Camp Day 9

BYU football: Hoffman's ability to go get the ball provides a huge offensive asset

2012-08-11T16:00:00Z 2013-11-06T21:45:23Z BYU football: Hoffman's ability to go get the ball provides a huge offensive assetJared Lloyd - Daily Herald Daily Herald
August 11, 2012 4:00 pm  • 

In Saturday morning's BYU football practice, Cougar junior wide receiver Cody Hoffman was just out there doing what he does.

Catching touchdown passes.

He kicked off the team portion of the session with the type of move BYU fans have gotten used to.

He went deep down the left sideline, then adjusted on the pass from senior quarterback Riley Nelson to snatch it away from the cornerback for the 20-yard TD.

"It feels good," Hoffman said. "When I was watching, it looked like the offense was having some trouble getting in the end zone, so it's good to come out and contribute to the team and score."

The junior has become such a huge threat in the Cougar pass game because he has proven that when the ball is in the air, he's going to use his size, athleticism and ability to go get it.

"It's about getting the reps that you can," Hoffman explained. "You have to practice it but some of it also requires natural instinct and ability."

Hoffman said it's fun to go back and look at those types of catches on film.

"They always look good," he said. "I can laugh about it. It's all about who wants to get the ball more. I'm a competitive person and it's just what I do."

That's a dream for a quarterback, who knows he can let his receiver make a those type of adjustments.

"It makes life so much easier as a QB," said BYU senior quarterback James Lark. "If you have a guy that you know is going to make a play, all you have to do is put it in an area and he'll go get it. You're not going to see a DB as big as a guy like Cody and receivers should be in best position. A guy who is going to go get it is the guy you want to throw to."

It can also often be a frustrating situation for the defense, since they can be in great position and just not quite be able to get to the ball.

"Cody is a great player," explained Cougar sophomore safety Craig Bills. "My freshman year, he was on scout team and he was making plays then. It's fun for us, since it gives us the work against a big body out there who goes up and makes plays. Sometimes we'll be in the right spot but we still have to find a way to make a play on the football."

While that makes for some tough moments for the BYU secondary during camp, Bills looks on it as a chance to learn by going against such a talented receiver.

"It gives us a test and helps push us," Bills said. "Particularly in the Blue Zone, they are going to be looking for Cody each time. We have to key in and make plays. It prepares us really well."

Hoffman said that he developed his adjustment ability in high school, when the quarterback wouldn't always get the ball to right spot.

"I got used to having to go get to the ball," the junior receiver said. "It just kind of carried over into college and I'm glad it's helped me get this far."

Lark's opinion is that a lot of that recognition, however, simply is something inherent in the player.

"I personally believe that's just natural ability," Lark said. "You can train an athlete to be the most skilled they can be, but in the end you have football players out there that are going to make plays."

Bills said the defender can only play his assignment and then be the one to make a play.

"There's not much more we can do," he said. "If we're in the right spot and he out-jumps us, it's what happens. There are other techniques as well but first we have to be in that spot and then it's just play football."

Wait, which brother is older?: Craig Bills isn't the only member of the Bills family currently on the team. His brother Kevan has also draw positive reviews for his play at linebacker.

Ironically, Kevan, who is older by 15 months, is listed as a redshirt freshman while Craig is officially a sophomore.

"I was thinking about that and it's kind of weird," Craig Bills said. "I could be watching his games when I'm done with my career."

No hitting again: For the second straight morning, the Cougars practiced in just helmets and shoulder pads. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said he likes what the players are accomplishing without going with the full pads.

He said they are going to probably wait until the next scrimmage on Aug. 16 to return to more live action.

Setting the depth chart: Mendenhall said that he wasn't ready to make any announcements as far as depth chart decisions.

He did say, however, that he has began organizing that chart and might be ready to talk about those as soon as next week.

"There's still some discussions to be had," he said.

Catch of the day: While Hoffman made a great play for the touchdown, it wasn't the most impressive reception during practice on Saturday.

That award was earned by junior wide receiver Jordan Smith during one-on-one drills when he laid out perfectly to snag a long pass just before hitting the ground that was just out of the reach of the cornerback.

Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or at jlloyd@heraldextra.com. He can also be followed on Twitter at @JaredrLloyd.

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