Camp week has finally arrived. BYU players report for duty this Friday, with the first practice to follow on Saturday afternoon.
KSL.com's preseason previews continue this week with my assignment being to determine BYU's three most pressing training camp objectives.
PROVO — It may be a significant shift in the football rivalry between BYU and Utah State, which has exploded of late with the improvement of the Aggie program.
The schools announced Friday the series would change to a home-and-home format from the upcoming season through 2016, and the Utah State athletic director said that's the way he expects the series to continue in the future.
"The escalation of our football program and where we're at is a much different scenario," USU AD Scott Barnes said in a phone interview with KSL.
PROVO — BYU guard Kyle Collinsworth returned home from his LDS mission to Vladivostok, Russia in May. Tuesday was the first time the media had a chance to talk with Collinsworth since his return.
Besides the normal adjustments that missionaries have to make when they get home, Collinsworth is adjusting to basketball life, too. Kyle said that during his two years in Russia, he never picked up a basketball. He said he figured that playing basketball five or ten times wasn't going to make a big difference, so he decided not to do it at all and focus on the things he needed to do in Russia.
Just like we saw last year with Tyler Haws, Collinsworth has taken a more patient approach to getting back in basketball shape. So far, he thinks it's working.
The college football award watch list roll-out rolled to a stop on Friday, with the announcement of 50 candidates for the Walter Camp Award, given to the nation's most outstanding player. BYU's Kyle Van Noy is on the nomination list--his sixth such recognition of the preseason.
BYU enters the 2013 campaign with nine players accounting for 14 award nominations.
BYU running backs Jamaal Williams and Michael Alisa are among 63 nominees for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's premier running back. Alisa is a repeat inclusion from 2012, while Williams is a first-time nominee.
A senior in 2013, Alisa started five games in 2012 before suffering a broken forearm against Hawaii; he returned for spot duty in BYU's bowl game. On the year, he finished with 58 carries for 222 yards and a touchdown, adding 23 receiving yards on six receptions.
BYU on Wednesday received its draw for the semifinals at the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, with the Cougars opening against the Texas Longhorns, then facing either Wichita State or DePaul to close out competition.
Organizers of the Kansas City-based tournament announced the championship round matchups this morning, along with TV broadcast assignments. Both of BYU's games will be seen on ESPN Networks.
The tournament format calls for the championship round participants to host two on-campus contests before advancing to Kansas City; the opponents and dates for those games have yet to be announced.
This week's assignment was to identify the five best players BYU will face in 2013. The task is formidable, considering the strength of the Cougars' schedule, and the assemblage of talent that has made those teams what they are--or what we think they will be this season.
Heading into the 2013 campaign, BYU opponents Texas, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Boise State have all received preseason Top 25 attention, and all of those teams have multiple players who could vie for recognition among the best individuals BYU will see this fall. You could arguably fill a top-five including nothing but Texas players, if you so desired.
Then there are the non-BCS teams that nevertheless feature standout athletes playing a little under the national radar; players like Utah State's Chuckie Keeton, for example.
For the second straight season, BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman has been named as a nominee for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's outstanding college receiver.
Hoffman is one of 75 candidates on the preseason watch list released Tuesday; last season, the award went to USC's Marqise Lee, who returns again in 2013.
Hoffman hauled in 100 receptions for 1,248 yards in 2012, becoming only the third BYU player to reach the century plateau in receptions; his single-season yardage total was the second-highest ever for a BYU receiver.
In his final game as a member of Team USA's World University Games squad, BYU's Tyler Haws finished on a high note, scoring 10 points in helping the U.S. defeat Finland 97-70 to win its qualification final and claim 9th place, in Kazan, Russia.
Haws added five rebounds, two assists and a steal in his best performance of the games, which for the team will go down as a disappointment as a USA Basketball men's squad failed to qualify for the medal round, for the first time in 21 WUG appearances.
The college football preseason award watch list parade rolled on Monday, with nominee rosters released for the Butkus (nation's best linebacker) and Rotary Lombardi (college lineman/linebacker of the year) Awards.
BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy appears on both lists, while fellow LBs Uani Unga and Spencer Hadley joined him as Butkus nominees. BYU is one of only three schools with three linebackers named to the Butkus watch list; Notre Dame and UCLA are the others. Georgia Tech, Arizona State, Iowa, Alabama, Florida State, Mississippi State and Stanford each placed two nominees on the 51-player list.
Van Noy is one of 107 players up for the Rotary Lombardi Award. Last year, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o won both the Butkus and Lombardi honors.
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