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BYU football: Battle for Cougars' third-string QB job continues

Published August 17, 2012 1:14 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • Clearly, BYU's starting quarterback this year will be Riley Nelson, the senior who basically rescued the season last year when since-departed Jake Heaps was foundering. Fellow senior James Lark is going to be Nelson's backup, as Thursday's scrimmage illustrated.

Nelson and Lark directed four series each, while freshman Taysom Hill and junior Jason Munns got just one chance each to show what they could do. The other quarterback on the roster, Ammon Olsen, did not play and is seemingly headed for a redshirt year.

A day after throwing an interception in practice and another ball that should have been picked, Lark had his best showing ever in a BYU scrimmage. He was 6 for 8 for 60 yards and a perfectly-thrown 15-yard touchdown pass to Kurt Henderson.

But the real battle is for third string.

Coach Bronco Mendenhall said neither Hill nor Munns separated himself in the all-important race to determine who gets a leg up next year, although Munns moved the team a little bit better on Thursday.

"I think it is the same, as of right now," said Mendenhall, who hinted earlier this week that Hill had a slight lead. "I don't think anything emerged differently than maybe what it has been to this point."

Hill was sacked twice, and almost picked off by Colorado State transfer Drew Reilly (ineligible this season) in his three plays from scrimmage before a punt.

Showing some versatility, Hill kicked one of four PAT attempts. Asked if Hill is going to play this season (rather than redshirt), Mendenhall replied: "I would say it is likely."

Sorensen still out

Hill and Riley Stephenson handled the kicking chores Thursday because Justin Sorensen hasn't practiced since having back surgery last winter.

"Every day that [Sorensen] oesn't kick adds increasing concern," Mendenhall said. " I am still not coming off what I am hopeful for, and that is [he's ready for] Washington State. But yeah, each day that there is not kicking from him, I am more concerned."

Moving up

Mendenhall said Wednesday that Eathyn Manumaleuna, Ian Dulan (still out with back pain), Russell Tialavea and Romney Fuga are the main four defensive linemen and that the rest of the pack is battling to be the fifth and sixth guys who will likely make the traveling squad. That changed Thursday.

"If I were to say today, it is probably Mike Muehlmann at five and Remington Peck at six, with Bronson Kaufusi closing fast after his mission," Mendenhall said.

Briefly

A "really good" officiating crew from the Big 12 worked the scrimmage, Mendenhall said. … Defensive lineman Theodore King of San Jose showed well and "has a lot of potential," Mendenhall said. "Just a true freshman, though, so a ways to go."

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter: @drewjay