BYU Sports

BYU football: Optimism abounds as Cougars begin spring practices

First Published      Last Updated Feb 28 2017 09:39 am

The offseason is over for the BYU football team, as linebacker Butch Pau'u put it Monday, as the Cougars started spring practices at the Indoor Practice Facility bright and early Monday morning.

Here's my report from the first day, a closer look at the quarterback situation — one of the more stable QB situations I can remember the past 10 years.

Obviously, Tanner Mangum is the man and Beau Hoge, Koy Detmer Jr. and Kody Wilstead are the backups. Young Tanner (confusing name, I know) and Jeremiah Evans are also on the roster.

"It was just nice that we had a system already set," was coach Kalani Sitake's take on the first day of spring camp. "We have guys that are veterans and know our deal. I am really pleased with how the ones worked on defense and offense. We will have to watch some film, but for the first day I was pleased. We had a couple miscues with center miscues, but that happens. I think we had a couple of those today. But not as much as we have had in the past. For Day 1 it was really good."

Sitake reiterated what Ed Lamb said in a teleconference last week: The Cougars will focus on fundamentals and technique and not so much on competition and position battles, like they did last year when the staff had been on the job for just a couple months.

"There are a lot of new guys in different spots as well, and so we are trying to develop some depth. I think all the coaches at this time say the same stuff, and so I think everyone is trying to improve.

We understand that there is a game in the fall, so right now we are not in the best game shape. Right now, we will work toward that and we will get stronger, so we are trying to improve our technique and improve as a team, and at the same time still get stronger in the weight room," Sitake said.

I summed up some of the more newsier items with the aforementioned story, but here is a more complete rundown of those:

* Projected starting cornerback Dayan Lake has asked to be called Dayan Ghanwoloku this year. I've put in a request to interview No. 5 on Wednesday when the next media availability session is conducted to get the story behind it.

* Projected starting safety Matt Hadley is getting a tryout of sorts at running back, a position he played in high school in Washington.

"At this point, still in conversation mode with he and coach Sitake," Ed Lamb told me last week. "He would be giving up a lot on defense. But we feel like he has a lot to offer on offense. He's also a good kick returner … We haven't talked to far with anybody else, but Matt might be a guy that could get some snaps on the other side of the ball throughout spring."

Sitake said linebacker Kavika Fonua will also get a look at running back this spring.

Ty Detmer said now is the time to see what guys can do in different positions.

"This is the time of year where you can experiment a little bit," Detmer said. "[Hadley] has got a lot of experience at safety, and so we feel like he knows the defense, so he can come over and give us an opportunity to evaluate him at running back and see if he can help us there and make a difference there. It is really kind of that experimental time of year where you are trying guys at different spots to see where they can help contribute."

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