Provo • Mike Alisa said it felt like going home.
Cleared to carry the football in a contact scrimmage for the first time since he fractured his forearm nearly 11 months ago in a 47-0 win over Hawaii, the BYU running back said he was “totally comfortable” earlier this week. Now he’s got to get into better shape.
“I think right now, I would probably be in good shape for any other offense,” Alisa said. “But our offense is a marathon runner’s offense. You got to be able to go and go and never slow down.”
Alisa said “that’s the plan,” when asked if he will be able to play against Virginia on Aug. 31 (1:30 p.m. MDT, ESPNU).
A few weeks before camp, Alisa’s comeback was slowed when doctors determined he needed a new plate attached to the once-fractured bone because the old plate was still causing pain. He said the thought of redshirting this season has not crossed his mind.
“I will play this year,” he said.
Praise for Hoffman
After the offense struggled to move the ball during stretches of Wednesday’s scrimmage, quarterback Taysom Hill reminded reporters that most of that unit’s stars saw little, if any, action in the five or so series at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Most notably, receivers Cody Hoffman and JD Falslev and running back Jamaal Williams didn’t play. Tight end Kaneakua Friel was in for only a few plays.
“Cody was pretty freakin’ good last year,” Hill said, when asked if Hoffman could have a better year in 2013 than in 2012. “I would just say that Cody is Cody. He is a great athlete. He makes great catches. He has gotten better every day.”
Hill said Hoffman is good because he catches everything thrown his way and he has a good feel for what defenses are doing.
“If they are going to do this, he is going to do that, and get open and sit in that window,” Hill said.
Projected starting center Terrance Alletto has been close to perfect on his shotgun snaps back to the quarterbacks, but the guys behind him have struggled at times. Some snaps have dribbled back to the quarterback; others have sailed high over the signal-caller’s head.
“We can’t afford to have any mishaps on that,” Hill said. “Here at BYU, we have seen what happens when we don’t get those snaps. Boise State, Utah [games] come to mind from last year. We can’t afford to do that.”
The Cougars celebrated the end of fall camp Thursday with a paint gun battle while the coaches were drawing up a game-plan for Virginia. Other team activities this month have included bowling and a float tube trip down the Provo River. … Receiver Ross Apo is among 35 players on the watch list for the inaugural Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award. The award recognizes the top offensive player in college football who either was born in Texas, graduated from a Texas high school or played at a Texas-based junior college or four-year college.
BYU at Virginia
O Aug. 31, 1:30 p.m.
TV • ESPNU