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BYU football notebook: Bronco Mendenhall begins searching for new and accurate leg

Published: Saturday, Aug. 29 2015 3:32 p.m. MDT

B.J. Peterson holds the ball for sophomore kicker Riley Stephenson as they practice kicking field goals on day four of BYU Fall football camp, Aug. 11, 2010. Stephenson and Mitch Payne have struggled to kick PATs. (Stuart Johnson, Deseret News) B.J. Peterson holds the ball for sophomore kicker Riley Stephenson as they practice kicking field goals on day four of BYU Fall football camp, Aug. 11, 2010. Stephenson and Mitch Payne have struggled to kick PATs. (Stuart Johnson, Deseret News)

PROVO — Help wanted.

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall is looking for someone who can consistently make point-after-touchdowns.

Mendenhall is happy to have starting senior placekicker Mitch Payne, but since Payne suffered an ankle sprain last week, Mendenhall has been concerned about PATs. And for good reason — backup kicker Riley Stephenson has made only five of 12 PATs, having several of those attempts blocked.

It's gotten to the point that Mendenhall is asking other players on his team if they had experience kicking in high school.

"Seriously," Mendenhall said. "You never know, we might have someone that can kick an extra point consistently."

Stephenson "is great with kickoffs and he's an excellent punter," Mendenhall said, "but when you see that many (PAT attempts) go into someone's back, it's time to get it fixed."

Payne is expected to return to action soon. Until then, the coach is looking for kicking help.

"It's no reason to panic," Mendenhall said, "but I'm glad we found out now that we have that much work to do with a backup kicker than game five or six."

BATTLES CONTINUE: Asked about the position battles at linebacker, tight end and quarterback, Mendenhall said Monday, "I couldn't tell you a thing different from what I said last week. There is no one that is emerging clearly at any of those spots for us to say, 'That's our guy.' "

At quarterback, during Monday morning's practice, Jake Heaps completed 6 of 14 passes for 79 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Riley Nelson was 4-of-8 for 39 yards and one TD. James Lark was 2-of-4 for 14 yards.

COUGAR KICKOFF: The public is invited to the annual Cougar Kickoff Tuesday night (6 p.m.) at Haws Field, where fans can mingle with coaches and players from BYU's sports teams. Admission is free.

Cougar camp report

Day 8: BYU held two practices Monday, one that was open in the morning and a closed session in the afternoon.

Standouts: Cody Hoffman caught a 10-yard touchdown from Riley Nelson; Jake Heaps threw TD passes to Richard Wilson (22 yards) and O'Neill Chambers (9 yards). Heaps connected with Rhen Brown for a 20-yard reception. Linebacker Jameson Frazier was credited with a pair of "whistle" sacks.

Injuries: No new injuries.

Next up: The Cougars will hold a morning practice, then take part in Cougar Kickoff, at Haws Field, which is open to the public.

e-mail: jeffc@desnews.com

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