Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring Game

I know what you're thinking, and no, this picture was not taken last year in the fall.  If I didn't have a calender, I would've thought it was a game played in November (I hate you, Utah weather).  The sun made an appearance for a few minutes, but he too got cold and left looking for warmth.  

The blue team featured the first-team offense and the second-team defense, and the white team had the first-team defense and the second-team offense.  They played four quarters with a running clock that would stop inside two minutes.  Other than that, it was played just like a real game (they even started with a prayer and the National Anthem).

It was cold, wet, and at times a little windy.  So, knowing the conditions, it shouldn't come as a surprise that there were some dropped passes, fumbles, and slipping going on.  It was about 38 degrees at game time, and it seemed like the temperature kept dropping as the game went on.  I did really well until the fourth quarter, then my toes decided they weren't getting enough heat and my hands couldn't find a warm pocket.  I knew I should've worn a jacket.

The twos started with the ball, and Riley Nelson was their QB.  They started off with a balanced run-pass offense and Nelson completed two quick passes that took them to midfield before they were stalled.  Punts were just the snapper, kicker, and returner.  Stephenson put his first punt down inside the five, and that is where the ones started.  

It was definitely a defensive game.  The intensity was high and they held nothing back.  Everyone was fired up and they played really well against the pass and especially well against the run.  Even though I was rooting for Jake Heaps and the blue team, I was super excited to watch how the defense made plays.  

Heaps completed most of his passes over the middle and in the flats.  I expect in ideal weather to see deeper and more aggressive routes.  Jacobson had a chance to haul in a touchdown from Heaps that split the defenders perfectly, but couldn't hold on.  This will be an area of focus for Coach Cahoon in the fall, concentration on the receivers part. 

Heaps also wore a yellow jersey to designate himself as a "no contact" player.  He was whistled down on three sacks, two of which he would have gotten out of in a live situation.  He ended up with about a 70% completion rating, and over 100 yards with no interceptions.

The first score was a pick-6 by Jordan Johnson that came off a deflected pass.  The whites first scored when Nelson threw a ball that was a legit pass and not a floater.  Jordan Johnson made an aggressive play on the ball but misread it and it went for 73 yards.  After a field goal for each team it was tied at 10-10 after regulation.

They decided to play OT and the blues started with the ball.  They ran it 3 straight times.  On 3rd and short, JJ DiLuigi split the blitz right up the middle and pretty much walked in from 17 yards out.  

The whites faced a fourth down, then Riley Nelson scampered around a little bit and made his way into the endzone running.  They decided to go for the 2-pointer and the win.  On a play-action roll out, Nelson lobbed the ball over the defense to his receiver, who made a fantastic catch in traffic for the win.  

I'll be honest, I was a little upset.  I didn't want the white team to win.  

Offensively, you saw a lot of different packages and sets.  There were pro-sets with split backs and I-form, and of course, plenty of shotgun formations.  The ball was spread out a lot, by both teams, and the running backs were the targets of a lot of passes in the flats and underneath in the middle.  Lots of play-action.  The offensive sets and plays reminded me a lot of the offense that Doman played in while at BYU, but not as extreme as Crowton would draw up.  It was great to see Heaps throw the ball deep downfield, even though they didn't end in completions.  They did, however, result in first downs because of pass interference calls on the defense.  You can expect to see lots of deep completions to Ross Apo come fall. 

Defensively, they came out with a lot of looks that will confuse many offenses.  They moved around a lot and covered well.  They were able to send a lot of blitz packages without losing too much coverage.  Everybody was flying to the ball and played with a lot of energy.  It makes me smile to know that Bronco is taking care of the defense, they will be so much fun to watch this coming season.  It is so easy to see why Bronco is claiming this to be his funnest spring camp yet.  

Note that not all of the starters played.  Hoffman, Quezada, and others sat out as they recovered form minor injuries.  

There are a lot of reasons to be excited for the upcoming season.  This is really a brief report, but it should leave a good taste in your mouth and an excitement for BYU football.

Ps.  Last night, Jimmer became the consensus national player of the year, winning the Wooden Award.   

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