(Photo by Jonathan Hardy/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah - With BYU football players practicing only in helmets for the fourth day, the emphasis remained on finishing and staying healthy as fall camp moved into Week 2. Riley Nelson highlighted team sessions going 8-8 for 109 yards and a touchdown.
“We’re trying to access what we need while acknowledging camp is long. We don’t want to use it all in the first four practices,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “I have learned the health of the team is really important but have also learned that being able to play enough live football plays is important, so it’s a delicate balance. We don’t get to play against an opponent, we play against ourselves which doubles the risk.”
The team will move to shoulder pads Tuesday and Wednesday before going full pads in Thursday’s public practice at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Holding off on pads has allowed players to focus on finishing plays.
“You work your feet even more having to get there to touch the opponent,” Mendenhall said. “We’re getting more guys to touch the ball than we were in our old formula.”
As it has in previous practices, the team started with conditioning before working on position mastery in individual groups.
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Senior quarterback Riley Nelson moved down the field with ease in the team 11-on-11 segment to wrap up the day. Nelson threw a quick pass to running back David Foote, who bolted down the sidelines for a 49-yard touchdown. In another series, Nelson connected with tight end Austin Holt in traffic for a 21-yard gain.
Defensive end Eathyn Manumaleuna deflected a pass by Nelson but the ball found itself in offensive lineman Braden Brown’s hands to keep Nelson a perfect 8-8 on the day.
Kicker Riley Stephenson stretched his legs making 37- and 42-yard field goals. Stephenson missed the mark from the left hash from 39 yards out.
The Cougars return to camp Tuesday before starting two-a-days on Wednesday.