BYU practice report: Another offensive lineman, Kafu, will be out for awhile
It was a less spirited, less intense BYU practice this morning at the outdoor practice facility in Provo, after Tuesday's fireworks had coach Bronco Mendenhall saying the players were sick of each other. Mendenhall called Wednesday's morning practice "a grind," when asked about this phase of preseason camp. "So yeah, players and coaches get tired of each other, which was manifest yesterday. Then there is a re-set point, which happened today. Then there will be a building [up] stage, and then in about another week it will happen again. Then we will finally get to play an opponent. So, it is a grind," he said. Bad news out of camp today: Offensive lineman Solomone Kafu, a sophomore from Rio Linda, Calif., has a fractured bone in his hand. Kafu will undergo surgery tomorrow to have a plate inserted, and will be out a couple of weeks. When he returns, he will wear a soft cast but should be able to play while wearing it. Running back Jamaal Williams has a sprained left ankle. The freshman watched practice with an ice bag around his ankle, but didn't seem to be walking with a limp. Receiver Mitch Mathews' CT scan Tuesday did not show a problem with his right shoulder or clavicle that was injured over the summer. "So that's a positive," Mendenhall said. Houston Reynolds was back with the ones at center on Wednesday. Blair Tushaus, who is battling with Reynolds to be the starting center, played some guard."Yeah, it is good [to see Reynolds back from sore shins]," Mendenhall said. "I don't think anything is permanent yet at this point. But it is nice to see different combinations of guys. The luxury we are having right now is competition at a lot of different places. That's helped our consistency at practice, because if a player has an off day, or doesn't want to work on a particular day, someone goes by him. That's pretty apparent at a lot of different places." Mendenhall said the Cougars will scrimmage Thursday at the Stadium."About like the first one. I think that ended up being, like, 83 plays, with some penalties, etc. So like that, with about the same guys participating," he said. A lighthearted moment occurred after practice when Bronco's three sons and asst. coach Nick Howell's son had a footrace to the green ice pools, then plunged in as the team watched and applauded. Why didn't Bronco join in?"You know, it is just one of those advantages of being a parent," he said. I asked Mendenhall where he's at the in the process of picking team captains. "Most likely by the end of this week," he said. "So we will probably finish this week, and then pick them. [They will be named] no later than the last practice before we break into Washington State [preparation], which would be about midweek of next week. So right in there." - In Wednesday's 11 on 11 sessions, the highlight was Riley Nelson's 60-yard touchdown pass to converted receiver Alex Kuresa, the former Mountain Crest High quarterback. Nelson was 3-for-4 for 70 yards. Kuresa "is doing a great job on special teams kind of Riley Nelson-like. And our special teams guys love him. So besides returning [kicks], he might be covering, too. So it is fun," Mendenhall said. And how is he doing as a receiver?"He's doing a nice job. And he won't back down. He has a good understanding of the game. His position and route mastery has a ways to go, but he kind of makes up for it with grit and he's a competitor," Mendenhall said. Adam Hine, David Foote and Iona Pritchard got all the carries with freshman Jamaal Williams nursing the bum ankle. Mike Alisa just watched. Is there a problem with Alisa?"Not that I know of. I mean, he has got a million reps so far, so maybe it was just a day to recover a little bit, knowing there is not much else we need to see him do," Mendenhall said. Backup QB James Lark had an off day, going 0-for-2 in the scrimmage. He was intercepted by Mike Hague, and his other throw should have picked off by DeQuan Everett, but it was dropped. Taysom Hill was 3-for-4 for 68 yards and a touchdown pass of 35 yards to Brett Thompson. He also had a 7-yard run.