Linebacker Ezekiel Ansah pressures quarterback James Lark during Saturday's scrimmage. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah - Playing in front of over 7,500 fans, the BYU football team held a spring scrimmage sponsored by Orbit Irrigation on Saturday afternoon at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The team participated in a modifed practice open to the public, running a few warmup drills, some 7-on-7 work and ended the day with about 40 plays of full 11-on-11 scrimmage time. After the practice session fans were invited to the field to meet coaches and players for autographs and photos.
Most of the usual starters were held out of the scrimmage portion due to injuries or as preventative measures. With those players on the sidelines many of BYU's backups and up-and-coming talent was able to get valuable game-like playing time.
"It was fun to see a lot of the younger players play," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said, citing performances by Manoa Pikula, Adam Hine, Taysom Hill and McCoy Hill among others.
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Mendenhall also complimented seniors Ezekiel Ansah, Mike Hague and James Lark. Ansah showed he can be an active contributor at linebacker or defensive end while Hague impressed with his leadership and command of the defense from his safety spot. Backup quarterback James Lark received Mendenhall's praise for his excellent body of work over the course of the entire spring.
Lark took the first series and handed the ball off to running back Josh Quezada for the first two plays. Quezada picked up 11 yards on his two carries to set up a 14-yard completion to running back Austen Jorgensen, a former linebacker. After an incomplete pass and a penalty the drive fell short when defensive end Mike Muehlmann knocked down a pass just past the line of scrimmage. Lark took another series later, connecting with Dallin Cutler for a 14-yard gain. Cutler had two receptions on the day for 16 yards.
Running back Adam Hine got a lot of reps, rushing for 17 yards on six carries. Nate Carter and Colby Hansen, two more ball carriers for BYU, each got one carry.
Freshman quarterback Taysom Hill took two series under center. Hill completed 2 of 3 passes for a short four yards but did most of his damage with his legs, running for 22 yards on three carries.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ansah was constantly getting into the backfield, batting down a pass and picking up a sack. Fellow defensive lineman Muehlmann also had a sack and linebacker Uani 'Unga picked up another sack. Hague intercepted a pass from Alex Kuresa earlier in the scrimmage.
BYU will have one more week of spring ball before resuming official practices in the fall.