By DARREN WILCOX
As the BYU football team approaches their showdown with the University of Washington September 6 the positives outnumber the negatives.
The team continues to practice twice a day, morning and late afternoon. This plus a mandatory Labor Day practice are proof this team is not taking their September 6 game against the University of Washington lightly.
Head Football Coach LaVell Edwards, fourth among active Division I coaches with 228 victories, addressed the media Monday. Among other things, he commented on the team’s progress approaching the opening game.
“All things being equal we’re about as far along as we had hoped to be,” Edwards said.
In other camp happenings, Owen Pochman, younger brother of last year’s starting kicker Ethan Pochman, will handle the kicking duties this season. Pochman, who redshirted last season, was originally recruited by Washington. J.D. Hartsfield, a junior college transfer from Glendale, Ariz., has secured the Cougar’s punting job for this season.
Edwards said one impressive thing from the pre-season practices has been the progress of senior Dustin Johnson, who moved from fullback to tight end this season. Johnson will look to solidify a position left vacant by the graduation of current NFL rookies Itula Mili and Chad Lewis.
Junior Paul Shoemaker continues to be the number one quarterback, though sophomore southpaw Kevin Feterik has performed well. In Saturday’s scrimmage at Cougar Stadium, Feterik was 10 of 12 passing for 207 yards and four touchdowns. Shoemaker was 10 of 16 for 80 yards and no touchdowns.
Of course, both quarterbacks played with different offensive and defensive personnel making it difficult to compare their performances. Plus, with a combined 22 collegiate attempts between them, neither has an edge in Division I experience.
Waiting in the wings is true freshman Drew Miller. Miller, who was six of six for 71 yards and a touchdown at the scrimmage, was praised by Edwards for his progress. He will be the third string quarterback behind Shoemaker and Feterik.
The one question mark for BYU, according to Edwards, remains the cornerbacks. With first team All-WAC senior Omarr Morgan out for the first three games, the starters will have limited experience.
Senior Ben Cook has the most experience and will be counted on to step up in Morgan’s absence. Junior College transfer Jack Williams has missed several practices due to injuries, but Edwards said he hopes to have him back soon. With the addition of true freshman Roderick Foreman and Junior College transfer Tony Fields, BYU looks to hold the fort until Morgan’s return.
Morgan has looked good in practice and will be ready to go when his suspension is over.
There is one more scrimmage, today at 2 p.m. at Cougar Stadium.