After a couple of weeks of BYU’s offense overpowering the defense, it looks like the things finally evened out on Thursday in the Cougars’ final scrimmage of preseason camp.
However, it wasn’t a complete performance. There were still mistakes that will need to be fixed.
The Cougars plowed through approximately 85 reps — of which only about 30 were full contact — during the scrimmage. Even with the slight change in plans, BYU coach Kalani Sitake said he got “exactly what we wanted” from the final scrimmage.
“It’s been a really physical camp and, looking at our guys, I think that was the best goal for us,” Sitake said. “We were able to keep everyone going and competing. I think it was hard for the offense to move, but I think the defense and offense both did some good things on both sides of the ball.”
Throughout fall camp, the offense has had a main goal in mind: to improve on red zone scoring. While there had been improvement over the last three weeks, there were some major mistakes made on Thursday. Two stood out to offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes: a turnover and a costly penalty, both in the red zone.
Grimes will start looking at how to eliminate those self-inflicted wounds, particularly turnovers and pre-snap penalties.
Other than that, though, Grimes was pleased with how his offense was able to move the ball and score.
“But we also stopped ourselves a number of times and then there were a couple of times where defense just rose up and played really well and stopped us on four downs,” Grimes said. “And I say that’s what you like to have as a coach because it gives you something to chew on and keep them humble, keep them hungry.”
Defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki was less forthcoming to point out specifics with his group, whether good or bad. Off the top of his head, Tuiaki said there were positives and negatives on both sides of the ball, but he’ll have to watch film to fully evaluate.
“The thing that we talk about constantly, we talk to the offensive staff right now, is we know we’re playing a good offensive unit right now — and they know they’re playing a good defensive unit,” Tuiaki said. “And it’s going to go back and forth all the time, and I think that it needs to in order for us to get better.”
Now that focus of fall camp moves from building a foundation to getting ready for the season opener at Navy in two and a half weeks, Sitake said he and his staff will start making decision on their depth chart.
The fifth-year coach stated on Thursday that his staff will work to get the depth chart out as quickly as possible, but there’s still a lot to consider. There are a lot of different players that are able to start in a given position.
Sitake also noted that the upcoming depth chart could look different than what the Cougars had in the spring or even last season.
But when Grimes was asked about the QB battle, the assistant coach wouldn’t say who’s in the lead to earn the starting spot. Currently, Zach Wilson, Jaren Hall and Baylor Romney — all of who started at least one game last season — are vying for the job.
“We’ll just continue to say what we have said, and that’s that all the guys are progressing,” “I know it’s not much information, but they’re all getting better and I think the experience that we have there is certainly showing in practice. … You probably won’t hear much else until we’re ready to announce something.”