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Defense gets the edge at BYU football scrimmage

By Jared Lloyd daily Herald - | Aug 10, 2017
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The Brigham Young Cougars held an August scrimmage ahead of their first game of the season Thursday, August 10, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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BYU linebacker Fred Warner (4) gets pumped up during a Brigham Young Cougars team scrimmage Thursday, August 10, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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BYU quarterback Tanner Magnum (12) plays during a Brigham Young Cougars team scrimmage Thursday, August 10, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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BYU linebacker Fred Warner (4) gets pumped up during a BYU team scrimmage Thursday, August 10, 2017, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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BYU quarterback Tanner Magnum (12) plays during a Brigham Young Cougars team scrimmage Thursday, August 10, 2017 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

Ever since last Saturday, the BYU football team’s defensive players have heard about how the Cougar offense had the best of the competition in the first scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

It was pretty clear on Thursday that they weren’t going to let it happen again, at least not this time.

“We did take it personal because this is our No. 1 competition right now,” BYU senior safety Micah Hannemann said. “It’s always fun being competitive on scrimmage days.”

Hannemann didn’t hesitate when asked if the defense achieved its goal.

“I feel like the defense won today and I can say that pretty confidently,” Hannemann said.

Cougar head coach Kalani Sitake and junior quarterback Tanner Mangum didn’t dispute Hannemann’s perception.

“We called out the defense last time and they responded,” Sitake said. “I was really pleased with how they pressured the quarterback, disrupted plays and caused turnovers. I don’t know if it was as much what the offense wasn’t doing as it was what the defense was doing.”

Sitake explained that, knowing the competitors that are on the BYU defense, he expected them to rise to the challenge.

“Since the last scrimmage, they have been on a mission to show they are better,” Sitake said. “If we play like we did today on defense, I’ll be really happy.”

As far as the offense went, Mangum felt like they just weren’t sharp.

“We were a little sloppy,” he said. “It wasn’t our best practice but that is going to happen. You can’t get too down over one practice. The defense made a lot of plays today, so we’ve got to learn from it. It was good for our defense to come out and have a good day. Sometimes you just have to take it.”

He said he expected the defense to ramp things up.

“There are a lot of guys on that side of the ball who were really fired up, talking some trash, but that’s fun and competitive,” Mangum said. “They took it to us a little bit, so we will have to come back and respond on Monday.”

The defensive intensity put the BYU quarterbacks in tough situations and the result was a number of interceptions during the scrimmage.

“The quarterbacks were off-center, chased by the rush,” Hannemann said. “It’s easy to get interceptions when we’ve got a good defensive line. It was fun.”

Hannemann pointed to an interception in the end zone by junior safety Zayne Anderson as his favorite moment from the day.

“We haven’t been getting that many interceptions at safety in practice,” Hannemann said. “It was good to see him drop back perfect, then make a play on the deep ball.”

Sitake credited the defensive guys from keeping the Cougar offense from getting on track.

“They would make good plays here and there but they couldn’t get much momentum going because of how disruptive our defense was being,” Sitake said. “There is stuff to work on but I’m pleased with how our guys are working in the trenches. I think the defensive line had something to prove and had a chip on their shoulder.”

Mangum pointed out that the pendulum swings back and forth depending on the day during fall camp, but now it is the offense that needs to stand a little taller.

“A lot of it is energy and mental focus,” Mangum said. “We need to make sure we are dialed in and giving it our best effort on every play. We can’t take any plays off. We need to come back on Monday and be more consistent throughout the entire practice.”

As the head coach, that’s how Sitake wants to see the BYU offense respond to having the bar set by the Cougar defense.

“Hopefully we’ll get a good response,” Sitake said. “We have another opportunity to go live a week from today and we’ll see how that works out.”

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