The BYU Cougar hoopsters open pre-season tournament play by hosting Division I independent Longwood Friday night at the Marriott Center--the first of BYU's four games in the Chicago Invitational Challenge.
Thursday afternoon, following his team's 85-minute practice, BYU head coach Dave Rose met the media and previewed Friday's game, saying "we saw a lot of improvement from our first game to our second game, and hopefully we can make the same improvement here from second game to third game."
Although he had no new light to shed on conference realignment rumors, BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said Wednesday night that a move to the Big East could be good for BYU under the right circumstances.
"One of the appeals to joining any conference, if we were to join a conference, is that it would give you access to the top-tier bowl games without having to be undefeated as the conference champion," Mendenhall said during his weekly show on KSL Radio. "However, exposure is also very important for this institution and for the (LDS) Church. And so I would like access to those games and I would like the best exposure possible at the highest tier. And 10 games on ESPN is hard to beat."
Conference realignment rumors are once again swirling around the BYU Football program, but Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall maintains he has learned of no new information since confirming discussions between BYU and the Big East Conference last week.
"I haven't heard a thing," Bronco Mendenhall told reporters after his team's practice Tuesday evening at the indoor practice facility.
There are reports that BYU has been invited to join the Big East for football only, but that the school has yet to accept the offer. BYU Athletics spokesman Duff Tittle issued a statement in which he said "the university has remained consistent in its approach -- dealing directly and privately with appropriate individuals and organizations and not commenting on day-to-day conjecture. Nothing has changed in our approach."
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall updated quarterback Riley Nelson's health status and talked about the switch from Nelson to Jake Heaps during the coach's weekly press conference Monday morning, saying "it is an adjustment."
"There will have to be some things changed," said Mendenhall about the move from a mobile quarterback to a pocket QB. "There are a number of running plays that make (Nelson) effective...but Riley's simple ability to scramble is what makes it so difficult."
Saying "I think we've gained as much momentum as you can without playing a game," BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall recapped his team's bye-week during his weekly radio broadcast from LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"I think we made the best of it, but we won't know until we play," Mendenhall said. "I think we're healthier than we were after the last opponent we played. The kids are caught up in school at a higher level, and they've gained some strength through additional lifting. We've had a chance to self-scout and really narrow in what our most productive plays are offensively and defensively, and maybe identify a few tweaks that need to happen here or there for the stretch run."
The only instate team to beat Utah State head coach Stew Morrill at the Spectrum visits Logan on Friday night as the BYU Cougars travel to face the Aggies in the season opener for both teams.
Morrill has amassed a 25-1 home record against instate programs, with his only setback coming almost 12 years ago, when a BYU team led by Terrell Lyday's 35 points went into the Spectrum and came away with an 82-73 win, on January 8th, 2000. Current BYU head coach Dave Rose watched from the bench that night, as an assistant to then-Cougar sideline boss Steve Cleveland.
Speaking with the media after Tuesday's practice, BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall discussed back-up quarterback Jake Heaps' options for the future, including the possibility of redshirting in 2012 if the team's current starter, Riley Nelson, continues to lead the Cougars at QB.
"It is an option we've talked about," Mendenhall said. "Jake was actually pretty excited about that possibility, knowing that Riley still has to play well… it's probably a wise thing to do to create separation between (Heaps and Nelson)."
Saying it "feels better to actually have something good to talk about," BYU center Brandon Davies spoke to the media after the Cougars' Marriott Center practice on Tuesday, his first public comments since an honor code-related suspension ended his 2010-11 season in the campaign's closing month.
You can hear Davies' entire interview session, and the post- practice comments of head coach Dave Rose, by clicking on their audio links in the "Cougar Cuts" box, to the left.
Noting "the way that college football is shifting and shaping right now," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall on Monday acknowledged and confirmed that the expansion- minded Big East Conference has expressed interest in BYU.
"There is a push, and there are conversations that are in place, for the Big East to convince, or to have BYU join that conference," said Mendenhall at his weekly press conference. "I trust our athletic director (Tom Holmoe) and President (Cecil O.) Samuelson to deal with all that. I've been informed along the way, and at some point there will be a decision on what our intentions will be. I don't know how fast, nor do I think the time frame is relevant at this point."
The BYU Cougar hoopsters hit the Marriott Center hardwoods for their second and final exhibition game Friday night, having seemingly settled on a new point guard to lead the team into the 2011-12 season.
His name is Brock Zylstra, which is interesting, only because replacing Jimmer Fredette was the last thing on his mind after last season.
Following a tough loss to TCU last Friday, the BYU football team has entered it's first of two bye weeks this month, giving the Cougars a chance to get healthy and their coach an opportunity to evaluate punt game problems that appeared at Cowboys Stadium.
"Today's practice was mostly younger player development," Mendenhall told media members at the indoor practice facility following Tuesday's practice. "We did have almost a half-hour of just individual work, position mastery for our older guys."
The BYU Football team is 6-3 on the season, and while a wise man once said "you are who your record says you are," the Cougars' record is at the same time an accurate reflection of their identity and a frustrating reminder of what could have been.
BYU has beaten six teams it should have been expected to beat--after all, none of the Cougars' six victims has a winning record at this point of the season.
BYU's first season in the West Coast Conference will begin with the Cougars tabbed to finish third in preseason voting done by the league's nine head coaches.
The voting results, along with preseason all-conference selections, were announced Thursday at the WCC's Basketball Tip-Off event from YouTube headquarters near the league offices in San Bruno, Calif.
The BYU Basketball team tipped off preparation for its first season in the post-Jimmer era and West Coast Conference by holding its annual Cougar Tipoff Wednesday night in the Marriott Center, where the team split into two squads and competed in a formal scrimmage.
Led by senior Noah Hartsock's double-double--including the game-winning three-point play—-the Blue Team pulled off a 74-71 victory against the evenly-matched White Team.
Speaking of his hopes to defeat TCU this Friday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said, "Not all my eggs are in this basket, but I'm anxious to see how our current team goes down and does. They're eager to play, they're excited to play, and they're confident and anxious to take on this team on this stage."
The coach made the comments during Tuesday night LaVell Edwards Stadium broadcast of "BYU Football with Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall, Presented by the University Parkway Ken Garff Dealers," during which we were also joined by former BYU LB David Nixon and current BYU DL Matt Putnam.
You can hear the entire show broadcast by clicking on the audio link in the "Cougar Cuts" box to the left.
Bronco on BYU and realignment: "Those that want us; fantastic. If they don't, I would rather stand alone."Posted Oct 25th - 10:48pm by Greg Wrubell
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall responded to the latest round of college football realignment rumors on his Tuesday night KSL Radio show, saying while he "can only speculate," BYU's current perceived status as an apparent Big 12 membership also-ran "comes to this really unique issue--just to be very blunt--of culture."
You can hear Mendenhall's comments on realignment in "Cougar Cuts," to the left.
With ostensibly the toughest game remaining on BYU's schedule coming up Friday versus TCU at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, head coach Bronco Mendenhall doesn't see it as a game that will make or break the season.
"I see it as our next game to improve our team, " Said Mendenhall after practice at the indoor practice facility Tuesday evening. "This is a great opportunity for us, a lot of exposure, but to go any further than that, that's not the way I see it."
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall previewed his team's Cowboys Stadium meeting with TCU during his weekly press conference, saying Friday's game with the Horned Frogs "just made a lot of sense."
"TCU is a program that I respect," said Mendenhall. "It's a program that has won a lot of football games, it's a program that is a consistent, not only a top 20 finisher, but recently a top 10 finisher...and a program that we were matched up with in our conference."
"We have a difficult game coming up on a short week, and our team is looking forward to the challenge."
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall would prefer that this Saturday's meeting with FCS visitor Idaho State be played a little earlier in the season, but independent scheduling challenges being what they were going to be in 2011, he's ready to make the best of the situation.
In BYU's case, the game offers the Cougars a chance to sharpen their new-look offense and make plays on pass defense, while allowing banged-up front-liners to recuperate--and yes, get in some preparation for next week's game at TCU.
With five games to play in his team's regular season, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said "there's a real urgency as the clock is ticking, and I don't think we've reached the level we can play at."
The coach the comment at the start of his weekly broadcast of "BYU Football with Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall," broadcast on KSL Radio from LaVell Edwards Stadium.
You can hear the entire broadcast by clicking on the audio link in the "Cougar Cuts" box to the left, or by going to the show page audio archive in the "BYU Sports Menu."
|Orleans Arena, Las Vegas||3/11 7:00 pm|
The station representative who can assist a person with disabilities with issues related to the content of the public files is Mike Dowdle, available during regular office hours at email@example.com and (801) 575-5555.