With the Poinsettia Bowl just two days away, BYU hit the practice field once again at Helix High School in La Mesa, Calif. on Tuesday.
Instead of being greeted with warm sun and blue skies, the Cougars worked out in the rain for the majority of their their 90-minute session.
Despite the precipitation, everyone seemed happy with the improvement from Monday's "sluggish" practice.
With a Poinsettia Bowl meeting with San Diego State only three days away, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall was a bit disappointed in the Cougars' first San Diego practice Monday.
"I thought it was a little sluggish", Bronco said after the session at Helix High School. "Moving from the hotel, practicing here; a little bit different practice time in the morning...wasn't quite as sharp as what I expected or hoped for."
BYU practiced in shorts and helmets today, and will do the same thing on Tuesday. Mendenhall said the team got most of its contact work done back in Provo. "This is a very similar model we've followed with the successes we've had. I think it matches our team right now."
They were just two games, but each of BYU's last two wins could go a long way to helping the 2012-13 Cougar hoopsters maximize their potential.
Saturday night's 78-68 victory at Weber State was not only the Cougars' first true road win of the season, it snapped a 20-game Weber State homecourt win streak--the nation's fourth-longest run at the time of the game.
Two days ahead of his team's instate set-to at Weber State, BYU head basketball coach Dave Rose on Thursday said his 6-3 squad has "a lot of areas that we can improve upon; we need to play better, and I think our guys know that."
Roughly a quarter of the way through the college hoops season, Rose says his squad has just scratched the surface of its capabilities as it seeks continued improvement.
"I do believe that there's some real potential with this group," said Rose after Thursday's Marriott Center practice. "I believed that from the beginning, and I continue to believe that."
A week away from the Cougars' Poinsettia Bowl meeting with San Diego State, James Lark continues to take the majority of the practice snaps at quarterback.
"It will be mostly that way through the week as Riley (Nelson) continues to kinda recover", said head coach Bronco Mendenhall on Wednesday. "(Nelson's) reps could increase and probably will increase as the week goes."
Bronco also said it's unlikely that he'll name a starter before next Thursday's game against the Aztecs.
PROVO — Four hours before the BYU football teams kicks off with San Diego State in next Thursday's Poinsettia Bowl, the Cougar basketball program will be focused on Chicago, as high school hoops sensation Jabari Parker reveals his college choice.
Parker said Wednesday that he will make his announcement a week from Thursday, bringing to an end his high-profile recruitment that included a strong pitch from BYU, one of his five finalists.
Despite its faith-based connection to Parker, BYU is seen as the heavy underdog in the recruiting battle, and comments from Parker's father Sonny seemed to underscore the Cougars' status as darkhorse.
KSL Newsradio's live broadcast of "BYU Basketball with Head Coach Dave Rose" aired Tuesday night from Legends Grille, and had assistant coach and former BYU point guard Terry Nashif filling in for Rose, who was on the road doing some recruiting.
BYU guard Anson Winder was the player guest; to hear the show in its entirety check out "Cougar Cuts" (left). For highlights of the talking points, read below.
After the Cougars' dominant offensive showing in a regular-season ending win at New Mexico State, BYU offensive coordinator Brandon Doman and players on that side of the ball look to keep that momentum going into their Poinsettia Bowl meeting with San Diego State, one week from Thursday in San Diego.
Tuesday evening, for what seemed like the first time this season, the run game was the main topic of discussion with Coach Doman in a post-practice media session. San Diego State's defense is allowing under four yards per carry this season and the Aztecs will be out to stop BYU's primary back Jamaal Williams. Doman is hoping his offense will be able to establish a ground game.
For the BYU basketball team, this week of final exams follows the Cougars' first in-state test of the season—a weekend win over Utah that further solidified BYU's current status as the dominant force in the blue-red hardwoods rivalry.
Saturday's come-from-behind, 61-58 victory improves Dave Rose's record to 12-3 against the Runnin' Utes, with BYU having won seven in a row and 11 of the last 12 meetings. The seven straight wins equal a BYU streak set from 1964 through 1967 and is second only to an eight-game run from 1909 through 1912—-the first eight games played between the two schools.
Cougar Tracks: Mendenhall says Nelson "not healthy enough right now" to be considered Poinsettia Bowl starterPosted Dec 10th - 6:51pm by Greg Wrubell
Meeting the media after his team's first practice in preparation for the Poinsettia Bowl, head coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday that quarterback Riley Nelson is "not healthy enough right now to be considered as the (Poinsettia Bowl) starter yet."
"We've got time," said Mendenhall, but "at this point, we have to plan on James (Lark) working and going forward, and then just wait to see where Riley catches up."
Mendenhall said Nelson "practiced a little bit today. Still not 100% (with a rib cartilage injury)...he did get some work, but I would consider it light at best, if you were to describe it."
On the same day Utah State announced that basketball player Danny Berger had been released from the hospital, USU and BYU also announced that their postponed basketball game has been re-scheduled, for Tuesday, February 19th at the Marriott Center.
BYU's press release on the rescheduling reads:
While in San Diego on Wednesday to help promote his team's upcoming appearance in the Poinsettia Bowl, BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall was asked about recent rumors that have him linked with the coaching vacancy at Colorado.
As reported by the Deseret News, Mendenhall denied expressing interest in, being contacted about, or interviewing for the open job in Boulder—-a post which remains open after Cincinnati's Butch Jones turned down the school's offer of employment.
BYU head coach Dave Rose said Wednesday there is "no question" that postponing this evening's scheduled basketball game between Utah State and BYU was the correct decision, after Aggie forward Danny Berger's collapse and hospitalization on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters only hours before game would have tipped off, Rose said that although unconfirmed reports of a postponement circulated Tuesday night, Utah State requested that BYU hold off on a postponement announcement until Wednesday morning, since "there was still a possibility that the game would be played."
With Utah State basketball player Danny Berger remaining hospitalized in critical condition after his on-court collapse on Tuesday, officials from USU and BYU have announced the postponement of the teams' Marriott Center meeting scheduled for tonight.
Utah State's press release on the situation reads:
A day ahead of his team's Marriott Center meeting with the Utah State Aggies, BYU head hoops coach Dave Rose said his players "are really focused on getting better as a team."
Following the second of two practices in preparation for Wednesday night's game, Rose said the last couple of days have been spent "trying to evaluate your team and correct things," while at the same time, "having enough confidence in your ability to believe that you're a good team and can respond to a tough situation."
At 5-3, the BYU hoopsters are off to their most sluggish eight-game start since 2006, and while there is a lot of basketball left to play, early-season shooting numbers represent a bit of a red flag for the boys in blue.
BYU's three-point percentage is pacing for a Rose-era low, a season after the 2011-12 squad set a new low-water mark from the arc. The Cougars' overall FG% (.450) is almost identical to the previous Rose-era low set in 2010-11 (.449).
BYU head coach Dave Rose is planning on making changes to his starting lineup for the second straight game. After practice on Tuesday, Rose said, "We're gonna change it tomorrow, so it'll be a little bit different...I think I'm actually really pleased with how way we start games; looking for the best way to continue that start."
Last Saturday against Cal State Northridge, BYU's starting five consisted of Craig Cusick, Brock Zylstra, Tyler Haws, Agustin Ambrosino and Brandon Davies. Davies and Haws are locks to be starters. As far as Craig Cusick knew on Tuesday, he will remain the team's floor general, saying, "I think so as of right now, but you never know; things can always change."
It appears that the switch will probably come at the forward position with Josh Sharp returning to the lineup after a one-game absence.
The BYU pass attack has been ranked in the middle of the FBS pack over the last two seasons (47th in 2011, 51st in 2012), but the "receiving" part of the passing offense has shown steady improvement in the two years since Ben Cahoon was hired to coach the wideouts.
If the wide receivers' primary objective is to catch every ball thrown their way, then BYU has come a long way from 2010--the season before Cahoon came on board.
When the 2012 BYU Football season began, there was no question about the identity of the team's starting quarterback. Riley Nelson was the senior incumbent, coming off a season in which he ended up ranked 16th in pass efficiency.
After coming off the bench for Jake Heaps in game five of the 2011 season to rally the Cougars to a win over Utah State, Nelson then paced BYU to victories in six of his seven starts.
Nelson's insertion in 2011 awakened a slumbering BYU attack, as he sparked the team with his mobility and ability to keep plays alive; the Cougars went from one of the worst third-down conversion teams before ho took over, to the best third-down team in the country over the season's final eight games.
For the first time in their postseason history, the BYU Cougars will play a bowl opponent on its home field.
BYU on Monday confirmed that the Cougars will meet San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl on December 20th at the Aztecs' home venue in Qualcomm Stadium.
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