To take advantage of the mild weather, Brigham Young University is moving its spring football practice up a week. It now begins Monday instead of a week from Monday.
The annual Pigskin Preview scrimmage is scheduled for March 23. It will be preceded by a motivational seminar which is free to the public.The Cougars will try to hold 15 spring practices in the required 22 day period. Most of the practices will be Monday through Friday. However, Saturdays will be used as an option if there is bad weather. Practices are scheduled from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
Edwards, who enters his 20th season as the third winningest active football coach in the nation, welcomes 46 returning lettermen from last year's WAC championship team. Fourteen starters and 23 lettermen were lost from the 10-3 squad which lost to Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl.
Three of the eight starters returning from the 17th-ranked (UPI) Cougars are on offense, including Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer, who returns for his senior season. Detmer will be sidelined during spring practices as he recuperates from shoulder surgery.
With Detmer out of spring practices, the quarterbacking duties will be split five ways among Joe Evans, Brock Spencer, Ryan Hancock, Garth Fennegan and Tom Young.
Evans, a 6-1, 195, senior from Orem backed up Detmer last season. Spencer, 6-4, 195, a sophomore from Clearfield was the main quarterback for the junior varsity. Hancock, 6-2, 205, a freshman from Cupertino, Calif., redshirted in football, but has been very effective as a relief pitcher on the Cougar baseball team. Fennegan, 6-1, 190, sophomore from Harlingen, Texas, redshirted this last season after transferring from Clemson, but was sidelined last fall because of thumb surgery. Young, a 6-1, 170, sophomore from Greenwich, Conn., is the younger brother of former Cougar Steve Young.
"Ty won't be able to do anything in spring practices," said Edwards. "We had made a decision before Ty was injured last year that we weren't going to use him this spring.
"We are going to be young and talented, but we lack a lot of experience. These spring practices will help us shore up some areas where we are weak."
Joining Detmer as the returning offensive starters are offensive tackle Bryan May, a 6-7, 290, senior and fullback Peter Tuipulotu, a 5-11, 205, senior.
On defense the Cougars return five starters: linebackers Rocky Biegel, 6-2, 225, and Scott Giles, 6-4, 225, both seniors, and Shad Hansen, a 6-1, 240, junior; and defensive backs Tony Crutchfield, 5-10, 190, senior, and Derwin Gray, a 5-10, 185, sophomore. Biegel will not participate in spring drills because of shoulder surgery.
Also missing from spring drills because of surgery will be Crutchfield (knee), Brad Hunter (ankle) and Jared Leavitt (neck).
Two tight end candidates who were hopeful of filling the void left by unanimous All-American Chris Smith will be limited in spring participation because of recent injuries. Incoming freshman Todd Jorgensen, who sat out last year because of knee surgery, was expected to be in spring practices but will now be in a cast because of a broken hand. Junior Byron Rex recently had surgery for a broken thumb.