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Cougars compete in final scrimmage of fall camp at LES

PROVO, Utah – With just nine days before the first game of the season, BYU football held its last scrimmage of fall camp at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Thursday morning.

Check out the photo gallery and read below for quotes from coaches and players following the scrimmage.

Head coach Kalani Sitake
On today’s scrimmage
I saw really good work. We played our 1s against our 2s today. We started to run a little bit of what we will probably see against Arizona. I think we put in really good work today—our guys did well. I think we were able to take advantage of working through the game mechanics and the timing of getting our guys to the line of scrimmage and passing the ball today. I feel a lot better now going into this weekend.

On Taysom Hill
Taysom looks great. He is doing a great job—he is running well and throwing well. He and Tanner (Mangum) had a great day today, and also our receivers. Our offense did some really great things in today’s scrimmage.

On the kicking situation
I feel good about what we had going on today. I think we have a pretty good idea on who we will end up kicking and doing our place kicking in the game, but we will also see if we need another kickoff guy or not.

On the defensive line
Logan (Taele) is ready and we hope Travis (Tuiloma) will be ready as soon as possible. We want to make sure we take care of Travis’ health first and not put him out there in a position where he could hurt himself, and in turn hurt the team. The other guys got a lot of reps today and we feel good about the group that we have with Handsome (Tanielu), Tevita (Mo’Unga) and Tomasi (Laulile). I feel really good with the group that we have. Obviously we would love to have Travis, but that will work itself out as time goes by.

On the offensive line
We feel like right now we have 10 guys that we feel good with, and possibly a couple more to add to that. Coach (Mike) Empey will probably tell you that we have about 12 guys we feel comfortable with. That’s a lot better position than we were in spring.

Defensive coordinator & linebackers coach Ilaisa Tuiaki
How the defense looks after the scrimmage
Good. There were times time when we’ve got to focus more on giving the offense what they need and them giving us what we need. A lot of times, you feel a little nervous that the offense is moving the ball a little more than you’d like, but I thought the defense did pretty well when we were running our stuff. 

How the offense is looking from defensive perspective 
I think the offense looks really good from my side. I’m not in there, grading their filming. Obviously there are always things to correct. From spring to the beginning of camp to now, I’ve been really impressed with how they’ve come along.

Establishing a two-deep
There are a lot of guys that can contribute. I think it will be more solidified next week as far as who we can think can be in the two-deep. At certain spots, we’re three-deep. We’re comfortable with a third group getting in, especially at the linebackers spot. Everywhere else, the two-deep is it. 

Linebackers spot
It’s hard to say because Austin Heder has had a lot of experience, but we’ve backed him up a little bit with him coming back from a foot injury. We have Phillip Amone coming off his ACL injury last year. I think they’ve both done a good job. It’s hard because you have Adam Pulsipher, Austin Heder, Phil Amone. We feel comfortable with all of them playing as well. Butch Pau’u is a starter right now.

We’ve got a whole clump of guys that are still under evaluation. If we went into a game, we’d feel comfortable about rotating certain guys. Besides Michael Davis, the rest of them are still battling for spots. 

On Handsome Tanielu
We’re being careful with him because he already has a lot of experience as a JC guy. We want to bring him back the right away. We held him back a little bit today. 

Offensive coordinator & quarterbacks coach Ty Detmer
Plan for the next couple of days heading into Arizona game week
We’ll pull things back a little bit tomorrow. Saturday will be more of a game-type of walk-through where we come out and go through all of the game day routine. Then we’ll get after it on Monday and start game week. The next couple of days, we’ll tie up loose ends from the line of scrimmage, walk-through, all of those things. We’ll clean up the things we did today and really start to dial in on the game plan for Arizona.

QB of scout team?
Right now, Hayden Livingston is it for us. He’s got some speed on the edge, so he gives the defense a good look in the spread stuff, especially with what Arizona does. Their guys are pretty mobile, so he’s giving us a pretty look over there, according to the defensive coaches. 

Guys getting antsy for the season?
Oh yeah! We’ve been putting the game plan together the last couple of days. And so today included some of what’s in the game plan. I think they’d all go play today if they could. The next week is really a formality because as coaches, you’ve got your game plan set and ready to go. It’s not like a normal week where you need Monday and Tuesday to install it, practice it and go on Saturday. 

We’ve already started watching film. We’ve got plenty of extra time- school hasn’t started. It’s good for these guys to get a jump on Arizona and start that process. The hard thing with college ball is things change over the offseason. Coaches change and so you’re watching some of Boise, personnel at Arizona and the guys that are back. It’s a two-step process for that first game. 

Guys feel stable w/ a starting QB named?
For the other players, I don’t think that matters. It’s more them feeling settled in their spot. With some of the receivers back, Moroni and Mitch Juergens, that changes the dynamics a little. The receiving core is always in a flux personnel-wise. But as far as the team goes, I don’t think there is any reaction. They treat Tanner like a starter because he was for them last year. It’s a great situation to have, where the team doesn’t care who’s in. They feel confident we’re going to win with either one. 

Anyone emerged at the tight end position?
Right now, I think Hunter Marshall and Tanner Balderree are really the top two. You’ll see them mix and match at different times. And then you have Nate Sampson and Alema Pilimai has moved over from the defensive side after the first week. He’s a young guy that’s really talented and we’ll try to get him in on a few reps as well. It’s situational. They both bring different things to the table. Tanner is obviously experienced and played some at that position last year. You’ll see both of them though at different times in the game. 

Junior LB Fred Warner
On camp being mixed in with Arizona prep, and what he is focusing on as his role
They have been intermixing camp and Arizona prep just to see how guys are going to perform in a game situation, in preparation for that game. But now that we are prepping for Arizona, I feel that my role in that game is going to be knowing my assignment and being the play maker I am supposed to be. They are a very fast-paced offense, and so we have been conditioning after practice in preparation for that as well. I think when next Saturday comes around, we will be comfortable with where we are at.

On how the defense did against the 2s and 3s
So we did 1 defense against the 2s and 3s. I feel that we did just as we were supposed to. We were supposed to dominate the 2s and 3s, which we did. The defense looks great; I have no concerns about the defense. I am concerned about injured guys getting healthy, though, and making sure that we have all the pieces that we need.  

Senior RB Algernon Brown

On the performance of the first team offense
I think we did really well. If we polish up the little things here and there, we’ll be really good. We need a couple more days to focus on the right alignment, the right depth on routes and other things like that.  

On Taysom Hill’s attitude
He’s still the same. He’s always been the guy to lead everyone and keep everyone together. He makes sure everyone is doing the right thing.

Sophomore QB Tanner Mangum
On Taysom Hill starting
I feel good about things. It’s that time of year and people knew that the decision was going to be made. Either way we are both excited. I have talked a lot to Taysom throughout fall camp—all that matters to us is that we both want to win games. Obviously, he is a phenomenal player and great leader. He gives us a great chance to win games and I am more than happy to follow his lead and be right there alongside him to help this team win. He and I are good friends and I have nothing but love and respect for him and I am excited for this season. He will do good things for us this year.

Being out here and doing a full scrimmage and getting some game reps in gets me excited for the games. I will be ready to go as always and to step in and do my part. Having a prominent figure like Taysom makes everyone step up and play better. I had a blast this fall camp. It’s been fun—I just love football. It is a fun game to play, and this is a fun team to be a part of.

On his role
The coaching staff is not planning on redshirting me. I haven’t heard the specifics of exactly when I would play, but I am not worried about that. It’s just one game at a time right now—it’s a long season, but right now we are just focusing on Arizona and we will just take it from there. There is a lot I can learn from Taysom and Ty. Being there watching the plays and watching the defense and to be able to talk it over with Taysom and Ty benefits everyone. I am definitely not taking a back seat or anything. I am going to stay me and be me and go out there and have fun and do the best I can to help Taysom and to help the team. That’s what we are all about here.

On Ty Detmer
Ty has really helped me with the mental progression of everything. He has helped me to better read the defense and with that help me know where to go. He is so smart and helps us understand and visualize everything so that once you are out on the field everything kind of slows down for you.