PROVO — In ksl.com's final set of build-up previews to the 2013 college football season, this week's assignment is to make each in-state team's case as "Best in State."
My job is to state the case for the Cougars, so here we go:
Beehive Boot bragging rights
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall called it "one final chance to get a look at a few situations," after watching his team go through a Wednesday morning scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
With most first-stringers held out, Mendenhall said the exercise had as its primary objective the identification of personnel depth, "to see if we could solidify any extra players that we might want to take with us when we go to Virginia (for the season-opener on Aug. 31)."
The West Coast Conference released its 2013-14 Men's Basketball schedule on Tuesday, with the travel-partner format restored, as Pacific joins the fold to form a ten-team league.
BYU will open its conference season with the Los Angeles road swing through Loyola Marymount (Saturday, Dec. 28) and Pepperdine (Saturday, Dec. 30), before opening the home slate the following weekend, with San Diego visiting the Marriott Center on Saturday, Jan. 4. The Cougars will close out their WCC campaign by visiting the Toreros on Saturday, March 1st, following an in-week bye.
BYU's two byes come early (Thursday, Jan. 2), and late (Thursday, Feb. 27) in the conference season. From Thursday, Jan. 9 through Saturday, Feb. 22, BYU will play Thursday-Saturday every weekend, for seven consecutive weekends.
New faces in new places were the order of the day Monday in Provo, as the BYU football team opened its last day of a camp two-a-days with a morning session at the outdoor practice fields.
Due to multiple injuries, three players have been added to the 105-man roster, while at the same time, three players have been assigned to the defensive backs group--a position group hit hard by injuries over recent months.
The BYU Cougars neared the two-week mark in camp with another day of two-a-days on Friday.
The morning session (which reporters observed for the final 20-25 minutes) concluded with three series of 11-on-11 work; quarterbacks Taysom Hill, Ammon Olsen and Jason Munns each led one drive.
No touchdowns were scored in the no-shoulder pads, no-hitting "team" session.
PROVO — BYU announced its 2013-2014 men's basketball non-conference schedule on Thursday. In total, the Cougars will play 13 non-conference games; six at home, three on the road, and four at a neutral site.
After two preseason games at home against Colorado College and Alaska Anchorage on Oct. 26th and Nov. 2nd, the Cougars will begin the regular season at home against Weber State on Nov. 8th. The Cougars will then travel to Stanford on Nov. 11th to face the Cardinal in Palo Alto.
BYU has been invited to participate in the College Basketball Experience Hall of Fame Classic. The tournament will feature home games on Nov. 14th and 16th, and then the championship round at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri on Nov. 24th vs. Texas; followed by a matchup with either Wichita State or DePaul on the 26th.
Heading into spring ball, BYU first-year defensive coordinator and secondary coach Nick Howell thought his cornerback spot had never looked better.
Field corner Jordan Johnson was returning for his junior season after breaking up 15 passes in 12 starts last year. Junior college transfer Trent Trammell was expected to immediately compete and likely replace Preston Hadley at boundary corner. Football/baseball cross-over Jacob Hannemann was penciled in to push for playing time. Veteran corner/safety combo players Mike Hague and Skye PoVey were projected to contribute, juco recruit Sam Lee boosted corner depth, while freshman Dallin Leavitt was another standout addition from the recruiting Class of 2013.
"We, I believe, had more depth than BYU has ever had at corner," said Howell this week. "Healthy bodies, good players...and now, things change fast, so you've gotta adjust on the fly and you've gotta go--that's what happens."
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall on Wednesday abbreviated a scheduled morning practice, calling for "a slight break today."
Citing injuries and fatigue, Mendenhall said "I thought we started to lose some momentum in camp." He said the team did not do any 11-on-11 work today, but instead worked on individual/unit assignments, wanting to "work on some recovery, physically, and focus on treatment," before "looking to gear it up again."
Mendenhall said the practice was conducted at "walk-through" tempo; the session ended before reporters arrived, so the scheduled media observation period was not held.
Another day, another player lost for the season at BYU.
Monday, the Cougars learned they'd be without cornerback Jordan Johnson for the 2013 campaign, following an ACL tear suffered in Monday morning's practice.
Today, the school announced that an MRI confirmed a pectoral muscle tear for 6'3", 330-pound nose tackle Tuni Kanuch, who now requires surgery that will end his season.
After generally staying away from BYU camp, the injury big bit and bit hard on Monday, with the news that starting cornerback Jordan Johnson tore an ACL during practice on Monday morning; the school says a subsequent examination determined that season-ending surgery will be required.
Johnson's injury occurred during a kickoff return sequence, before the media's practice-observation period; head coach Bronco Mendenhall did not mention the injury and was not asked about Johnson in particular in interviews afterward.
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