Rain plays role in BYU football’s spring scrimmage

Ari Davis
Kalani Sitake coaches during the spring scrimmage. The BYU football team held its annual spring scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium. (Ari Davis)

The BYU football team held its annual spring scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium on a rainy Saturday afternoon with around 6,000 Cougar fans in attendance.

The scrimmage started out with warmups and position drills, followed by 7-on-7 skeleton drills and finished up with two 11-on-11 scrimmages.

There were standout players on both sides of the ball, but freshman tight end Matt Bushman made the biggest impact.

“I’ve said it before, but Matt Bushman is a special player,” coach Kalani Sitake said. “He’s big and he’s smooth. He can do a lot of things.”

Ari Davis
Matt Bushman catches the ball during the spring scrimmage. Bushman was one of the standout players during the day. (Ari Davis)

Bushman had four catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the scrimmage, and two catches for 22 yards and a touchdown in the skeleton drills. His highlight of the day came near the end of the scrimmage on a 65-yard catch-and-run down the sideline from freshman quarterback Kody Wilstead.

“I was just trying not to slip in the rainy condition and to catch the ball,” Bushman said. “Coach Detmer is telling the quarterbacks to look to the tight ends. We have had a lot of balls thrown to us and have a lot of reps. If we can have deep threats down the middle, it opens up all facets of the game.”

For junior quarterback Tanner Mangum, the pouring rain was a flashback to the Poinsettia Bowl game only a few months ago.

“It’s rained the last two games, but it is what it is—that’s football. You have to adjust,” Mangum said. “It makes it tough when the ball slips out of your hands and doesn’t come out as clean as you’d like. No excuse. You need to be able to play in any weather.”

Ari Davis
Tanner Mangum throws the ball during the spring scrimmage. Mangum threw for 102 yards, but had three interceptions. (Ari Davis)

Mangum went 7 for 9 for 101 yards in skeleton drills, and 10 for 16 for 102 yards and one touchdown in 11-on-11.

“It’s a night and day difference from last year to this year,” offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Ty Detmer said. “He’s seeing it, understanding it and lining guys up.”

However, Mangum threw three interceptions in the scrimmage and one in the skeleton drills.

“You know guys are starting to get comfortable when they get greedy and start to try to manufacture big plays,” Detmer said. “That tells me he understands what he’s looking at and trying to do just a little too much.”

Mangum agreed with the sentiments of his Heisman-winning coach.

“I think I was a little greedy,” Magnum said.  “I wanted to come out and be able to push the ball down the field. And I think some of those throws went a little higher or shorter than I would have liked.”

Despite Detmer and Mangum’s downplaying of the three-interception performance, Sitake did voice some minor frustrations.

“He has a lot of confidence in his throwing ability, and our defense does a great job at taking away a lot of looks,” Sitake said. “I’m a little hard on Tanner because I expect him to be perfect every time. So, when he’s not, it’s a little disappointing to me.”

Ari Davis
Beau Hoge looks for a player to throw to during the spring scimmage. Hoge saw the majority of playing time during skeleton drills. (Ari Davis)

Detmer has not announced his back-up quarterback to Mangum yet, but sophomore quarterbacks Beau Hoge and Koy Detmer Jr. are battling it out for the position.

Hoge had the majority of the playing time in the skeleton drills going 10 for 14 for 78 yards and a touchdown, while Detmer Jr. went 6 for 6 for 93 yards.

“I feel like we’ve got two guys that can go in there and play, so that’s always good. You never know how many you’ll need each year,” Detmer said.

On defense, the Cougars were able to force a total of four interceptions, four sacks and two deflections.

“We have Fred Warner and Butch Pau’u lead the way,” Sitake said.  “Those guys did a great job demanding more from the defensive guys.”

Ari Davis
Butch Pau’u during the spring scrimmage. Pau’u had one interception in the scrimmage. (Ari Davis)

Pau’u and Chris Wilcox recorded interceptions in the scrimmage, while Isaiah Kaufusi had one interception during the skeleton drills and one in the scrimmage. Solomone Wolfgramm recorded a sack and a tackle for loss while Uriah Leiataua also tallied a sack and a deflection.

“(Ilaisa) Tuiaki has done a great job with the defense,” Sitake said. “Having (Ed) Lamb and (Jernaro) Gilford, those guys did a great job last year creating turnovers and making big plays.”

The Cougars finish up their spring practices next week, and then will break until fall camp starts up in August.

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