Provo • Effort, energy and enthusiasm were there for BYU’s offense Friday morning, but the execution was not.
That was offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes’ assessment after the second live scrimmage of spring camp, a scrimmage moved indoors for the second straight week due to inclement weather.
“I think they came out and played it like a game, which is a positive,” Grimes said. “But way too many mistakes, really far more than we have had in any practice to this point.”
Among the mistakes were five false start penalties by Grimes’ count and three fumbles. A particularly annoying fumble came when freshman running back Zach Katoa was about to score a touchdown. Defenders pounced on the loose ball in the end zone.
“We had three balls on the ground, which obviously was way too many,” Grimes said. “And one was a fumbled exchange, one was a back who got hit on the ball going in to score. That sort of thing will cost us games. We are going to make a really strong point about that. Those guys know that if they can’t hang onto the football, they won’t be playing.”
Grimes chalked up the miscues to young players feeling too much anxiety.
“The thing I told them at the end is we got plenty of talent here. It is not an issue of talent here,” Grimes said. “It is an issue of guys being able to play with energy and poise at the same time. … We are practicing with passion and energy and enthusiasm, and guys are playing with great effort. Now we have to play with a little bit more poise and execute better.”
After admitting that the offense “got the upper hand” in the scrimmage last week, coach Kalani Sitake said Friday’s exercise was close to a draw. Several defensive standouts, including linebackers Sione Takitaki and Butch Pau’u and defensive end Corbin Kaufusi, were held out so younger, inexperienced players could get valuable reps.
“I was pleased with what we saw on both sides of the ball,” Sitake said. “There were a lot of mistakes that we need to fix. … I thought on both sides it was pretty clean, other than a few mistakes, which you expect at this point of the season.”
Aside from the false starts, the offensive line performed well and opened holes for Katoa, Squally Canada, Riley Burt and Kavika Fonua. Canada ran for two touchdowns, including a nifty 35-yarder where he showed a good burst and plenty of speed.
“We had some missed tackles and things like that, but for the most part the O line did a great job of getting some holes open and really pushing up front,” Sitake said.
In personnel notes, safeties coach Preston Hadley confirmed that running back Austin Kafentzis has been moved to defense and will play safety. Kafentzis already has made some nice plays in practice at his new position.
Tight end Joe Tukuafu will miss the remaining two weeks of spring camp after fracturing his right hand in Wednesday’s practice.
• Senior Squally Canada rushed for two touchdowns.
• Quarterbacks Joe Critchlow, Zach Wilson and Beau Hoge were not off-limits to tackling and scrambled for a lot of yards.
• Backup quicker Andrew Mikkelsen made a 30-yard field goal.