The biggest news from Saturday's BYU football scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium came before anything took place on the field, when junior wide receiver Nick Kurtz came onto the field in a walking boot.
The verdict? Probably a stress fracture.
Cougar head coach Bronco Mendenhall said Kurtz had just thought to have it looked at because it was a little sore.
"It’s too early to say but it looks like there is a stress fracture there," Mendenhall said. "Probably 6-to-8 weeks would be my guess. Luckily we have depth at receiver at this point, but that will hurt us because he was doing a really nice job."
BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae said this injury, like any, means other guys have to step up.
“Kurtz was having a really good camp,” he said. “Boy, did he make a monumental step from here to there coming into camp. We look forward to his return. Now you close ranks and it’s next guy up.”
While Kurtz’s absence will clearly have the most impact on the upcoming football season, the rest of the team had a solid scrimmage. It wasn’t perfect, which is to be expected, but there were good signs.
"We got about 30 plays from our No. 1s and No. 2s which is about what we wanted," Mendenhall said. "I saw a lot of things."
Mendenhall said the Cougars were sharper offensively than he thought they would be.
The BYU offense came out on the first drive and Cougar junior quarterback Taysom Hill immediately led it on a 10-play, 75-yard drive for a touchdown. Hill went 4-for-5 passing on the series for 51 yards.
BYU junior running back Adam Hine also set the tone for his day with three straight runs to finish it off, including a powerful 8-yard struggle to get into the end zone.
“It felt good,” Hine said. “It feels really good to be back out here, especially on this field.”
Hine later had the best running play of the day on a 20-yard gain in which he hurdled a lunging defender, drawing cheers from the 5,000 fans who showed up to watch.
“I forgot I could jump, I've running on the ground so much,” he said. “It was fun.”
Mendenhall said Hine did well and that he liked how the junior built on his success.
“You saw, as the scrimmage progressed, a little more creativity and a little more confidence with each rep,” Mendenhall said. “The one play that stands out is him going airborne over two guys who went low on him. He did a nice job and has done all camp. He just needs to continue working on catching the ball out of the backfield.”
The offense scored two more touchdowns, one off a play-action pass where sophomore wide receiver Mitchell Juergens got behind the defense and caught a 39-yard TD from Hill, and another on a beautifully thrown fade to junior wide receiver Devon Blackmon from senior quarterback Christian Stewart for a 23-yard score.
“The play-action pass game was strong at this point, and the protection was stronger than I anticipated it would be at this point,” Mendenhall said. “We also ran the ball off-tackle better than I thought we would at this point.”
Hine said he is liking the direction the Cougar offense is going.
“I thought we performed great,” he said. “Man, it's so early and we're doing so well, it's all promising.”
On the defensive side, the BYU head coach noted that there was quite a bit of consistency for the number of guys playing.
“I thought it was a decent start,” he said. “I think we can still work on more physical play and more tackling.”
Mendenhall said he would give the offense the nod overall, if he had to choose.
The Cougar coordinators were pretty succinct in their opinions of how their units did on the day.
Offensive coordinator Robert Anae just kept repeating that he thought a lot of "good work" was done, while defensive coordinator Nick Howell said he wasn't going to have much to say until he looked closely at the film from the scrimmage.
Howell was a little more critical of his defense, however, saying he would’ve liked to see more.
“My biggest takeaway is that we are athletic and we can run,” Howell said. “But we didn’t play the run well at all. That’s not good. You’ve got to play great run defense if you want to do anything else. We’ve got to improve that.”
Mendenhall said the scrimmage “didn’t sound the way (he) would hope it would sound” for the defense.
“That’s usually how I gauge defensive intensity and effort,” he said. “There weren’t enough things that made me turn my head and say, ‘Oh, who was that?’ ”
Mendenhall said that a number of projected contributors didn’t see action in the scrimmage because they were banged up, including senior safety Craig Bills, junior running back Jamaal Williams, sophomore defensive back Dallin Leavitt among others.