New leadership forming at BYU football camp

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Abigail Keenan
Tanner Mangum throws a pass during his first official practice of the season. The BYU Cougars are currently preparing for the 2018 football season. (Abigail Keenan)

BYU football’s first official practice was held on August 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. Though the results of the coming season are up in the air, signs of hope and changes in the coaching staff and team roster indicate high energy.

The practice fields were covered in navy and white uniforms, mixing offensive and defensive players for an end-of-practice scrimmage. Since a set quarterback hasn’t been assigned for the season, Joe Critchlow, Tanner Mangum, Baylor Romney and Zach Wilson all took turns making plays. Each player ran a different set against the teams and successfully carried on amidst the constant changeup.

Abigail Keenan
Defensive backs Mandell and Wilcox discuss what they want to improve in the next play. (Abigail Keenan)

One quarterback who isn’t in the mix this year is Beau Hoge. He recently switched positions to running back and will not be wearing a green jersey this season.

“It’s great. I love seeing him out there. He’s always been a strong, muscular specimen. So to see him on the backfield — it fits him,” Mangum said.

Coach Kalani Sitake also commended Hoge for his strong performance in practice.

Abigail Keenan
Coach Sitake making his way inside after the team’s official first day. (Abigail Keenan)

“I think he has the genes for it. I thought he fit really comfortable and did some really good things in the past routes and protections. I’m really excited to see him in that position,” he said.

Though secure spots for positions haven’t been determined, Sitake likes the energy and competitiveness it brings to the team. Critchlow said the current competition is challenging each player to be better.

“We push each other in different ways. All the quarterbacks here, they’re great guys, have a lot of talent. I feel like with such a wide variety of talent and skills, it motivates and pushes us all to get better,” Critchlow said.

Defensive leadership roles are being determined as well. Senior linebacker Butch Pau’u commended fellow linebacker Zayne Anderson for taking charge.

Abigail Keenan
Joe Critchlow doing his best to answer the press’s questions involving the starting quarterback. (Abigail Keenan)

“Zayne Anderson has taken the role of making sure that us as linebackers can move well and have great hit mobility and be light on our feet,” he said.

The Cougars’ 2018 season will kick off in Tucson, Arizona, against the University of Arizona on September 1.