PROVO — BYU linebacker Alani Fua and safety Craig Bills were both named to the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Preseason Watch List on Thursday. The Bronko Nagurski Award is given to the most outstanding defensive player in college football.
Fua, who is also on the watch list for the CFPA Linebacker Trophy, enters his senior season with 5.0 career-sacks, 82 tackles (63 in 2013) and three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. The 6-foot 5-inch, 228-pound Fua has been a durable player for BYU, playing in 34 out of a possible 39 games while in Provo.
The 6-foot 1-inch Bills is coming off an impressive junior season which included 78 tackles and two interceptions. In 2014, the senior from Provo is expected to be one of the anchors of a very deep and talented secondary.
A month from now, the BYU football team will be into its second week of preseason camp. In the leadup to workouts, the weekly 'Cougar Quiz' is here to help pass the time and sharpen the wits of BYU football fans.
Any score over 50% can be considered respectable. Anything in the 70-90% range is commendable, while a perfect score is something you can put on your résumé.
Good luck on this week's quiz, and as always, be sure to share the quiz on social media, and tweet out your results--if you did particularly well.
The roll-out of college football's preseason awards watch lists continued on Tuesday, with BYU players Devin Mahina and Edward Fusi both honored by inclusion on nominee lists for their respective field positions.
Mahina was one of 38 players named to the nominee list for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation's outstanding tight end, while Fusi is one of 66 nominees for the Rimington Trophy, awarded to the nation's premier center.
As noted in my article ranking the games on BYU's 2014 football schedule, BYU is slated to face only three teams from the "power" conferences during the upcoming season. Yet, as an independent, BYU is playing more power teams on an annual basis than ever before.
During the 29 seasons of the LaVell Edwards era, during which BYU played as a member of the WAC or MWC, the Cougars played a total of 80 games v. power teams, or an average of 2.8 such games per year.
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Jamaal Williams on Monday received the first of what are sure to be many preseason honors, as both were among 76 players named to the watch list for the 78th annual Maxwell Award, presented to the College Player of the Year.
Hill enters his junior season as BYU's all-time leader in QB rushing yards, with 1,680. His 14 career rushing touchdowns are second to Steve Young's 18.
The 2014 BYU football season is replete with promise. The collection of offensive talent returning and the confidence emanating from coordinator Robert Anae lead Cougar fans to believe that BYU's attack could be among the program's most prolific.
While Bronco Mendenhall relinquishes play-calling responsibilities to coordinator Nick Howell, the head coach's defensive system is a proven commodity, and despite some key losses on that side of the ball, expectations are that the BYU defense will do considerably more than simply keep the Cougars in every game.
BYU training camp is now less than a month away, meaning the weekly 'Cougar Quiz' will soon be replaced by actual news from the gridiron.
Until that time, stay sharp with this weekly jaunt through the pages of BYU football's history books. Master Cougar trivia tidbits old and new, then be sure to share the quiz with your friends and loved ones.
Any score better than 50% can usually be considered better than average, but the post-quiz score calculation should let you know where you actually stack up against your fellow fans. If you do well, shout it from the rooftops--or on Twitter, at least.
After a week away (thanks to Jason Shepherd for handling last week's 'Cougar Quiz'), I'm back with our tenth weekly BYU football quiz of the offseason.
As always, any score over 50% is respectable; anything over 70% calls for some serious chest-thumping.
So, put your books under the desk, keep the search windows closed, and give it a go. If you do well (and even if you don't), be sure to share the quiz with your BYU-fan friends.
In contrast to 2013, when BYU Football Media Day was used to announce a number of key news items, the 2014 version came and went on Monday without any major pronouncements from head coach Bronco Mendenhall or athletic director Tom Holmoe.
Both noted general satisfaction with the football program's current path as an FBS independent, notwithstanding Mendenhall's recent comments about his desire that BYU eventually find a home in a league like the Big 12.
The pair also addressed the school's internal review into potential football-related NCAA violations, with Holmoe acknowledging that BYU has reported findings to the NCAA, adding that any violations would be in "a lower category...not a major issue."
It's that time again, Cougar fans. With Greg Wrubell away, he has entrusted me with this week's 'Cougar Quiz.'
These ten questions will test your knowledge on Cougar players, both past and present, BYU records and little-known facts. Some of the answers may surprise you.
Everyone likes to have bragging rights, so once you've completed the quiz, make sure you share it with your friends.