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Will BYU’s Hill pass more, run less, next season?

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It’s great to have Taysom back out there running around. His reads are surprisingly sharp. I’m really pleased with the way he’s making reads. – BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae

PROVO — One of the most pleasant surprises for BYU during spring football practices has been quarterback Taysom Hill, whose recovery appears to be ahead of schedule after he suffered a season-ending leg injury last October.

“He looks really good. Not only in leadership, but poise and decision-making,” said coach Bronco Mendenhall. “I love where he is.”

“It’s great to have Taysom back out there running around,” said offensive coordinator Robert Anae. “His reads are surprisingly sharp. I’m really pleased with the way he’s making reads.”

Because Hill is not able to participate in contact drills, he is throwing a lot of passes in practice.

The big question is, will Hill be running less, and passing more, next fall?

“We haven’t addressed it too specifically,” said quarterbacks coach Jason Beck. “He’s so dynamic as a runner. That’s always going to be a strength and a weapon. It’s a situation where you’ll never want to get away from it. But we’ll probably do a little less of it, especially the more we develop him as a passer. Then the need to do that less will be in our favor.”

Hill’s extra work with the passing game this spring will help the offense, said wide receiver Mitch Mathews.

“I think it will sharpen the passing game up. I don’t know that it will change necessarily the way we go about things. We win with him and we do a good job with him. Getting healthy will be the biggest thing. It will be nice to have him focus on throwing now so we can get that down so when we hit the ground running in the fall, he’ll be ready for everything.”

“He still looks like Taysom. He’s just not running," said wide receiver Devon Blackmon. "It’s forcing him to throw more, which is good. He needs to throw more. I’m happy he’s out there so we can get used to him and get ready for the season.”

STILL HUNGRY: What impact did BYU’s double-overtime loss to Memphis at the Miami Beach Bowl have on the Cougars’ offseason workouts?

“It did a little bit as far as, we felt like we should have won that game,” said defensive lineman Remington Peck. “But at the same time, it’s a new start. We have to regroup and get back at it and have a positive attitude. We were mad, but we want to restart and have a good year.”

Mendenhall said his team has a lot to prove.

“I think they’re really hungry. It’s 10 straight bowl games and a lot of wins. But they certainly want more. The seniors, if there’s a great positive so far from the offseason, this particular senior class has been really vocal. They’ve done a really nice job of leadership, and have really embraced all the things they could gleaned and learned from unique situations last year. They’re anxious to apply them and move forward. I haven’t had to do much. They really have been the motivating factors in that, which has been really fun.”

EARLY START: BYU has started spring practices earlier than most college teams around the nation.

“I don’t mind it. Breaks are nice but being back is nice,” Mathews said. “We’re done before everyone else in the country. We’re able to have long summer breaks and hone in and have that time to look back at spring and look forward to fall. It’s a good time to start early.”

A ‘BIG DEAL’ FOR BRONCO, BYU: Mendenhall was returning home from a trip on Feb. 28 when he found out that the BYU basketball team had upset then-No. 3 Gonzaga.

His wife, Holly, let him know.

“I was flying back from a clinic speech in Pittsburgh. When I landed, Holly’s text was, ‘We won,’” Mendenhall recalled. “Which is pretty cool. I texted (coach) Dave (Rose) after and he was really happy for his players. It’s a big deal. I like it when big deals happen for BYU.”