Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014

BYU football: Cougars produce generally positive performance in spring camp scrimmage

By Brandon Gurney, Deseret News

Published: Sat, March 29 4:35 p.m. MDT

 Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) celebrate a touchdown with Brigham Young Cougars receiver Terenn Houk during the BYU Blue and White game in Provo Saturday, March 29, 2014.

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) celebrate a touchdown with Brigham Young Cougars receiver Terenn Houk during the BYU Blue and White game in Provo Saturday, March 29, 2014.

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO — Approximately 6,500 fans came out to get a first glimpse at this year’s BYU football team during Saturday’s open scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Those fans saw a lot of assumed starters standing on the sidelines while young players and newcomers competed on the field with a few returning contributors — notably quarterback Taysom Hill.

From their vantage point, coaches and players saw a bit of everything.

“We saw a lot of really good things. We saw some bad things. Some things we need to get better at and a lot of good things to build off,” Hill summed up. “As a whole, I was happy with how guys competed and came out and played and battled.”

The team ran 102 total plays — more than anticipated — with several highlights mixed in. Those highlights included Hill hitting Terenn Houk for a 56-yard touchdown pass and Michael Davis for a 54-yard bomb that set up another touchdown.

“I think we saw him at his best,” Hill said about Davis. “It’s kind of his signature thing. Mike’s probably one of the fastest, if not the fastest guy, on the team, and you get him out running in the open field and he’s tough to stop and tough to keep up with.”

Hill followed up his bomb to Davis with a touchdown pass to Kurt Henderson from 9 yards out.

Henderson led the team with six receptions for 74 yards, while JC receiver Nick Kurtz played well with five receptions for 47 yards. Both players received praise from coach Bronco Mendenhall, along with Davis.

Hill finished with 19-of-27 passing for 307 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran the ball nine times for 48 yards. Backup Christian Stewart went 10 of 15 for 68 yards.

Both players and coaches noted the passing game looking as crisp as it has all spring.

“I thought we threw the ball more accurately and more on time than we have consistently for a while,” Mendenhall said.

On defense, BYU's head coach was impressed with the play of safety Dallin Leavitt and linebacker Zac Stout, among others. Defensive highlights included Brock Markham intercepting a pass that was batted up in the air by Stout and Adam Ingersoll recovering a fumble.

The defense was generally pleased with its overall work Saturday.

“We saw a lot of good things and I continue to believe we’re going to be a very good team this year,” said inside linebacker Manoa Pikula. “Our defense did good stopping the run today, but there were some mistakes. I think we were worried with so many defensive linemen being out today, but their backups did real good, I thought.”

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

BYUSN spring football Taysom Hill

BYUSN spring football Bronco Mendenhall

BYUSN spring football John Beck

BYUSN spring football Zac Stout

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1. Darren Rowe
Heber City, UT,
March 30, 2014

Out of all the position groups, I was most impressed with the inside LB's. Pikula didn't play much, but was outstanding when he got on the field and also looked like a great verbal leader out there. Stout, Heder, and Leauta-Douyere (no idea if I spelled that right) played like studs yesterday.

The one thing that makes me cautiously optimistic is that almost all the other positions were missing their starters, so it should be expected that the top MLB's would dominate. The top RB's were out, Mitch and Ross were out, a few of the main OL were out, etc.

I love what Zac Stout is doing and it's a great story to see him come back. I think he will start alongside Pikula with Heder and JLD backing them up, forming a solid two-deep of MLB's this year.