Provo • For the BYU Cougars, the dog days of preseason training camp are here.
With camp close to reaching its midpoint, that was head coach Bronco Mendenhall’s assessment on Tuesday, although conditions were pleasant thanks to some high clouds above the outdoor practice facility on campus.
“It was a doldrum day,” Mendenhall said, joking about how he “tried to launch a flare” on Monday night to warn media members. “I will shoot it higher next time.”
Still, the coach said it was a good practice, and featured a lot of work on special teams and situations in the red zone.
“It seems like camp has gone on forever, already,” Mendenhall said. “The team is relatively healthy, peaking toward the scrimmage Friday night. And so I feel good about where we are.”
Mendenhall has often said training camp is about a week too long, and didn’t rule out the possibility of one year having the players report a week later than usual.
“I am tempted to, because I know a lot of coaches now that don’t use their double-days when they have them. I know of coaches that skip a practice or two for some kind of team activity. They are not doing those things because they feel like they [don’t have enough time]. And so, yeah, it could happen.”
Receiver Devon Blackmon, the transfer from Riverside (Calif.) College who began his college career at Oregon, said via Twitter on Monday that he has been suspended for the opener against UConn and will make his BYU debut on Sept. 6 at Texas.
Mendenhall reiterated Tuesday, when asked to comment on the Blackmon situation, that he won’t publicly the discuss punishments such as the one handed out to the junior from Fontana, Calif.
“Any matters with our team, discipline-wise, will be internal. It seems like this generation likes to have their own press conferences through selfies, etc., but I am not going to do that,” Mendenhall said.
To Dye for a TD
Freshman inside receiver Trey Dye has been a pleasant surprise in camp, and on Tuesday he continued to shine, catching a high pass from backup quarterback Christian Stewart for a touchdown. Dye appears to be battling Stanford transfer Keanu Nelson for the starting slot receiver spot.
“We still have to tell him where to align, but if you can get him the ball, it is hard to catch him,” Mendenhall said of the son of former BYU great James Dye. “And so, we will put a lot more time and effort into his assignments.”
Add former Bingham High star Tuni Kanuch’s name to the list of players expected to be contributors this season who have yet to practice. Mendenhall said Kanuch, who moved from defensive line to offensive line last spring, is still rehabbing an injury.
Sophomore QB McCoy Hill was back on the field doing some limited drills Tuesday, just two weeks after having minor knee surgery. … Adam Hine, Michael Davis and Devon Blackmon were the primary kick returners when the Cougars worked on kickoffs Tuesday. … Receivers coach Guy Holliday said receiver Nick Kurtz will have a screw inserted into his left foot, but doesn’t know whether that changes the 6-8 week timetable for the junior college transfer’s return.
O What we learned • Projected starting linebackers Manoa Pikula (academics), Bronson Kaufusi (hamstring) still haven’t practiced yet, but LB coach Paul Tidwell said LB Zac Stout (hamstring) should be back practicing some time this week.
Who was hot • Freshman Tejan Koroma ran with the ones at center on Tuesday and is probably the strongest or second-strongest player on the team, coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
Who was out • Receivers coach Guy Holliday said WR Nick Kurtz will have a screw inserted into his left foot due to a stress fracture. Kurtz is expected to be out 6-8 weeks.