(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
PROVO, Utah - The BYU football team wrapped up 2014 spring football on Friday as it welcomed former football players to campus for its annual Alumi Day.
"The alumni, similar to the recruits that come in, they're the lifeblood. The alumni remain and they're the sustaining force (of the program)," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
About 1,000 people, including alumni and their families, spent time on campus, toured the football facilities, watched practice and ended with a dinner in the Smith Fieldhouse. Numerous members of the 1984 championship team, including Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards, were present in celebration of that team's 30-year anniversary. As a starter on the '84 team, current offensive coordinator Robert Anae addressed the alumni in the afternoon.
Mendenhall addressed the media at the end of practice and summarized the team's progress over the past five weeks.
"Spring was really good, we learned quite a bit," Mendenhall said. "Our completion percentage was very high for spring. The ability to protect the quarterback is improving. Nick Kurtz, a junior college transfer, has really impressed as he progressed through the spring. Probably the most improved and underrated player coming into spring and helped himself the most offensively was Terenn Houk. Terenn had a really nice day today but really has been very consistent. Michael Davis, in transferring over to receiver, is still a little under the radar, but I'm encouraged by what I see there as well."
One of Houk's best plays of the day came when quarterback Taysom Hill found him in the corner of the end zone. The junior receiver lept in the air grabbed the ball at the peak of his jump over the smaller defender.
"Terren Houk had an extremely good spring, as good as anybody on our team," Hill said. "We had a really good inside presence and that is something we really wanted to focus on."
The offense also scored as running back Nate Carter scampered up the left sideline for a 70-yard touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, Mendenhall mentioned Trent Trammell, Dallin Leavitt, Zac Stout, Austin Heder, Graham Rowley and Travis Tuiloma as some of the players who impressed during spring.
In Friday's practice, senior linebacker Alani Fua and sophomore defensive back Chris Badger both tallied interceptions and junior defensive back Trevor Bateman broke up a pass in the end zone to prevent a touchdown.
"I think every player that was here every day (of spring) got better," Anae said.
After the current semester ends in three weeks, the team will resume offseason workouts in advance of formal practices starting up again in August. BYU opens its season at Connecticut on Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. EDT. The game will be televised on ESPN.