BYU football: Cougars seek depth at receiver
Provo • Already, BYU's new receivers coach looks to be a difficult man to please.
On Monday, when asked if the Cougars' young group has been progressing at a reasonable rate this spring, his answer was simple and to the point.
"No," said Ben Cahoon, adding a few moments later, "They're working hard, though. I love this group. They're improving."
There are plenty of questions to be answered during spring practices concerning BYU's receiving group. The front line of juniors Cody Hoffman and J.D. Falslev and sophomore Ross Apo is solid.
Hoffman caught 61 balls in 2011 for 10 scores and nearly 1,000 yards. Apo added nine touchdowns, while he and Falslev combined for 65 receptions and 800 yards.
Falslev has been cleared to practice after a bout of ankle tendinitis, but he may be held out the remainder of the spring as a precaution.
However, the questions at the position begin at the next level of wideouts. The group has potential, but they are also young.
"When you put Cody Hoffman, J.D. Falslev and Ross Apo on the field at the same time, I'm pretty comfortable there," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "The second tier of receivers, four, five and six spring's going to have a lot to say about that."
So far, Mitch Mathews, a 6-foot-6 freshman who returned from an LDS Church mission, has garnered favorable reviews. Sophomore Brett Thompson and freshman Cody Raymond have also begun to be noticed. Mendenhall said Raymond could be the heir apparent to Falslev.
Freshman Terenn Houk and juniors Skyler Ridley and Dallin Cutler are also fighting their way up the depth chart.
"We have a lot of depth," said Hoffman, who is entering his second season with more confidence and knowledge of the offense. "We just have to work together to play fast so we don't have to think too much. We can be a deadly group."
So this spring, Hoffman has picked right up from last fall. He's catching everything that comes his way.
If Cahoon is reserved about his group as a whole, he felt just the opposite about Hoffman.
"I'm extremely happy with the way Cody has approached spring ball," he said. "He has great work ethic. He's really a leader and is setting a standard out there that we can expect from the position."
For Cahoon, absorbing the offense cold is the key for anyone who wants to step up and make an immediate contribution.
"You can't play this position if you're out there thinking," he said. "It's hard to catch the ball if you are thinking about routes. Once it becomes second nature, then you can go out there and do your thing."
• Cody Hoffman was BYU's leading receiver in 2011 with 61 catches for 10 TDs.
• J.D. Falslev has been slowed by ankle tendinitis and may miss the remainder of spring practice.
• Six players are fighting for three backup slots behind Hoffman, Falslev and Ross Apo.