With BYU football training camp only 100 days away, I figured now would be a good time to get Cougar fans in the gridiron mood, and what better way than with skill-testing trivia.
The following ten questions will test your knowledge of BYU football history. For the most earnest of fans, it will be a piece of cake. For others, thinking caps might be required.
PROVO — The BYU Cougars concluded spring football practices on Friday evening. After five weeks, the Cougars feel like they got the work done that was needed and have a much better sense of what to expect come the fall.
Last year’s spring football was all about implementing a new “go fast, go hard” offense. This year, the players and coaches were able to focus more on player development and playing at a higher level. Head Coach Bronco Mendehall was happy with his team’s offensive performance and talked about what and who impressed him over the past few weeks.
“Our completion percentage (was) very high for the entire spring, our third down percentage (was) very high for the entire spring,” Mendenhall said. “The ability to protect the quarterback is improving, the emergence of some players at wide receivers; Nick Kurtz, the junior college transfer was really impressed as he progressed through the spring.
Only a day after praising point guard Matt Carlino as an "impact player" who played "a terrific season" for BYU in 2013-14, Cougar head coach Dave Rose on Tuesday announced that Carlino has elected to leave BYU and continue his career as a graduate transfer.
Carlino plans to graduate from BYU in June with a bachelor's degree in recreation management and youth leadership; NCAA rules permit student-athletes who have graduated to transfer without the penalty of sitting out a season.
In a press release distributed by BYU, Carlino said "I'm grateful for the opportunity Coach Rose and his staff have given me."
PROVO— The BYU Cougars returned to the field for their final week of spring practice Monday and it was "a hard work day," according to head coach Bronco Mendenhall, who, after practice, also gave reporters a follow-up assessment of Saturday's scrimmage.
Mendenhall revised Saturday's play count to 105, up from his post-scrimmage 102-play tally, noting that the total did not include penalty or kicking plays. He said the scrimmage featured "a lot of good things."
"There was a ton of work for a lot of players that we needed to see, depth wise," Mendenhall said Monday. "A few players emerged, (including) Dallin Leavitt and Trevor Bateman in the secondary. I already mentioned (linebacker) Zac Stout right after the scrimmage, and I would add (LB) Austin Heder and (defensive lineman) Tanner Balderree.
Reflecting on a 2013-14 campaign that saw BYU recover from an 8-7 start to earn a 10 seed in the NCAA tournament, Cougar head coach Dave Rose on Monday called it a "terrific" season.
In a one-on-one interview Rose annually holds with media members who cover his team, the coach told me that entering the season, "we were a little bit nervous about the roster, with only 10 scholarship guys eligible to play. As a staff, that was our biggest concern: could we make it through the season with a limited group of guys?
"For the most part, we stayed healthy, and they gave us all that they had. We ended up with a trip to the NCAA tournament, which is your first goal every year. We want to advance, and that didn't happen this year, and that's obviously disappointing, but we learned a lot about the future of our program during this season.
PROVO — What a difference a year makes — on the offensive side of the ball, at least.
That was among the main takeaways from Saturday's scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium that signaled an unofficial end to spring practices with still a final week of work facing head coach Bronco Mendenhall and his team.
BYU ran 102 plays in just under 90 minutes on a pleasant, sunny morning that attracted 6,500 fans to the stadium. The offense accounted for just under 600 total yards on the day with 375 of them coming through the air. Junior-to-be Taysom Hill was credited with 19 completions in 27 attempts for 307 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Meeting the media for the first time since news of BYU running back Jamaal Williams' recent citation for underage drinking was made public, head coach Bronco Mendenhall on Tuesday said the issue "was addressed so long ago now between he and I that I really don't intend to address it again."
"He's in great standing with our program--was, and is now, and will be going forward," said Mendenhall.
Asked a follow-up question regarding Williams' status, Mendenhall said "there is no follow-up; I've already answered it."
BYU opens NCAA tournament play versus Oregon on Thursday at Milwaukee's Bradley Center as a West Region 10 seed that some national observers said doesn't even belong in the tourney's field of 68.
BYU head coach Dave Rose on Wednesday responded to those doubters, when asked what he might say to them.
"I'd just tell them that if you would spend five months with our team," said Rose, "you would have a whole different understanding, reasoning, interpretation or feeling about our team because these guys deserve to be here."
PROVO — The BYU Cougars began the third week of spring football with a practice inside the indoor practice facility on Monday. Head coach Bronco Mendehall was genuinely pleased with the progress and effort that he’s seeing from his players.
“We had a good practice today, guys worked really hard,” Mendenhall said. “They’re not getting tired of running into each other. … I’m encouraged by what I see.”
Echoing the sentiments of his head coach, running back Jamaal Williams likes what he sees from his teammates and is encouraged by the team’s mindset.
PROVO — BYU is making its 28th NCAA tournament appearance, and its 21st since seeding was expanded to the entire field in 1979. Of those 21 appearances, 16 have been as an at-large entrant. Until this season, BYU had never received an at-large bid with as many as 11 losses.
So how did 23-11 BYU not only earn a spot in the field, but grab a better-than-expected 10 seed? The answer was in large part earned during the dog days of November and December, when the Cougars were playing a non-conference schedule that would eventually rank among the top five in all of college basketball.
BYU faced eight non-conference opponents which qualified for the NCAA tournament, defeating four of them, with two of the victories coming away from home. If there was any message sent by the selection committee on Sunday, it's that schedule really matters.
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