PROVO BYU's final scrimmage of fall camp consisted mostly of backup players and it showed. Almost every starter was sidelined Wednesday while the second-, third-, and fourth-stringers saw action.
It got ugly at times. How ugly? Out of five punts attempted, four were blocked. There were three interceptions and only one offensive touchdown.
"The intent, first of all, was to allow every two, three or four on our team to play and show exactly where they stand," coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "I was disappointed, would be the overall reaction, of not only knowledge of assignment, execution and effort overall.
"My hope was that I would see guys that we'd have to be saying, 'We have to consider this player to play now and possibly move him up.' What I saw in general was a lack of readiness. Not only offensively and defensively, there were drop-offs from our one's. Our special teams dropped off even more than that, with a few key players so poor in fundamentals and
assignments that we couldn't function."
Blake Morgan, Landon Jaussi and Matt Marshall each had blocked punts, while Tevita Hola, Jeff Bell and Travis Uale each recorded an interception. Backup quarterback Brenden Gaskins completed 10-of-15 passes for 90 yards and two interceptions, while No. 3 QB Kurt McEuen was 7-of-14 for 65 yards and one interception. No. 4 quarterback Stephen Covey led the only touchdown drive of the day, connecting with J.J. DiLuigi for a 57-yard pass, then running in for a score from two yards out.
As for the blocked punts, Mendenhall said, "It's disappointing. Especially when those are our backups. So if a player goes down and one of those players was in the game, you certainly don't want to see it on game day.
"The best thing that happened was, we saw it today, with a week-and-a-half to go (before the season-opener against Northern Iowa). Either it's the wrong player in the wrong spot or it's the right player blocking it that we haven't considered yet."
There may have been some other bright spots from the scrimmage, Mendenhall said.
"If it uncovered a punt blocker, if it uncovered a running back or a receiver or another defensive back, then it was worth the format today. There might be some positives to come out of it," he said.
CAMP WRAPPING UP: While Mendenhall didn't like what he saw overall in Wednesday's scrimmage, he likes what he's seen overall in fall camp.
"We feel like we have a really good team," he said. "I think it's the farthest any team has been since I've been the coach. I think we've accomplished the goals and objectives that we had set out, and I feel good about our team knowing that we're as healthy as we've ever been. We're as talented as we've ever been. Our execution is solid. Right now, my hope was, after today, I'd feel better about our depth.
"But that's not what I feel. The players in front of them, I feel very good about."
COLLIE UPDATE: BYU wide receiver Austin Collie, who suffered a stress fracture in his leg prior to fall camp, is still on track to play in the season-opener on Aug. 30. During fall camp, Collie has been getting up at 6:30 a.m. to run and swim. In fact, he's been spending a lot of time in the pool.
"I was talking to the swim coach and told him I was swimming 900 to 1,000 yards a day," Collie said. "I said, 'If you need me, let me know.' I was just joking around with him. He said, 'Well, you have to do a little bit more than that.' I asked him how much and he said, 'The swim team swims about 10 miles a day.' I was only doing about a half mile. It humbled me a little bit."PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Instead of practicing today, BYU players will participate in lifting and a team activity while the coaches will spend most of the day in their offices, finalizing the game plan for the season-opener. Friday's practice will be similar to a Monday practice of a normal game week, with emphasis on Northern Iowa.