Defense dumps sloppy offense at Blue and White game

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    By Scott Creer

    LaVell Edwards Stadium didn”t draw 60,000 screaming fans, and the opponent wasn”t a conference rival.

    In fact, because of light rain and cold weather, a sparse crowd surrounded the field Saturday, April 7, to watch the annual Blue and White game, an intra-squad match-up of the BYU football team.

    But new head coach Gary Crowton still had the same kind of feelings that an autumn Saturday in Provo brings.

    “Even though it is spring, it”s a game-day atmosphere,” Crowton said.

    In years past, the blue and white teams were evenly divided, but Crowton changed the format of the game this year.

    The game featured BYU”s first-team offense against the second-team defense, and the second-team offense against the first-team defense.

    BYU”s first-team defense looked very tough, anchored by the strong linebacking corps of Justin Ena, Paul Walkenhorst and Isaac Kelley.

    The defensive unit controlled the second team offense the entire game. Second-string quarterback Todd Mortenson rushed several passes under the defensive pressure and finished the game 3-20 in passing.

    “We”ve never really dominated the offense like that,” Ena said.

    The first-team offense struggled early, dropping passes and having a hard time holding on to the ball in the slippery conditions.

    Starting quarterback Brandon Doman especially had trouble out of the gate, fumbling on his first possession and also throwing two interceptions in the first quarter.

    “We messed up one too many times,” Doman said.

    Doman recovered well and got the offensive flow going later in the game. He completed 18-33 passes on the day, including a four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Christensen.

    Crowton tabbed Doman as the starting quarterback for the 2001 season. While fans and other teams may think he still needs to prove he belongs as the No. 1 quarterback, Doman is worried more about his own progress.

    “I”ve got to prove myself to myself still,” Doman said. “I feel like it”s my job to lose.”

    Sophomore cornerback Jernaro Gilford made the defensive play of the game, returning an interception 70 yards for a touchdown.

    Even though Gilford said the defense played well, he knows the offense wasn”t playing up to its potential.

    “They didn”t really get it going,” he said.

    Luke Staley and Brian McDonald shared the duties at tailback and both proved effective, each scoring a touchdown.

    Staley gained 47 yards on 11 attempts and McDonald carried the ball seven times for 25 yards.

    The game marked the end of spring practices for the Cougars. Crowton said he is very pleased with what he has seen so far from his new team.

    “The thing that I”ve been most pleased with is the attitude,” Crowton said.

    Looking ahead to the season, Crowton wants to achieve a lot in his first season as head coach.

    “We want to make the goals high,” he said. “Everybody wants a winner; so do I.”

    Following in the footsteps of coaching legend LaVell Edwards will most likely place Crowton under tough public scrutiny. Crowton is hoping his players help him out to live up to the expectations.

    “I”m feeling the high expectations, so I”m going to make the players feel it,” Crowton said.

    The team will not practice again until August, when final preparations for the 2001 season will be made.

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