BYU Kickers Shine During Practice Observation

Aug 15, 2023, 8:34 PM | Updated: 8:35 pm

PROVO, Utah – The BYU football kicker spot has been a big question during fall camp practices.

Coaches such as headman Kalani Sitake and Special Teams Coordinator Kelly Poppinga have said they are not worried about the kicking game throughout camp. But the media didn’t get to see much of the kickers until Tuesday.

During Day 12 of camp, BYU opened up a 20-minute observation window for the media. Most of the observation was watching the field goal team attempt kicks. The top two kickers are Boise State transfer Will Ferrin and freshman walk-on Matthias Dunn.

All but one of the kicks from Ferrin were made during the media window of practice. Dunn made all of his attempts.

The field goal attempts went as far as an estimated 45 yards.

That’s a positive sign for BYU as they head into the season looking to replace the program’s all-time leading scorer at kicker, Jake Oldroyd.

Kelly Poppinga told KSL Sports on Tuesday that Ferrin has only missed three kicks throughout fall camp. Dunn has had a lot of success as well. The former BYU linebacker plans to name a starting kicker later, likely on game week heading into the opener against Sam Houston.

BYU’s third option at kicker is freshman Jordan Kapisi, who stepped into the 120-man fall camp roster after Justen Smith medically retired from football.

Unloading the BYU football practice notebook

Here are some additional notes from what occurred during the media observation window at practice on Tuesday.

WR Keanu Hill was off to the sideline during practice. He cheered on his teammates during the portion of practice the media could observe. One notable absence from practice was starting safety Micah Harper. Talan Alfrey and Malik Moore replaced Harper on the first-team defense at safety.

QB Kedon Slovis continues to impress in the passing game. His only mistake was a low ball that was batted down at the line of scrimmage by an interior lineman on the first-team defense.

Jake Retzlaff appeared to be with the second-team offense on Tuesday during the team portion of practice. The former JUCO standout had a great strike over the middle to Talmage Gunther for a big gain.

Noteworthy observation along the offensive line

–BYU’s offensive line was interesting on Tuesday. We saw Paul Maile and Connor Pay going back and forth between guard and center. Another interesting wrinkle was redshirt freshman Sonny Makasini earning first-team reps at guard.

–Makasini was initially a Utah State signee in the 2019 recruiting cycle out of Timpview High School. After completing his two-year missionary service for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Makasini signed with BYU. Last year, he made an in-season switch from the offensive line to the defensive line during Liberty week. He’s been back along the offensive line this year and has earned valuable snaps at guard.

Return game

— Hobbs Nyberg projects to be the starting punt returner for BYU this season, according to Kelly Poppinga.

— The kick return spot could have players such as Talmage Gunther, Keelan Marion, and Parker Kingston as options. All three took some returns during specialist work in Tuesday’s practice.

— Redshirt freshman linebacker Isaiah Glasker was earning snaps again with the first-team defense. Other linebackers on what appeared to be the first unit were AJ Vongphachanh and Ben Bywater.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on Twitter/X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Kickers Shine During Practice Observation