Saying "it was nice to play in front of people," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall guided his team through its first open practice of camp Friday morning--a session that drew 1,257 fans to the outdoor practice field complex.
You can hear the entirety of Mendenhall's post-practice media session by going to "Cougar Cuts" to the right.
On the first day in full pads, the Cougars went through a two-hour morning workout on Thursday--a session that included the first interception thrown by QB Jake Heaps in camp.
Heaps had been close to perfect through four days of camp, going 21/25 (one incompletion each day) for 337 yards and throwing four touchdowns. Thursday, Heaps went 1/3 in the "team" portion of practice, for nine yards, while Daniel Sorensen recorded the pick on a ball that Heaps floated for an open McKay Jacobson.
We've hit the midway point of the first full week of BYU Football camp, and on Wednesday the offense "came to life," according to head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
The coach said the offense was moving "not only on the ground, but throwing the ball, which was a nice kind of complement."
Saying it was "just a change of routine more than anything," head coach Bronco Mendenhall brought his guys out of the heat and into the Indoor Practice Facility for day three of camp on Tuesday.
"I like to kind of keep the team guessing as to what practice will be like and and what conditions we'll do it in," said Mendenhall. "Camp is long and the more that I can keep them guessing and and break the routine and break monotony, I like doing it that way."
Multiple defensive personnel combinations highlighted BYU's second day of camp Monday--a session shorter than Saturday's 3 1/2 hour-plus marathon. On another blazing hot wind-less afternoon in Provo, the Cougars went about 2 1/2 hours in their last practice before the pads go on Tuesday morning.
You can hear post-practice interviews with head coach Bronco Mendenhall and OLB coach Kelly Poppinga by going to their respective links in the "Cougar Cuts" box to the right. You can also hear post-practice comments from OLB Kyle Van Noy, C Terence Brown and RB Bryan Kariya.
With temperatures expected in the mid-90s all week, the BYU Football team starts its first full week of practice today with a single afternoon session.
Today will be the second and last day of newcomer acclimation, with the rookies starting and ending practice a half hour ahead of the veterans. Today will also be the final day of helmets-only practice; the shoulder pads go on tomorrow, and after two days in "shells," full pads are allowed for the first time on Thursday.
On a hot, cloudless afternoon in Provo, the 2011 BYU Cougars held their first practice of fall camp Saturday, and made it count--from when the newcomers took the field to when practice wrapped up took well over three hours.
The newcomer acclimation period was followed by a 30 minute special teams period, after which the participants were allowed to rest and re-charge for the full-squad session that formally began closer to 4:45pm. After the solid two- hour session, Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said "from structure, format and retention, that part looked good. From execution, precision and effort, that part has a ways to go."
For 105 players, the 2011 BYU Football season begins today.
Reporting day for the Cougars is a day for the newcomers to hear from their head coach, for orientations, paperwork, physicals, and the first team meeting.
Tomorrow, the players will pull on their white "Oval Y" helmets and hit the practice field. Four weeks from tomorrow, those players will come out of the tunnel at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, MS.
In the days leading up to camp in each of the last couple of seasons, I have compiled a list of ten questions to be answered or ten issues of interest during the ensuing three weeks of workouts.
In looking back at last season's pre-camp checklist, I found that many of the same things I mentioned in the summer of 2010 will be items of note again in 2011. Let's take a look at some of last year's "Ten Things I Am Interested To See In Camp" (besides the Heaps/Nelson QB battle, which grabbed all the headlines), and see how the same questions might be posed this summer.
In two days, the football players who will comprise BYU's 105-man fall camp roster report for duty.
After a Friday full of meetings, physicals and orientation, the team traditionally begins Saturday's Day One of camp with an early morning run to the "Y" serving as the team's annual conditioning test, before holding the initial practice that afternoon.
My freshman year as a BYU student was the Cougar football team's national championship year of 1984. I found out very quickly what it meant to be a Cougar fan; now a new book gives us insight about "What It Means to Be a Cougar."
BYU Associate AD for Communications Duff Tittle has compiled an entertaining and inspiring chronicle featuring contributions from dozens of BYU Football coaches, players and others who have been close to the program, from its earliest days to the current decade.
Coming off a 32-5 dream season in 2010-11, BYU head basketball coach Dave Rose assembled his 2011-12 team for the first time Monday--the first day of practice ahead of the squad's preseason trip to Greece.
Taking the newly-designed floor at the Marriott Center, 13 players ran through a workout that lasted a little under two hours. Rose met with the team as a group before the session to set expectations and get the newcomers familiarized with drills, etc.
BYU Basketball coaches will be arriving back in town on the weekend, capping a busy month of July in which recruiting takes center stage. Monday, the coaches will get their first official look at the 2011-12 roster as the team prepares for its mid-August trip to Greece.
Out of state, the Cougars' number one target remains Chicago prep sensation Jabari Parker, a member of the Class of 2013. BYU is is seen by most recruiting experts as a long shot to acquire Parker's services, but Parker himself says BYU is very much in the mix. Considering his current five-star status and the fact he has two years left of high school, Parker is shaping up as perhaps the best LDS basketball prospect ever. Jimmer Fredette is arguably BYU's best ever player as a collegian, but as a prospect, he was reatively little-known. Parker is already a national force.
In losing 17-16 to Utah last year, the BYU Cougars saw the game swing on a handful of key plays.
Among those plays: a Utah punt that grazed a BYU player, extending a Utah possession resulting in a touchdown, and of course the blocked BYU field goal attempt (pictured above) that clinched the game for the Utes; two huge special teams plays that affected the outcome of the game.
Five weeks from Saturday, the BYU Cougars will step into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (pictured above) and face the Ole Miss Rebels on their home field. The game will kick at 3:45pm CT in Oxford, MS--smack-dab in the middle of the day's highest heat, on an artificial surface that one BYU coach recently told me will feel like "130 degrees." Add in the famous southern humidity, and the Cougars will face environmental factors as extreme as any they will face all season.
Yet, as hot as it is going to be for the Cougars, the Rebels and their head coach may be feeling even more heat, and it could be a factor that plays to BYU's advantage.
The instincts that helped make Jackson Emery into BYU's alltime steals leader told him that the time was right to hang up the high-tops, so Emery is giving up pursuit of a pro basketball career to enter the business world.
"Everything happens for a reason," Emery told me this afternoon. "With the (overseas) market being really down this year and really slow and my agent having a really tough time--not because I'm not a good player, but just because of the whole market--I got a job opportunity here...(that) I decided I'm going to go with."
The next few days will be my final days off before I get back to work for the 2011-12 BYU Sports season. Basically, from late July through the end of the BYU Basketball season in mid-to late March, there are no vacation days (with the exception of a day or two around Christmas, if I'm lucky), so the middle of July usually represents my final fling, as far as time off goes.
As such, before I vacate the premises for a short time, here is an end-of-the week clearinghouse of scattered BYU Football/Basketball musings, in no particular order.
BYU sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps was today named to the 38-player "watch list" for the Davey O' Brien Award Watch List, given annually to the nation's best QB. His teammate J.J. DiLuigi is meantime one of 51 RBs on the Doak Walker Award watch list (see end of posting).
BYU quarterbacks have won the O'Brien Award four times-- more than any other school. Jim McMahon won the honor in 1981, Steve Young was a recipient in 1983, while Ty Detmer went back-to-back in 1990 and 1991. Additionally, BYU QBs have finished second (Robbie Bosco, 1984) and 3rd (Steve Sarkisian, 1996) in award balloting.
BYU's Jimmer Fredette capped off his personal awards season by winning an ESPY for Best Male College Athlete Wednesday night at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
Fredette outdistanced UConn point guard Kemba Walker and Auburn QB Cam Newton for the award, which Jimmer received from singer/actor Justin Timberlake (shown above with Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers).
With a newly-signed contract keeping him in Cougar blue for at least three more seasons, Bronco Mendenhall joined Marc Lyons and me during KSL Radio's two-hour BYU Football Media Day Special on Tuesday afternoon.
You can hear Mendenhall discuss his new three-year deal and his program's path to independence by clicking on the audio links in the "Cougar Cuts" box to the right. In Hour 1 of Tuesday's broadcast, you will hear Mendenhall, BYU LB Jordan Pendleton and BYU Offensive Coordinator/QB coach Brandon Doman. Hour 2 features BYUtv Managing Director Derek Marquis, ESPN VP Dave Brown, BYU QB Jake Heaps, former BYU OL and current ESPN commentator Trevor Matich, and WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich.
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