioned there were three players who sustained minor injuries against the Beavers, but no depth-chart changes will occur as a result.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com, Twitter: BrandonCGurney

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