Provo • A few days before the start of spring practice, BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall said prized fullback Iona Pritchard would miss the month of workouts as he continues to work his way back from a devastating leg fracture and ankle dislocation he suffered during a scrimmage before last season began.
Apparently, someone forgot to tell Pritchard, the redshirt sophomore from Bingham High.
Although he isn't doing any contact (scrimmage) work yet, Pritchard has been practicing with the team through the first three sessions, having been given partial clearance by head athletic trainer Kevin Morris to get in some work.
"I haven't been doing that much, but I just wanted to come out here and be with the team," Pritchard said. "I am still trying to break through just the soreness and the stiffness of coming back from an injury like that."
Pritchard, who had 14 tackles while playing in all 13 games as a freshman in 2008 before a church mission to the Marshall Islands, missed all of last season with the injury, which Mendenhall described as one of the most severe the coach has ever seen.
"I had no idea he'd be able to come out and run around like he did," Mendenhall said earlier this week. "I didn't think I would see him until the summer. He looked good."
Pritchard said he's about 70 percent to 80 percent healthy, but just can't stand to sit around and watch like he was forced to do last fall.
"I just have to keep my emotions locked up," he said. "I can't let it out yet. I am not full [strength] yet, so I have to hold back. But I am excited [for fall]. I am super excited."
Jorgensen jumps over
Austen Jorgensen's playing time went down considerably in 2011, and the inside linebacker made just seven tackles while appearing in nine games. Now he's a fullback, having made the decision recently to join the guys who wear the blue jerseys in practice.
"Austen wanted a chance to see if he could play fullback, and the offensive staff endorsed it, as did I," Mendenhall said. "We have some good young linebackers coming up as well. It seems to add depth at the fullback spot, so it might be a good position for him."
Stout is back
Sophomore linebacker Zac Stout, who sat out the 2011 season with a knee injury, is one of those rising young linebackers that Mendenhall referenced.
Stout is doing "really good," Mendenhall said. "He's really excited to be back playing, and the knee looks good. He is going to have to add some more leg strength, but he is running well, changing direction well."
Weighing in on the bid
Count Mendenhall among those who believe the BYU basketball team deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament.
"We deserve one," Mendenhall said with a laugh. "Since I am such a basketball expert, yeah, I would love to see us in the tournament. And if I was voting, I would vote us in. â¦ I saw one [game] this year. Not because I don't support them, but because there's a lot going on."
BYU spring practice Day 3 highlights
• Quarterback Riley Nelson was 9 of 10 for 86 yards and a TD in the non-padded scrimmage.
• Receiver Cody Hoffman caught a touchdown pass and laid out for a 25-yard catch on the frozen ground.