After the first day of BYU fall football camp on Saturday, the overall feeling of the players was simple – tired.
But they also said they were pleased with how the team looked and are confident it is going to be a good and exciting season ahead.
Sophomore tight end Richard Wilson was one of those tired players who said he was glad practice was over.
The team normally runs to the “Y” on the morning of the first day but didn’t this year. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall said there were a number of reasons why they didn’t; one being because the coaches cannot monitor the players’ workouts during the spring and summer.
“After the conditioning run we had this morning, I think everyone’s lungs were just gone,” Wilson said. “So I’m glad practice is over, but it was a good first day [and] good to be back. I haven’t played since the bowl game because I had my surgery in January, so it was good to be on the field and be with the guys.”
“I thought that it was really important that the format that we had today that the team and the coaches see exactly the level of preparation our team put in going into Day 1,” he said. “When you’re at the ‘Y’, you see the finish and the time, but you don’t really see from beginning to end [of] every single player. For this particular team at this stage, it was good for them to be accountable to each other and for the team to learn more about each other and trust more.”
With only 12 newcomers to the team this year, there was less teaching done on the first day than in seasons past, which hopefully means preparation for Ole Miss can begin sooner, according to Mendenhall.
The main portion of the camp was focused on individual position drills, and the last segment was a scrimmage.
Sophomore defensive back Daniel Sorensen said he thought overall the defense is in shape and did OK, accomplishing their one goal for camp.
“Our goal is to shut the offense down hopefully all through fall camp,” Sorensen said. “We hope that they know that, and it becomes kind of a competition to make each other better … We’ll see what happens.”
The defense played hard and was vocal on the sidelines throughout the last portion of practice, but the offense proved it has some definite goals, too.
Sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps went 8 of 9 for 108 yards and had two touchdowns. The first of those being a 42-yard touchdown pass to redshirt freshman Ross Apo, who had three catches for 55 yards.
“It was fine. Just another play,” Apo said with a smile. “He [Heaps] expects me to make those plays so I’ve got to make them.”
After the nearly three-hour practice was over, Mendenhall said there of course is room for improvement, but he was pleased with what he saw.
Wilson also said he was pleased with himself and his teammates after seeing everyone go out and practice hard on the first day.
“There’s just a different attitude here,” he said. “You can feel it in the air. The confidence level is very high, and I’m excited for this season.”