Spring football day two – BYUCougars.com
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BYU conducted its second practice of spring ball on Thursday morning. Select the following photo gallery link to view some of the scenes from practice and read below what some of the coaches and players had to say after practice.
Defensive coordinator ‘Ilaisa Tuiaki:
We are a work in progress. There are a lot of positives. I love the way that they are as kids. We are focusing on technique and being more fundamentally sound. They are getting the scheme a lot faster than we had anticipated. They care enough to study during their off time.
Strongest defensive group:
Right now, I think the backers look really good. There is a verteran group there, along with getting Francis Bernard over there. When the D-line is healthy, they will be really good.
Goals for spring ball:
We are more worried about getting them technique than we are about figuring out how tough they are. We are also working on getting them stronger and faster. I think our huddle tempo has been good to give them the right amount of rest and we’re not going very fast, which gives them an opportunity to catch up. That’s when you start to see injuries, when guys are using bad technique and are tired. We just want to avoid injury and get everyone to that first game.
Offensive line coach Mike Empey
In these first couple of days for the offensive line, I told them that the biggest thing is technique. They are a competitive group and are ready to go. We can’t really evaluate until we have time in pads. There are some new skills that they are challenged with, but I felt like today was much better than Tuesday. I am encouraged and excited by their progress.
I don’t have depth overall right now, but I have depth of experience. I have guys who have played different positions.
We want to keep the “go hard” part, but I want them to stop and talk to me to be able to teach them. It’s been fun for me because the biggest challenge you usually have with the offensive line is getting them to hustle. These guys hustle everywhere. It’s better to try to slow them down than to make them hustle. They appreciate the fact that while we are going hard, we can slow down to teach them specific things and give feedback. We need a little bit of time to teach them proper technique.
Senior wide receiver Nick Kurtz
The feeling of spring ball and a new coaching staff:
It’s definitely been really fun for me, I think a lot of the guys will tell you the same thing. It’s a lot different than before. Coach Sitake kind of lightens it up a little bit. He’s there just to help us out. I really like the feeling of it.
On new receivers coach Ben Cahoon:
Coach Cahoon is very technical. He’s not afraid to go strap up his cleats and go out there with you and run some routes, so that is pretty cool because it’s kind of a new aspect. I like that, because you can trust where he has been. He was a CFL Hall of Famer, he’s got a good background and he played here and did great. So it’s fun to have him and you can trust what he’s having you do.
On who is stepping up among receivers:
There are a lot of guys who are doing really well. You’ve got Akile Davis who has really been impressing me lately. Moroni Laulu-Pututau is a great receiver, who has kind of already proven himself. You see guys like Josh Weeks who moved to tight end who is getting a lot of catches now. Micah Simon too as a receiver, who played quarterback in high school but played defensive back last year, but I think he is more of a natural receiver. And the two Juergens twins, and I am sure there are a lot of guys that are also doing great, but it’s fun to watch new guys step up.
Sophomore linebacker Francis Bernard
Spring ball and switching to defense:
It’s been exciting. It’s been thrilling. There are a lot of new things that come with it, but for the most part, it’s been fun.
Why the switch to defense?
I thought my strengths were more on the physical side. Just being able to utilize it to my full potential, I thought I could utilize it more on defense. That’s why I made the transition.
How did the position switch come about?
It was mutual between me and the coaches. The coaches brought it up and I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah. Let’s go for it.’
How has experience on offense helped you with playing defense?
I think it has helped me a lot with coverage just being able to know or anticipate what a running back or what a receiver is going to come out and do. If they try to get me to move, I know what they’re going to do, and it’s helped me out a lot.