My Top 10 Headlines from first week of BYU practice.
The Cougars are deep into pad work and two-a-day practices beginning Monday. Here’s my list of what was significant during the first week:
1. QB duel: The battle to start took on an interesting aura from Day 1. It was Riley Nelson running one offense, taking off for runs on about every third play and Jake Heaps being ordered many times to attack with deep throws. Two different looking offenses, different risks and different sets of play calls. Statistically, this makes things tough to compare. Heaps gets more work against the first defense and Nelson has baffled the D at times with his legs. Edge to Heaps, but major props to what Nelson has created — a unique weapon.
2. Steven Thomas has worked his way into the leading candidate at safety opposite Andrew Rich.
3. Uona Kaveinga is BYU’s best body at inside linebacker but Brandon Ogeltree Jamison Frazier or Shane Hunter would be leading candidates go if there were a game tomorrow.
4. Offensive line. The first unit is solid but it drops off in terms of readiness when the second unit is on the field facing the first defense.
5. Receivers are solid and deep, strength of the offense next to the starting front. Apo needs to learn the plays.
6. Running back appears to be a committee but J.J. Diluigi and Bryan Kariya are the most effective at running the offense. Zed Mendenhall is a stud at FB and Juice Q. started hot before cooling off.
7. Tight ends don’t have a Dennis Pitta, period. Large crowd comprised of guys who want to be if only the WR corps would quit getting most of the passes.
8. BYU’s defensive secondary could be best of this decade.
9. Defensive line is surprisingly better than expected.
10. Generally, the talent level is very young but visibly improved over last couple of seasons.