PROVO Fui Vakapuna, the senior fullback who has nursed a sore hamstring the first week of BYU football camp, saw extensive work in Tuesday's practice.
"It's fun to be able to see him move faster," Mendenhall said of Vakapuna, who has a key role now that lead blocker Manase is ineligible for the season.
"He knows what to do. It's just a matter of getting hit and hitting. He's making progress. Sure, it's slower than he or I would like, but today is the first sign of being able to push him a little bit."
Mendenhall, who scripted most of BYU's practices in advance of camp, with an eye on tweaking the emphasis as needed, said he would throw in more run offense and run-stop defensive plays and allot more time to some aspects of special teams play in days to come.
Max Hall fired touchdown passes to Michael Reed and tight ends Andrew George and Dennis Pitta during segments dealing with blue zone and goal-line drills. He also hooked up with Spencer Hafoka on a 40-yard scoring pass in 11-on-11 drills earlier in practice.
Mendenhall said he liked the firepower by the offense, and it created a teaching moment for the defense when it comes out on the field.
"If the defense doesn't have a sense of urgency, they give up field position to the offense and then blue-zone scoring and goal-line scoring," he said. "The offense was very proficient and the defense has to do better."
Mendenhall said he could see a veteran offense heating up. "With the players like Dennis Pitta and Harvey Unga back in there, we're a different team, as we expected we should be coming in."
EXTRA POINTS: The return specialists will be Austin Collie, Michael Reed and Luke Ashworth. Mendenhall said the ideal would be for Collie to handle both duties, and he was presented with the choice coming out of spring. Collie has not practiced this fall camp. "His conditioning will determine it," said Mendenhall. "So will his durability."
Center Tom Sorensen was suited up but did not practice. Mendenhall said Sorensen (shoulder) is a week away from a proper evaluation to determine if he should make contact. When asked if he needed to narrow down a starter at center with Dallas Reynolds, R.J. Willing or Sorensen, he said, "I don't see a sense of urgency right now."
Andrew Rich has been playing significant time at free safety and is viewed as a candidate for strong safety. With David Tafuna out with a concussion, Jordan Pendleton saw some time with the first team. Because Rich can play both positions, Mendenhall said Pendleton joins Shiloah Te'o and Daniel Sorensen in a cluster for a spot behind Rich.Former head coach LaVell Edwards attended Tuesday's solo practice as did former Cougars DE Setema Gali, C Sete Aulai and TE Tevita Ofahengaue.