BYU practice report: If Sorensen kicks on game day, Bronco wants a "group hug" from cynical reporters
As reporters were making their way out to the practice field at the conclusion of BYU's Friday morning practice, kicker Justin Sorensen was heading to the locker room. He told me he tried 20 kicks on Friday, and is on track to kick in the opener. Coach Bronco Mendenhall has grown frustrated with reporters asking about Sorensen's progress, but as his five-minute interview wrapped up, I couldn't resist. (It was obvious that Mendenhall was in a decent mood because he had joked earlier in the interview about BYU SID Brett Pyne only being able to type up the depth chart with one finger). Regarding Sorensen being on track, Mendenhall said: "That's where we are. When and if he kicks on game day, I expect a group hug from all of you, saying, man, 'we promise never, ever to doubt you again.' If he doesn't, I have just set myself up, haven't I? I understand." Mendenhall said practice was "really good. Another good day of preparation. I like where we are." The Cougars will have meetings, a light walkthrough/practice on Saturday. No media availability afterwards, however. "You never know until you play, but I like what I see," Mendenhall said.More odds and ends from interviews after practice: * Tight ends coach Lance Reynolds confirmed that Kaneakua Friel is going to be the starting tight end against Washington State. Reynolds said that Austin Holt and Richard Wilson still aren't completely healthy after offseason knee surgeries. As an aside, Holt has consistently said throughout camp that he is 100 percent healthy. * Mendenhall confirmed that Marcus Mathews has been moved to receiver. "Bill Belichek has a great quote: the more you can do, the more you can do," he said. When I asked why the move was made, Mendenhall said: "We are looking for depth." * Mendenhall said the depth chart will probably be released Monday. The Cougars aren't doing their usual Monday morning news conferences this year, so that likely means after practice Monday night. * Asked about what position battles are still going on, Mendenhall mentioned a starting guard spot on the offensive line. That's probably at right guard, where Brock Stringham and Famika Anae and perhaps Solomone Kafu (when he gets back from broken hand) are in the running. * Mendenhall said redshirt freshman Manoa Pikula is backing up Brandon Ogletree at buck linebacker, but could see considerable time because 'Tree is "a little banged up." * Mendenhall said Spencer Hadley and Alani Fua are still battling at strongside linebacker, but "if I had to say today, it would be Spencer ... but could you see both? Probably." * Bronco said DB Cameron Comer stopped attending practices "for personal reasons. He and I met in advance and it is private and personal and I would like to keep it that way." * Mendenhall said latecomer Robbie Buckner has "looked good" in practice since re-joining the team on Monday and that Bucker intercepted a pass his first practice session back.
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