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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ross Apo impact evident, even when not with the ones

Dick Harmon
sports writer | Aug. 12, 2010 at 8:23 a.m.
It's an interesting dynamic when you have talent. Most coaches love experience but they'll always tell you they'll take talent any day because the talent can continue to get better and better.
In freshman Ross Apo, BYU has a unique receiver talent folks in these parts just haven't seen in the program. He's tall, fast, has great reach and he's got a great personality that teammates and coaches love to be around. And he's getting better day by day as he learns the offense.
On a football team, it's kind of interesting to see coaches and players go through a kind of code when they talk about themselves. The veterans are to be respected, saluted and praised while one holds back praise of rookies who need a rite of passage. Very understandable.
But in BYU's four practice sessions so far, it is interesting to see who Jake Heaps and Riley Nelson try to get the ball to when they are trading reps with different units and they find themselves playing with the twos and Apo. Daily, he has continued to make big plays on long yardage situations, third-down conversions and even scored touchdowns. When going against the second or third defense, Apo is uncoverable and these QBs know it.
The best way to describe this is to picture in your mind the role of Dennis Pitta when a play was needed the past couple of years with Max Hall.
It's also respectable to see how Nelson, one of the two most-used QBs addresses the situation, not only with Apo but an obviously talented freshman class that is impacting the team right now.
Says Nelson:
"We don't have to be read on day 1 of camp, we have to be ready on Sept. 4. It's a long journey, it's not a sprint. I feel very encouraged."
How much will the freshman class contribute?
"As much as coaches determine they can contribute.. Obviously you can see the talent is there. I love those guys, they've come in and they are ready.:
Specifically about Apo:
"Maybe not on day one but by day 29 he could definitely contribute," said Nelson. "He has all the talent in the world and he's doing all the right things; he's staying coachable, staying humble and hungry. He's learning the offense and everyone goes through growing pains no matter how talented they are, making the jump from high school to college is a challenge.
"I just hope he stays relaxed and confident in his abilities. He needs to earn his place. We do have talented guys coming back with experience with McKay, Luke, Spencer and O'Neil' and all those guys have played at least 20 games and so that is something Ross, just by the nature of coming out of high school, can't have. But as far as talent goes, and body type, we're really excited about Ross."

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