PROVO Sure, it's still the first week of practice, but with 568 fans looking on and with it being the first day of his team wearing full pads, BYU quarterback Max Hall wanted nothing more than to get into the end zone.
So, with the ball resting on the five-yard line, the Cougars' first-team offense faced the first-team defense during 11-on-11 drills. Hall promptly hit Harvey Unga with a short pass and Unga burst into the end zone as Thursday's practice came to a close.
Though Hall acknowledged there's still a lot to work on, he was happy to get a touchdown.
"We had a couple of dropped balls and missed assignments, but the bottom is, on the last drive, we finally got into the end zone," he said. "We finished. That's what it's all about. It was an exciting day. A good day on both sides of the ball."
On that touchdown play, BYU's defense was trying to prevent Unga from scoring but could not.
"When you consider Max and Harvey, in that combination, it's very difficult to stop," coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "We were actually in something that had Harvey with two defenders on him. He's just a very good player."
While there were an inordinate number of dropped passes on the day, there were some sensational plays, including a nice run by freshman running back J.J. DiLuigi; a pass batted down by cornerback Brandon Howard; and a diving catch on an out route by Luke Ashworth.
"We're right on track. We have a good football team," Hall said. "I think the defense is better than everybody thought it would be. The offense is right there, plugging along, getting better."
The Cougars are scheduled to hold their first scrimmage on Saturday.
SORENSEN'S STATUS: Projected starting center Tom Sorensen has consulted with a doctor and will wait a couple of weeks before undergoing surgery. Or he may not need surgery at all, Mendenhall said. Sorensen has received injections in the shoulder to alleviate the pain.
"We'll wait the two-week period to see if it provides relief, to see if it allows him to play at a level he's comfortable with and we're comfortable with," Mendenhall said. "The decision (whether or not to have surgery) is up to him and his doctor."
Meanwhile, Dallas Reynolds is manning Sorensen's spot, having moved from left tackle, and Reynolds' younger brother, Matt, a freshman, has taken over at left tackle.
CHAMBERS' COMMENTS: Freshman wide receiver O'Neill Chambers, who hails from Florida, made some brash comments in a recent ESPN.com article.
Among other things, Chambers said: "There's a difference between returning receivers that are good and returning receivers that shouldn't be on the team. I'm just going to work hard and do what I've got to do and not worry about much. My time will come and time will tell."
Mendenhall said he did not read the article, but he addressed the players about the situation prior to Thursday's practice. He did not talk directly to Chambers about the comments.
"I viewed it as a program failure, really. When I consider the young men that we bring, no matter how much we've educated them prior to the recruiting process, to say that they're prepared for the type of interviews they get, for the attention and for the emotion and energy, I can do a much better job as the head coach of preparing these young men and helping them make the transition from 'me' to 'we."'
Mendenhall added his support of Chambers."Do I think he's the right young man and sincerely wants to be here for the right reasons? I do. The best words are from 'me' to 'we."'