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QB Hill gets up to speed on Cougars’ new offense

Brigham Young hasn’t named Taysom Hill its starting quarterback, but the sophomore has emerged from spring practice as the leader of the offense installed by new offensive coordinator Robert Anae.

Learning the offense hasn’t been easy.

“The tempo is the biggest thing,” Hill said. “No huddles — running a play every 15 seconds.”

Hill’s 2012 season ended Oct. 28 when he suffered a knee injury on the final play against Utah State. After minor surgery, months of rehabilitation and a cautious spring void of contact, Hill will be cleared to start running at full speed in a week.

“That’s been the hardest part for me, because that’s who I am,” he said of being held back in practice. “I want to come out and compete and battle.”

Running is a key part of Hill’s game. Despite missing seven games with the injury, he still finished as the team’s second-leading rusher with 336 yards and four touchdowns.

“We need to be smarter,” Hill said. “Coach (Jason) Beck and Anae are adamant on us sliding and not taking shots. That’s something I need to work on, in particular. It’s not what I’ve done. I’m not used to that, so I’ll continue to work on it and get better.”

He’ll get his final work of the spring today when the Cougars conclude practice with a scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Coach Bronco Mendenhall will be watching closely as his team continues to learn the new offense.

“I like it a lot,” he said. “It feels right at home, and for the first time it feels like the entire program is unified beyond my expectations.”

■ SPECIAL INVITATION — The NFL has extended an invitation for BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah to attend the April 25 draft in New York City. The 6-foot-6-inch senior defensive end from Accra, Ghana, is projected to be a top-10 pick by most analysts.

But Ansah had to make a phone call before committing to attend the draft. His graduation day s also is April 25.

“I had to talk to the department to find out if I can walk on a different day,” Ansah said. “I got it figured out, and I get to go.”

Ansah, who joined the team as a walk-on in 2010 after spending two seasons on the track squad, will graduate in actuarial science, with a minor in mathematics. He will finish his degree this month, but return to campus in August to receive his diploma.

■ NEW COACH — Geoff Martzen has joined Mendenhall’s staff as football player personnel and on-campus recruiting coordinator. He has held similar positions at Boise State and Alabama.

■ FOOTBALL SPECIAL — BYUtv (Cox 352) will air an hourlong “Spring Football Special” at 5 p.m. Monday. Mendenhall, Anae, Hill, receiver Cody Hoffman and linebacker Kyle Van Noy will be featured.

Dave McCann is a news anchor for KSL television in Salt Lake City and the play-by-play voice for BYU sports on BYUtv. He is also the host of True Blue, which airs Mondays at 5:30 p.m. on BYUtv. He can be reached at dmccann@ksl.com or on Twitter @DaveMcCannKSL.

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