Riley Nelson speaks like a coach, or definitely a senior.
All he can do is worry about what he can control, and he recognizes that. In large part, with a prominent target still missing from BYU's fall practices, it comes down to his own body.
Namely his feet.
Rather than just focus on his arm, and his throwing — and Nelson has heard all of the criticisms of what he's good at, or not — he often found himself playing the role of a football-versioned Fred Astaire.
Nelson, who says his goal in camp is to keep his completion percentage above 70 percent, focused heavily on timing and balance while often throwing passes to his array of receivers during summer workouts.
"I still get off-balance at times, but I feel the ball's coming out of my hands as consistently as it ever has. I'm encouraged about that," said the left-handed Nelson, who threw one of his finest passes through five days of camp Tuesday.
He connected with Brett Thompson on about a 50-yard pass play, the longest of camp. Thompson, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, ran a post route and Nelson did a nice job of under-throwing it enough so that his target could react favorably against a face-guarding defender.
Asked how he decided where to aim, Nelson made the reference of a golfer who is trying to hit a long putt. The axiom there is that you can't make a putt by leaving the ball short of the hole.
"Well, here it's the opposite," Nelson said, inferring that a too-long pass does zero good.
He wants his receivers to go get the ball, even if they have to come back to it, and Thompson did beautifully with a defender face-guarding him.
Nelson has Ross Apo and Cody Hoffman as his two primary targets, though Hoffman has now missed the last four days of camp since the starting day last Thursday, along with safety Joe Sampson, for what head coach Bronco Mendenhall has called team-discipline issues.
Mendenhall said last Friday that he expected the duo of likely starters to return to the field the next day, but that still hasn't transpired.
Both players were apparently weightlifting while the team worked out.
Mendenhall said the two players, whose situations are "kind of" related, will stay out "until I feel great about where they are."
"I wouldn't be too worried," the coach added, trying to calm the nerves of Cougar Nation when pressed for more urgency about the situation. "When they come back out to practice, whenever that is, we'll all be happy."
Apo said: "At times, it's a little rough. It's always good to look over and see Cody on the other side. Then it's hard for the defense to choose when they're going to do when there's both of us."
Nelson added that he feels Hoffman will be "perfectly ready" whenever he finally returns to the field.
Apo credited junior receiver Skyler Ridley for doing a beyond-serviceable job in Hoffman's absence. Nelson said that tight end Marcus Mathews (who missed the Tuesday practice while ill) and "versatile asset" David Foote have been two more players that have showcased themselves favorably since the start of camp.
Not that it mattered much to end Tuesday.
Most of the session-ending 11-on-11 drills were skipped after running back Mike Alisa and safety Daniel Sorensen were engulfed in a brief skirmish.
Mendenhall then opted, through a drill he created on the spot, to both make the whole team work out the pent-up frustration and also make it chill out. He downgraded the apparent punishment as a "teachable moment."
A series of hurdles to jump (some ropes, some blocking pads) made up the gauntlet. That was followed by fully submerged dunks in the ice baths that players have been using after practices to alleviate muscle issues.
Nelson lamented the team losing a few drills to the improvised plan, but otherwise played it off.
"It was just two periods out of 29 practices...we'll be all right," he said.

∫Sorensen still hoping to kick: BYU officials confirmed that kicker Justin Sorensen would undergo an MRI for his surgically repaired back Tuesday.
Sorensen has yet to kick in camp. The coach and player met Monday afternoon to go over the future. There's still optimism Sorensen will be ready to start the season.
***Jason Franchuk can be reached at jfranchuk@heraldextra.com. Follow him on Twitter, @harkthefranchuk.