BYU notebook: Advantage to the offense during scrimmage; Nick Kurtz out 6 to 8 weeks
Mark A. Philbrick
PROVO — The offense held a slight edge over the defense according to coaches during BYU's open scrimmage Saturday at LaVell Edwards stadium.
Around 5,000 fans in attendance were treated to some good production by the offense rushing the football and with play-action pass to the tune of three touchdowns on 13 series'.
“We were a little sharper offensively than I actually thought we would be,” said BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall. “The play-action pass game is strong at this point and the pass protection is stronger than I had anticipated at this point. And then we ran the ball off-tackle better than I thought we would at this point.”
Junior Adam Hine received the bulk of the backfield work, and he was productive running off-tackle and provided a scoring run of eight yards.
"I believe we're seeing a more versatile and fast-twitched version of Adam Hine as a result of more rehab-type work," said offensive coordinator Robert Anae of Hine, who sat out spring with injury. "We're looking forward to his progress and growth."
Quarterback Taysom Hill connected with receiver Mitchell Juergens from 39 yards out off play-action for the day's second touchdown before Christian Stewart threw a 23-yard touchdown strike to Devon Blackmon to close out the scoring.
Freshman Trey Dye exploded for a 71-yard run-and-catch for a touchdown that was called back due to a penalty.
Kurtz in a boot
Junior college transfer Nick Kurtz suffered what coaches believe is a stress fracture in his foot prior to Saturday's scrimmage. Kurtz had been performing well in camp and was expected by many to start, but he will now miss the first 6-8 weeks according to Mendenhall.
Defensive line lacks physicality
When asked to assess his defense and what needs work after Saturday's scrimmage, defensive coordinator Nick Howell didn't mince words.
“Run defense. Run defense. Emphasis is run defense,” Howell said. “We’re never going to get in nickel if we play like (we did today.)”
Indeed the offensive line managed to get a consistent push on most running plays which left Howell desiring more physical play upfront.
“There’s more guys, but they’re not physical enough yet,” Howell said of his defensive front. “We got to be more physical flat out. We got to own the line of scrimmage and right now I can’t say that we’re doing that.”
Positive defensive returns
It wasn't all bad for the defense Saturday. Howell saw several players stand out. First and foremost was Utah transfer Harvey Langi who continues to impress at inside linebacker.
"I think we need him to play. I want him to play and I think he wants to play,” Howell said. “We can’t give him too much too fast, so I think that’s more physically than mentally. He’ll get the mental stuff, but I think when we play (Connecticut) we’re going to want him out there.”
Despite Langi's inexperience Howell mentioned a possibility of the former Bingham standout running back starting at Mike linebacker opposite Manoa Pikula at the Buck position.
Howell also mentioned being impressed with inside linebacker Austin Heder and his performance Saturday.
At defensive back Howell was pleased with Michael Davis, who recently switched over from wide receiver, and Jordan Preator.
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