BYU football notebook: Defense punches back in 2nd scrimmage
Michelle Tessier, Deseret News
PROVO — When you get hit in the mouth, the tendency is to hit back — particularly if you're a bruising college football player.
Friday night, the BYU defense hit the offense back during an open scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"The offense kind of took it to us a bit that first scrimmage so we wanted to make sure we got them back tonight," said senior linebacker Michael Alisa. "I think we came out fired up, and I'm pleased with the effort."
The defense yielded just 17 points on the night after being challenged by coaches — particularly defensive coordinator Nick Howell.
Howell was vocal following last week's scrimmage that he wanted to see his defensive line play more physical. On Friday night, the defense generally responded to Howell's wishes.
"It was a challenge, and the first-team defensive line didn't get a lot of reps in the first scrimmage and so we told the coaches to let us play today," said junior Remington Peck. "There was a big difference. They didn't run much on the first group."
Peck teamed with Graham Rowley and Travis Tuiloma to stalemate a lot of the runs attempted.
"I felt Graham Rowley played really well," Peck said. "He plays opposite of me, and I feel like he made some good plays."
Turnovers at a premium
Other defensive standouts included linebacker Michael Alisa and safety Garrett Juergens — both of whom recorded interceptions.
"Mine was tipped, so I don't get even half the credit for that one," Alisa said. "Getting those turnovers is huge for us. BYU has never lost when we've had a defensive touchdown, and I've been told we win like 90 percent of the time when we win the turnover battle, so that shows how important it is that we get turnovers as much as possible."
Ready for a fight
Alisa and the rest of his defensive teammates are fully expecting an upset and motivated offense come Monday's practice session due to the defense winning Friday's scrimmage.
"I've been over on the offense and I know how coach (Robert) Anae is after a scrimmage like that," said Alisa, who played running back the last two seasons. "He's going to have them in the film room a long time and he'll make sure that doesn't happen again. We know they'll come back hard, and that's a good thing."
Around 12,000 fans were in attendence Friday, which both pleased and excited the players.
"It's pretty cool," said Peck about the fans coming out. "I think BYU is one of the only places for a fall camp scrimmage that you can get that type of attendence. They really are true fans."
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