Cougars prepare for fall football, showcase talent at spring scrimmage


Spring football provided coaches, players and fans an opportunity to measure the program, in preparation for the impending football season.

Quarterback Taysom Hill, and a plethora of other players, made sure not to disappoint during the annual spring scrimmage, which took place on March 29. With the loss of several key seniors attempting to take their talents to the NFL, including linebacker Kyle Van Noy, positions are wide open to be taken as the season creeps closer.

Taysom Hill throws the ball during BYU football's Spring scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Photo by Sarah Hill
Taysom Hill throws the ball during BYU football’s Spring scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Photo by Sarah Hill

“I thought we saw a lot of good things with still a week to go in practice,” said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall of the scrimmage. “I liked some of the throwing and catching; it was nice to see Michael Davis emerge on the deep route, Kurt Henderson starting to emerge, and Nick Kurtz. I thought we threw the ball more accurately and more on time than what we have consistently for a while.”

Hill, entering his junior year behind center, threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns as he led the Cougars on 11 of the 19 offensive drives, hooking up with senior tight end Devin Mahina, junior receiver Terenn Houk and junior Kurt Henderson. Hill, who looked good through the air, handed the ball off to lesser-known backs, junior Nate Carter and newcomer Jeremiah Burr, while Jamaal Williams and Algernon Brown sat the scrimmage out.

“It gave us a good opportunity to establish some depth with a few of the guys,” Hill said. “It was fun; it was a good opportunity to be in a live setting with our offensive line and our receivers as well.”

One of the outstanding questions left for the offensive heading into the spring was who to put in the No. 2 QB spot behind Hill. With senior quarterback Ammon Olsen transferring to Southern Utah, the competition fell on senior Christian Stewart, who threw for 68 yards on 10–16 passing attempts in the scrimmage.

“Running live with the number two offense was a little bit frustrating, but we had a couple of good drives all the way down,” Stewart said. “A little mistake here, a little mistake there, a one-on-one I had but I didn’t take it; things that will come with time and practice. Taysom is a great mentor to me even though I’m a senior. I feel like each day we’re both pushing each other to get better, and today was a great chance to get better.”

Mendenhall confirmed later that Stewart would be the backup quarterback and likes his ability to run with the ball and play a similar style to Hill.

“Christian Stewart is next,” Mendenhall said with regards to the backup role. “He’s a much stronger runner currently than he is a thrower; however, he is a capable thrower. He can run all of my run game and run-pass options; it’s just now drop back throwing.”

Mendenhall also commented on who he sees will likely take the kicking role in the fall but said the position was still up in the air.

“Moose Bingham has held a slight edge,” Mendenhall said. “But it’s swinging toward Trevor Samson in terms of accuracy. We’ve been charting every kick before, during and after practice the whole spring.”

One headliner from spring football has been receiver Michael Davis. The speedy sophomore from Glendale, Ariz. may shore up the receiving corps and be featured as a kick and punt returner. Davis caught a 53-yard pass in the spring scrimmage.

“I need to improve on my route running and just down the field catching and making touchdowns,” Davis said. “You always need to score touchdowns.”

Only time will tell if the spring hype translates into touchdowns, big hits and wins as the Cougars push to continue a strong tradition of BYU football. The team will continue to prepare for its first game of the new season, an Aug. 29 competition against Connecticut.

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