BYU football: Mendenhall touts Cougars' athleticism
Provo • BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall learned a couple new things about his team after watching film over the weekend of Saturday's open practice and event-ending scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"I think our team is deeper and more athletic that what I had noticed [before]," Mendenhall said. "More players, playing faster. ... That's what I have seen. We have enough running backs. We have enough receivers. I like our quarterbacks. The skill players, in particular [on offense], showed that to me.
"Our kicking game is improving, and the defensive execution is just getting better and better."
Monday, that defensive execution suffered a big blow when BYU revealed that projected starting field corner Jordan Johnson tore his ACL and is out for the season.
Mendenhall said the film also showed that of the eight new offensive linemen in the program, true freshmen Brayden Kearsley and Thomas Shoaf and junior college transfer De'Ondre Wesley are performing the best.
Kearsley and Wesley "are head-and-shoulders above the rest ... and I am encouraged by Thomas Shoaf, the freshman," Mendenhall said. "If he were heavier, at this point [he would be just as impressive]. But he is athletic. He is tough, and he is really doing a nice job."
Linebackers healing up
Projected starting outside linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Spencer Hadley, returning starters, still have not participated in the 11-on-11 scrimmages that end each practice. Mendenhall said both are nursing slight hamstring tweaks, but in reality both are easing into contact because they already know their positions so well.
Van Noy could possibly go full-tilt on Thursday.
"Based on the NFL traffic coming in already, they love Spencer, how hard he plays, and how productive he is," Mendenhall said. "So if Kyle is ranked [high], Spencer is not far behind him. Certainly the accolades and attention are quite different. But there are a lot of folks that really like Spencer."
Mendenhall said offensive lineman Edward Fusi, a junior college transfer, had taken three of the four tests he needed to take to get academically eligible to join the team and was scheduled to take the fourth one soon, perhaps Monday. ... Sophomore Terenn Houk had some nice catches Monday and has gone from being an "academic risk" in the spring, according to Mendenhall, to "doing a nice job." ... Senior inside linebacker Uani Unga, who has been placed on scholarship, turned in the defensive highlight of Monday morning's practice by intercepting a pass thrown by Ammon Olsen.