Brandon Gurney

Deseret News

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BYU football: Top 10 storylines for spring practices (10 items)

By Brandon Gurney

Deseret News

March 2, 2014

BYU's football team kicks off its spring practice Monday with a lot of accompanying storylines. Here are 10 such storylines we'll be keeping a close eye on over the coming month:

1 of 10. 1. Battle for backup quarterback

Quality depth behind starting quarterback Taysom Hill took a hit when Ammon Olsen decided to transfer back to Southern Utah in the offseason. Olsen backed up the spot last season and was considered by most to be a very adequate replacement for Hill if called upon.

Olsen’s transfer leaves the backup duties fairly wide open this spring. Billy Green (6-2, 206) will be participating in his second spring practice session and should be primed to compete for the role along with Christian Stewart (6-2, 201), who was the third-string QB last season.

Both players should see plenty of reps this spring to prove themselves worthy of the role. Stewart should have the inside track to the spot unless Green proves otherwise.

2 of 10. 2. Development of Bronson Kaufusi

It was announced in the offseason that Bronson Kaufusi, who started at defensive end in 2013, will make the switch to outside linebacker. Kyle Van Noy made outside linebacker the marquee position at BYU and Kaufusi will attempt to replace at least some of that same play-making ability.

Kaufusi has remarkable agility for a 6-foot-7 athlete and should be a good fit for the spot. We’ll be keeping tabs on what strides he makes at the spot throughout March.

3 of 10. 3. Trent Trammell

Trammell (6-0, 190) tore his ACL on the very first day of spring practices last year and sat out the entire 2013 season as a result. He’s now fully recovered and looking to make the type of impact most assumed he’d make last season.

Coaches have raved about Trammell’s ability since he transferred to the program from San Francisco College last year. He should see plenty of reps this spring and will look to lock down the open starting cornerback spot opposite Jordan Johnson.

4 of 10. 4. What to do with Robertson Daniel?

Robertson Daniel turned out to be a lifesaver for last year’s secondary — transferring to the program just after Trammell’s injury and providing solid play throughout 2013. The De Anza junior college transfer showed he was capable of playing boundary corner last season and could certainly fill that same role this year.

Considering the return of Trammell and Jordan Johnson, a position may be in store for Daniel as a result. Coach Bronco Mendenhall likes to play his best players, regardless of position, and it won’t be surprising if the four best defensive backs prove to be Trammell, Johnson, Craig Bills and Daniel.

Considering Daniel’s size, and ability to tackle, it seems a switch to either strong or free safety may be in store. If the move doesn’t happen this spring, it could very well happen during the fall practice session.

5 of 10. 5. Nick Kurtz and Michael Davis

BYU scored big on the recruiting front signing Grossmont Junior College transfer Nick Kurtz. Everything about the 6-foot-6 receiver strongly indicates a strong immediate impact is in store, and we’ll begin to learn of that impact this spring.

Michael Davis played at cornerback last season after entering the program as a receiver prospect. He’s now switched back to receiver and will have this spring to find a role for himself at the position. Speed is perhaps Davis’ biggest asset, and the offense could certainly use someone who can stretch the field consistently.

Both junior college transfer Devon Blackmon and UTEP transfer Jordan Leslie could also make huge impacts at receiver, but both players won’t arrive until fall.
1. The Deuce
Livermore, CA,
March 2, 2014

There is only one story line that we want to hear, and it is about winning. Bronco has typically put too much hype and nonsense into the Spring season of football. I want to hear how the program will start to move forward with a change in coaching staff and about recruiting impact players. All else is a noice story line for TV.

2. wallyball
SALT LAKE CITY, UT,
March 2, 2014

I would think the kicking game would be of some concern. Sorenson was actually quite reliable last year. Punting was an up and down affair.

3. water rocket
Magna, UT,
March 2, 2014

BYU was one of the teams most responsible for the West Coast Offense that revolutionized college and pro teams from a "run first" philosophy to a "passing attack". Now that pretty much every team in college and pro football has learned how to play and defend it, it is time to "revolutionize" the offense once again. BYU has some very good recruits, but lets face it, they can't out recruit teams on the east and west coasts, especially those in power conferences and in larger population centers. Plus, they have such high academic standards that many of the muscle jocks simply don't have the interest in academics BYU requires. So maybe it is time that BYU takes a lesson from basketball and utilize tandem (two at the same time) QB's, where one is the play making, signal calling, under center point guard/quarterback, and the other is in a drop back or wing "set up" position, for a quicker passing attack. Talk about "go fast, go hard", it would be even faster than the current system and present challenges for opposing defenses that no other team offers.

4. BlackDiamond
Provo, UT,
March 2, 2014

The football team seems to always look good on paper but they have not looked good on the field. Hopefully that one day they will live up to the hype that we hear every spring ball.

5. CougarColby
Fort Benning, GA,
March 3, 2014

I'm not sure that I like the idea of Kaufusi and Alisa playing linebacker positions. Why switch players from their natural positions to play something else (I know Alisa was a LB prior, but how long since he played a meaningful snap at that position...)? What does it matter if you have the best athletes on the field, but they don't know their positions very well?

Hopefully the receivers will really stretch the field and Taysom has been working on his accuracy! He has a lot of weapons this year.