PROVO — The tradition of Homecoming is all about greeting old friends and reliving the past, and this year's Homecoming football game is no different.
BYU welcomes familiar foe Georgia Tech to LaVell Edwards Stadium this Saturday -- a team the Cougars rolled 41-17 last season in Atlanta -- and looks to continue its tradition, spirit, and honor of stifling option attacks.
"I think we know what we're doing, and coach Mendenhall knows what he's doing, and it's from experience," said defensive coordinator Nick Howell after team practice Wednesday evening. "We put a lot of time, a ton of time, into preparing for the option, so we're all on the same page and have a good system [to defend] it."
PROVO — The BYU football team reaches the midway point of the 2013 season on Saturday, with the Cougars' riding high on optimism and feeling like they've got a little bit more figured out.
A 2-0 win streak — the first of the year — will do that to anyone. But so, too, will finally being able to look at game film and fix the chinks in the armor that BYU's offense developed over the first few games.
"We really went back, saw where we were successful in previous games, and we stuck with those things," sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill said on Tuesday. "We built off the good, and threw out the ones we weren't successful with."
With the 2013-14 BYU basketball team a little more than two weeks away from suiting up for the first time (the intra-squad Cougar Tipoff is Oct. 23), head coach Dave Rose says he and his staff are dealing with an unfamiliar challenge.
"It's the first time in a long time that I have more new players (than returning players)," Rose said during his annual Media Day address on Tuesday in Provo. "That is going to take a lot of patience on our part."
"We rely on those experienced guys to help bring those (new) guys along, and now we're looking at six or seven (newcomers)."
BYU has announced three new football scheduling agreements, including a deal with Stanford that will start in 2020 and conclude in 2025.
The dates of the Stanford series include two games on Thanksgiving weekend at Stanford Stadium: Nov. 28, 2020, and Nov. 26, 2022. The Cardinal are slated to visit LaVell Edwards Stadium on Sept. 2, 2023, and Sept. 13, 2025.
BYU will also renew its rivalry with University of Hawai'i; the schools will meet twice, with games scheduled for Nov. 25, 2017, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu and Nov. 17, 2018, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
Above .500 for the first time in the 2013 campaign, the BYU Cougars are preparing to host a Homecoming tilt with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
It was almost a year ago in Atlanta that BYU defeated the Jackets 41-17--a game that also happens to mark the last time BYU scored in all four quarters of a game.
The performance was less notable for the Cougars' offensive output than it was BYU's defensive lock-down on a Tech attack that was among the most prolific in college football last season--particularly on the ground, with a run game that ended the season ranked fourth nationally in yards per game.
PROVO — Going into a hostile environment to play a Utah State team that leads the Mountain West Conference in several areas and has a 2-2 record on the season can be a challenge. But BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall likes his team's chances to get a win in such a scenario as the Cougars take on the Aggies on Friday night at 6 p.m.
Much of that confidence likely stems from BYU's recent 37-10 home win over Middle Tennessee.
"It's always good to have a win and see coaches smile, and players happy," Mendenhall said Wednesday night on "BYU Football with Bronco Mendenhall." "They've worked hard enough to earn that. I see glimpses of something stronger; I like what I see."
PROVO — As the Cougars and Aggies continue to prepare for Friday night's showdown at Romney Stadium, the Cougar defense looks forward to the challenge of containing Chuckie Keeton.
"He's a good quarterback, he's elusive, and he can make plays," said BYU safety Craig Bills. "It's exciting anytime that you're going against a quarterback or a player that makes plays. It's a good opportunity to show what you can do. We just need to play assignment sound and we'll be able to contain him and do other things with our defense."
The Cougars have had success against Keeton the last two years by holding him to 35 of 63 passing for two touchdowns, with an average of 162 yards passing a game. The Cougar defense has also held him to 16 rushes for 45 yards, an average of 2.8 yards a carry.
PROVO — For the second straight game, the BYU Cougars are preparing for an opponent on a short week. BYU will however have its full compliment of offensive players when they take the field on Friday in Logan.
Running back Jamaal Williams (concussion) and receiver Cody Hoffman (suspension) will return to a Cougar lineup that has struggled with consistency over the first four games of the season. However, having both players available will no doubt bolster an offense that seemed to find a good rhythm last week against Middle Tennessee. Offensive coordinator Robert Anae said that it will be 'huge' to have both players back.
"Both of them are proven play-makers...Jamaal has carried the ball a lot of times and Cody has caught the ball a lot of times; we look forward to that addition back into the offense."
LOGAN — BYU and Utah State will resume their football rivalry on Friday night in Logan. BYU has won five of the last six matchup with the Aggies under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, with the lone loss coming in Logan in 2010.
Here's a look at what the Aggies are saying about the clash with the Cougars:
Head Coach Matt Wells on BYU ...
Having won 12 of the last 13 meetings with their Cache Valley counterparts, the BYU Cougars visit Utah State on Friday night. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall calls the contest "a great instate matchup...it should be an exciting game."
Asked to contrast the game with BYU's other historical instate rivalry, Mendenhall on Monday said "it's a different kind of rivalry" than the one with the Utah Utes.
"I'm not saying it's better or worse," Mendenhall noted after his team's late afternoon practice, "but it's just different, and I think it should be. Different teams, a little bit more distance, but still I think (it's) a great game, and it has been the past number of years--it has gone right down to the end."
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