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BYU football: Cougars already turning attention to summer workouts

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall watches his players as BYU football players work out Monday, March 19, 2012 in the indoor practice facility during spring practices.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall watches his players as BYU football players work out Monday, March 19, 2012 in the indoor practice facility during spring practices.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

PROVO — Spring drills are over, but the work leading up to the 2012 season is far from complete.

In some ways, it's only beginning.

BYU finished its final spring practice last Friday, and now the Cougars are transitioning into their summer workouts.

As per NCAA rules, until fall camp opens in August, coaches are not allowed to watch or oversee workouts, which must be run by the players.

What are the expectations between now and fall camp?

"To have gotten better," said senior quarterback Riley Nelson. "I think the mentality in the past perhaps has been just not to lose ground. You want to do enough to maintain and get better through fall camp. Well, we feel like we have a structure in place, and a plan in place, to give us enough volume and reps to essentially have another spring ball in the summer. It's not as intense, it's not as regimented. But through those three months of hard summertime, we want to get 15 practices worth of work done. We've calculated it down to number of reps in certain drills, individual, offense, defense and crossover drills. That's the goal for the summer, along with obviously getting ourselves into the best shape physically that we can get in."

Coach Bronco Mendenhall wants to see his players hit the ground running come August.

"I would love them to be in absolutely phenomenal condition. We have a very tough conditioning test that they will be preparing for," he said. "They know that's coming. Really, we spent four (spring) practices training our players to run the player-run practices for the summer, with the expectation of, could that look like a practice where the coaches are out there but they're not out there? We're trying to get that across and worked on teaching them and helping them know what drill work to do and how to do it. If that happens, that's three-and-a-half to almost four months' worth of additional leadership and chemistry that can be developed when we're (coaches) not able to be with our team."

QUARTERBACK SITUATION: With six quarterbacks on scholarship in the fall, the Cougars have something of a logjam at that position.

However, two of those QBs, freshman Taysom Hill and sophomore Ammon Olsen, have not redshirted. One of them will likely be redshirting this fall.

"It's too early to say (which will be redshirting)," Mendenhall said. "The good news is we have summer and fall camp. If summer practices go the way I think they will, we'll have a really good idea, maybe mid-fall camp, as to what we might do because we have so many that reps could only distributed to two, with a third getting some. We'll have to make that decision at some point."

QUOTABLE I: "I like that they're hard to score on. I like that they're willing and they're confident and they're physical. But I expect them to be in phenomenal shape, not only physically but mentally. I have high expectations for them." — Mendenhall on his defense.

QUOTABLE II: "You're welcome, you guys. Now you get the ESPN contract. It's actually really cool to be able to watch them get that national exposure for the team, the (LDS) Church and the school. It's good." — Former BYU quarterback Max Hall on BYU playing on ESPN on a regular basis thanks to an eight-year broadcasting deal with the Worldwide Leader.