The dormant BYU run game was a main talking point after Tuesday afternoon's practice, with the post-workout media session the last such availability before the Cougars welcome Central Florida to LaVell Edwards Stadium on Friday night.
Running back J.J. DiLuigi speculated on the reason the rush attack (118th nationally) has failed to live up to its potential in the first three games of the 2011 season:
With nine players returning on the offensive side of the ball, including 2010's top three ground gainers, three national award candidates on the line and a sophomore QB whose late 2010 performances hinted at a prolific future, BYU appeared poised to start the 2011 season where it left off in 2010.
Instead, the Cougar offense languishes as one of the nation's weakest, with 1-2 BYU now welcoming a 2-1 Central Florida squad that despite its soft schedule, is one of the country's top statistical teams on defense.
So, what happened, and what is likely to happen next?
Coming off a 54-10 Saturday setback to Utah, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall used his weekly press conference to assess the aftermath of the worst loss in his head coaching tenure.
"The more wins we can get the better, in year one of independence," said Mendenhall, "but as we already can see, it's not going to be easy."
Addressing the timing of this week's matchup against the University of Utah, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said "I'm not sure I like it. I'm not sure I'll get used to it. But we're very anxious to play in front of our home crowd, and I am looking forward to the game."
Mendenhall made his comments during his weekly LaVell Edwards Stadium broadcast on KSL Radio, during which we were also joined by former BYU TE Chad Lewis and current BYU nose tackle Romney Fuga.
There was a common theme among talk from players and coaches as they emerged from a grueling Tuesday practice, four days ahead of BYU's rivalry meeting with Utah: the running game.
The same BYU offense that came out of spring practice looking seasoned and strong in the ground attack has averaged a mere 67 yards per game in the first two weeks of the season, and only 2.5 yards per rush.
With the exhibition basketball game now ten days away, the 16-man roster for "Jimmer's All-Stars: Presented by Zions Bank" has been finalized.
Today's news brings to eight the number of NBA Draft first-round selections on the roster. Also included are five second-round picks, two free agents and Jimmer Fredette's former BYU teammate Jackson Emery.
PROVO -- Saying "I still haven't gotten used to the idea of playing Utah in week number three," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall looked ahead to the annual rivalry game during his Monday morning on-campus press conference.
You can hear Mendenhall's press conference in its entirety, and post-presser interviews with Jameson Frazier, Travis Uale and Bryan Kariya, in "Cougar Cuts," to the left.
The numbers show Bronco Mendenhall's BYU teams are generally better on offense in game two, as compared to their season-openers.
Here are BYU's game one/game two point totals in the Mendenhall era:
BYU fans will get one more chance to see Jimmer Fredette and former backcourt running mate Jackson Emery on the Marriott Center hardwoods.
The organizers of "Jimmer's All-Stars Presented by Zions Bank" have announced that Emery will be joining the list of players confirmed to play in two exhibition games featuring Fredette and other NBA first round draft picks, September 21st in Salt Lake City and September 22nd in Provo.
During his weekly press conference, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall looked ahead to Saturday's game at Texas while reflecting on a season-opening win at Ole Miss that presented the "best of both worlds," from a "teachable moment" perspective.
"You get a great victory," said Mendenhall, "and you also know what defeat could have tasted like, because you were behind most of the game. There's the sense of relief that 'I'm glad we won,' but there's a lot we can improve."
You can all of Mendenhall's press conference audio and post-presser interviews with center Terence Brown, linebacker Jordan Pendleton and wide receiver McKay Jacobson, in "Cougar Cuts."
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall had his team back on the practice field Monday evening in Provo, with the Cougars running through a helmets-only practice in the IPF, five days ahead of their date with the Texas Longhorns in Austin.
Saying he worries about scheme before he concerns himself with personnel, Mendenhall commented after practice about the UT offense, led by new co-coordinator Bryan Harsin, who left Boise State after the 2010 season to join Mack Brown's staff in the Lone Star State.
BYU's season-opening, 14-13 win at Ole Miss on Saturday was all about expecting the unexpected.
The predicted scorching hot, humid weather was replaced by cloudy skies, highs in the 80s and a pleasant breeze in Oxford.
A BYU offense that entered the came hoping to capitalize on its experience had difficulty executing in numerous scoring situations.
In a few hours, the BYU Cougars kick off their 2011 season-- the school's first-ever season to start without a conference to call home.
The newly-independent Cougars debut in the Deep South: Oxford, Mississippi, where the rebuilding SEC's Rebels provide the opposition. Coming off a 4-8 campaign in 2010, Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt is out to prove that last season was a trip-up and not a trend.
A third BYU player who started August camp healthy has been lost for the season.
Devin Mahina (pictured above) becomes the second tight end to have his season ended before it began, after being diagnosed with a neck fracture on Tuesday.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall and head trainer Kevin Morris reported that Mahina underwent X-rays on Monday, followed by a CT scan on Tuesday. Typical recovery time is in the neighborhood of 10-12 weeks; with a redshirt season available, plans are to sit Mahina for the season and get his sophomore season back in 2012--assuming he can continue his playing career.
The picture above was taken tonight, moments after Lone Peak High School stars Nick Emery (left) and T.J. Haws (right) committed to play for Dave Rose and the BYU Cougars.
Nick is the younger brother of former Cougar Jackson Emery (center), while T.J. is the younger brother of Cougar Tyler Haws, who is currently serving an LDS mission to the Philippines.
Word I get is that both players got together on Sunday night and decided they would commit to BYU at the same time. They arranged to meet Coach Rose in his office Monday evening and delivered him the good news around 6:30pm--shortly after coaches and players had left the Marriott Center floor following individual skill development sessions.
BYU head hoops coach Dave Rose and three of his players reflected on a just-completed trip to Greece and the return of Brandon Davies, when they gave interviews to a group of local reporters Monday afternoon at the Marriott Center.
You can hear interviews with Rose, Brock Zylstra, Noah Hartsock and Charles Abouo (along with the football-related interviews from earlier in the day) by going to "Cougar Cuts," at left.
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall met the media in his first weekly press conference of the season Monday morning, pronouncing his team "really excited" for Saturday's opener at Ole Miss.
You can hear the entirety of Mendenhall's press conference remarks in "Cougar Cuts" (left).
Last summer, when the first conference realignment tremors were being felt, BYU administrators may have been sitting by their phones. No calls came. Not from the Pac-10, not from the Big 12. "We were never involved," said BYU AD Tom Holmoe recently.
The reasons were probably numerous, but in general, you could say the Pac-10 seemingly had a genetic, philosophical aversion to BYU, while the fractured Big 12 had a stated desire to unify and prosper within its Texas/Oklahoma power center.
PROVO -- With BYU's fall semester starting in only three days, Cougar basketball coaches, players and fans have received the news they had hoped was coming: Brandon Davies has been readmitted to BYU and will reclaim his spot on the Cougar Basketball team.
BYU announced the news in a Friday afternoon press release:
It was back to the great indoors on Friday morning, as the Cougars continued Ole Miss game prep with a roughly 90-minute practice session at the Indoor Practice Facility.
With Saturday projected to be a typical "Tuesday" format practice, head coach Bronco Mendenhall said the last two days of practice functioned as sort of a two-part "Monday."
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