As BYU prepares for Friday night's home meeting with Middle Tennessee, the Cougars are pulling up the rear in the national passing stats--unfamiliar territory for a program credited with helping to introduce high-octane aerials to the modern college game.
Offensive coordinator Robert Anae, who as a lineman blocking for some of the school's most prolific quarterbacks in the 1980s, is acutely aware of the struggles and the stats, and acknowledges that ranking 123rd of 123 FBS teams in pass efficiency is "kind of a sign of the stage of where we're at right now."
"The pass game has not been effective," said Anae after Tuesday's practice, "and the run game has been spotty as well. It has got to be tightened down on all levels."
Since surgery to remove a cancer from his pancreas more than four years ago, BYU head basketball coach Dave Rose has returned to the Huntsman Cancer Hospital in Salt Lake City every six months, for routine diagnostic scans. "It's an interesting way to live," Rose says of the regular visits.
After years of clean reports, his most recent scan revealed cancer 'spots.' The decision was made to perform surgery to remove the cancerous tissue.
Two weeks ago Monday, Rose underwent the procedure, followed by days of recovery in the hospital. On Sunday, Sept. 15, Rose returned to his Provo home. Today, he is well into the recovery process and on track to lead his team when practice begins on October 7th.
Acknowledging that his team was "disappointed" and "saddened" by Saturday's 20-13 home loss to Utah, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall on Monday said a short week before the Cougars' next game would be "the best medicine" for his team.
Mendenhall said Friday night's home meeting with Middle Tennessee "forced (his players) to get right back to work."
"I was impressed with their practice habits today," Mendenhall told media members Monday evening, "and their resiliency and looking forward to getting back to work. That's the temperament and the mood I saw today."
PROVO — BYU announced on Thursday that the NCAA has approved a waiver request by the Cougars on behalf of Notre Dame transfer Chris Badger to allow the defensive back to play this season.
The approval makes the redshirt freshman eligible for competition immediately.
A native of Provo, Utah, Badger prepped at Timpview High School. After finishing his high school career in 2009, he enrolled mid-year at Notre Dame before serving an LDS mission during the 2010-2011 seasons. He returned to Notre Dame for the 2012 season where he completed his redshirt year.
PROVO — BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall knows what it takes to beat Utah in the team's annual rivalry meeting.
For three straight years, though, that victory has eluded him. Moreover, his attempted to squelch the flames of over-enthusiasm by approaching the battle of in-state foes as ‘just another game.'
With time running out for some of his most talented recruits to finish their BYU careers with a win, Mendenhall is trying something different.
BYU will enter Saturday's game with Utah missing one of its most important defensive players.
Senior linebacker Spencer Hadley has been suspended for five games, as the result of an honor code violation.
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced an indefinite suspension in an afternoon press release, citing a violation of team rules; school spokesperson Carri Jenkins later released a statement, in which the five-game term was attached to Hadley's suspension.
The BYU football team was back on the outdoor practice fields Monday afternoon, but if a bye week freshened the team ahead of its meeting with Utah, head coach Bronco Mendenhall had a hard time seeing it.
"If I were to say from what I saw today," said Mendenhall, "it's been the other way. It looks like our players were sluggish and kind of bored; it's like 'when are we going to play the game already?'... and we're not prepared to play it yet."
"If I had to do it again, just after experiencing (the bye week), I would have rather had the (Utah) game come right after Texas...after going through it, it seems like a month since we played."
PROVO — Brigham Young University and the University of Utah announced on Monday that the two schools have agreed to a home-and-home football series to be played in 2017 and 2018.
The game in 2017 will be played on Sept. 9 in Provo, while the game in Salt lake City is scheduled for Nov. 24, 2018.
"As many people are aware we have been working on these two games for awhile," said BYU AD Tom Holmoe in the official release. "It's an important historical series for the state and the fans of both schools. It's nice to have it completed."
With the BYU Cougars off until their home game with Utah on Sept. 21, here, in no particular order, are a few football facts to tide you over during the bye week.
Those who follow me on Twitter (@gregwrubell) have seen some or most of these posted on my feed in recent days.
Two days after their 40-21 demolition of Texas on national television, the BYU Cougars were back on the practice field Monday, with head coach Bronco Mendenhall seeking to "set the vibe" heading into a bye week and a looming matchup with Utah.
Mendenhall said the early part of the week would focus on "fundamentals and younger-player development," with preparation for Utah picking up on Thursday; players will then be given the weekend off. The Cougars and Utes will play in Provo one week from Saturday at 8:15 p.m. MT on ESPN2.
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