The Cougars have been on a roll of late -- on several rolls, actually.
After a slow start to the season, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill found his arm and transformed into a true dual-threat quarterback, ranking No. 6 in the country with an average of 357.5 yards per game of total offense.
Receiver Cody Hoffman is rewriting the BYU record books on a weekly basis. The senior sensation already set new marks for touchdown grabs and total receptions in a career and stands a mere 14 yards away from capturing the title of most receiving yards in a career, too.
Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen was in the mid-90s a high school coach in Park City, out of the college game--until he got a phone call from Bronco Mendenhall, then the co-defensive coordinator at Northern Arizona.
Mendenhall needed a defensive line coach, and he called Andersen, who accepted the post and later became an assistant head coach with the Lumberjacks, before moving on to the University of Utah as an assistant. A long stint with the Utes (as defensive line coach and DC), and a pit-stop at Southern Utah (as head coach) led eventually to the head post at Utah State, where he served for four seasons before taking the Wisconsin job last December.
On Monday in Madison, Andersen said that at the time Mendenhall reached out, "I had really nowhere to go. I didn't have an in' in college football at that point. I was hoping I could get back in at some point."
BYU closes out its two-game exhibition slate Saturday night at the Marriott Center, hosting Division II foe Alaska-Anchorage--a team with some strong ties to Utah, coached by a guy with whom Dave Rose once wanted to work.
The Seawolves feature three LDS returned missionaries, two of whom played their high school ball in the Beehive State; one of those players (Brad Mears from Bingham HS) went on to play at Snow College, where he was a teammate of Seawolves guard Teancum Stafford--whose sister Behka was a BYU basketball star in the 1990s.
UAA head coach Rusty Osborne was, like Rose, a product of the Houston, Texas high school system.
Surgeries will sideline a pair of senior stalwarts on the BYU football team.
The school announced Thursday that receiver/punt returner JD Falslev will be out for up to a month after surgery to repair a broken hand, while linebacker Austen Jorgensen is scheduled for a season-ending procedure to repair damaged knee cartilage.
Falslev suffered the injury while participating in a mid-bye week team activity at a Provo indoor entertainment center; Jorgensen's injury is a cumulative-effect situation and not related to any one particular incident.
SACRAMENTO, CA — Former BYU All-American Jimmer Fredette was informed on Thursday that the Sacramento Kings would not pick up the fourth-year option on his contract.
If Fredette's option had been picked up, it would have paid him 3.1 million dollars for the 2014-2015 season. Instead, the former National Player of the Year will become an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
Fredette told Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, "this is a business decision for the Kings and they are doing what they believe is best for the organization. I will continue to work hard and be the best I can be moving forward in my career."
PROVO Years ago, from the mid-to-late 1990s into the turn of the century, I hosted a nightly sports talk show on KSL Radio. I was a solo host, and the responsibility of going it alone every night helped me grow as a broadcaster. The lone-man-in-the-booth approach also made me reliant on a good guest list, and good listener calls; this was of course before the days of tweets and texts as supplementary feedback.
One of those listeners who became a regular caller, both during my show and later during football and basketball broadcasts, was a man I came to know simply as "Glenn from Moses Lake."
His name was Glenn Perrins, and he lived in Moses Lake, Washington, but in the radio universe we shared, he was known to me by his first name and his hometown, and that was it.
If the the question from national college football commentator Tony Barnhart was unexpected, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill didn't let it faze him.
"What do you think about throwing your name in the Heisman Trophy (mix)?" Barnhart asked during Hill's Tuesday interview appearance on CBS Sports Network. "Are you a contender?"
Moments before, Barnhart referenced Hill's "coming-out party" against Texas, when the BYU sophomore accounted for almost 400 yards of total offense in leading the Cougars to a 40-21 win over the Longhorns. Hill's 259 rushing yards that night rank second all-time at BYU, and the team's 550 rush yards represented a BYU record and the most ever allowed by Texas in a single game.
PROVO — As BYU begins its second bye week of the season, Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall couldn't help but reflect on the Cougars' impressive win this past Friday against Boise State.
"After the film and watching Boise State, a really good football game. Offensively, defensively we continue to gain momentum. I think our team is improving, I think they're more optimistic than ever. The bye week comes at a really good time to heal. (It's) nice to get a few extra days looking at Wisconsin. We're looking forward to a great game in Madison, on a big stage in front of a lot of people."
After Friday's win over the Broncos, Coach Mendenhall wasn't sure how he would structure practices during the bye week. Today, he revealed that it will be a mixture of getting healthy and getting ready for the Badgers.
Perennial powerhouse Gonzaga is the favorite to win the West Coast Conference regular season championship in a preseason poll of the league's ten coaches, released on Wednesday at the WCC Tipoff event in Los Angeles.
The Zags captured eight of 10 first-place votes, with second-place BYU and third-place Saint Mary's each getting a single first-place tally. The third-through-sixth place teams were separated by a total of seven poll points.
BYU's Tyler Haws was the lone Cougar selected to the ten-player All-WCC team; Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and San Francisco each had two players selected.
PROVO — The new guys may have received most the off-season buzz, but it was the old vets who stole the show at BYU men's basketball's annual Cougar Tipoff Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
Junior guards Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws lit up the scoreboard for 28 and 31 points respectively, showing potential for a high-scoring offense this upcoming season.
"I'm really pleased with the effort of the guys, and we saw a lot of good things in the scrimmage," said head coach Dave Rose during post-scrimmage interviews. "I think there's a lot of things to improve on, but all in all, I'm pretty pleased with the guys tonight for their effort."
PROVO — Coming off one of the most wild, thrilling games in the Bronco Mendenhall era, the Cougars look to avenge last season's 7-6 heartbreaker to Boise State this Friday at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Coach Mendenhall is still "recovering" from the Cougars 47-46 victory over Houston Saturday at Reliant Stadium. The game featured multiple lead changes, three turnovers for each team, and a last-minute drive that resulted in a touchdown from Taysom Hill to Skyler Ridley.
"At this point, I remember two plays" said Mendenhall. "I remember the pass to Skyler Ridley for the touchdown and the interception by Alani Fua."
Even though the Cougars were outscored 38-34 in the first half, they were able to hold Houston to eight points in the second half and pull out a rare win in the Bronco-era when trailing after halftime and the third quarter. BYU is 6-20 when having trailed at halftime and after three quarters, but is 4-4 in the last eight such games.
PROVO — When the Cougars found themselves in a shootout at Houston, it would have been natural to drift to thoughts of a gallant return for one of BYU's top defensive backs, Craig Bills.
But the Timpview High School product wasn't phased. He trusted his teammates to get the job done, and he had faith in them.
Besides, it was his call to sit out Oct. 19 at Reliant Stadium.
Six days after beating Houston in a first-ever meeting with that school, BYU welcomes Boise State to Provo on Friday, with the Cougars seeking a first-ever win over the visitors from Idaho.
The Broncos have won the first three meetings in a series that has stretched over 10 years, with Boise State walking away with a 2003 blowout at LaVell Edwards Stadium, then capturing blue-turf nail-biters in 2004 and 2012.
Last year's game featured BYU blanking the Boise State offense, yet the Broncos earned a 7-6 win on the strength of an interception return for touchdown. Taysom Hill came off the bench in relief of an injured Riley Nelson and led the Cougars to their only touchdown late in the fourth quarter; a missed two-point conversion ended BYU's comeback hopes.
PROVO — There's no place like home, but for BYU, it's time to get back on the road again.
The Cougars stung the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets last Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium for a dominant 38-20 Homecoming victory. The win also concluded a five-game streak of games played within the state of Utah -- four at home (Texas, Utah, Middle Tennessee, and Georgia Tech) with a road victory over Utah State in the middle. BYU will return to the road to face the Houston Cougars this Saturday at Reliant Stadium, the home of the NFL's Houston Texans.
Even though Georgia Tech's triple-option attack contrasts from most offenses BYU will face this season, head coach Bronco Mendenhall said at his weekly "BYU Football with Coach Mendenhall" radio show tonight that it was still a strong victory that will benefit the team this week and throughout the season.
PROVO — Kyle Van Noy came into the 2013 BYU football season with loads of hype, a preseason All-American status, and having passed on a nearly assured first-round NFL draft potential.
Halfway into the year, Van Noy has lived up to the hype with BYU's defense, with 40 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and one interception a pick-six on the first play of the game at Utah State.
But what's most important to the senior from Reno, Nev., is that his fellow linebackers have risen to the same level, having scored defensive touchdowns in three straight games.
A little more than five weeks after a second surgery to remove cancerous tissue, BYU Basketball head coach Dave Rose says "I feel good...I feel better every day."
"Each week," said Rose after a late-afternoon practice at the Marriott Center on Wednesday, "I can tell that things are better."
"I'm kind of just concentrating on this team, and the team itself--you can really tell that they're young."
PROVO — Cody Hoffman is one catch away from becoming BYU's all-time leader in career receptions. Currently, Cody is tied with Dennis Pitta with 221 catches; and based on the fact that Hoffman has caught at least one pass in 36 consecutive games, the record should be his sometime Saturday afternoon.
"It would mean a lot," Hoffman said, when asked what the record would mean to him. "I know there's been a lot of good receivers here and a lot of great players overall; to break the record would be a great feeling."
Guy Holliday, BYU's receivers coach has been impressed with Hoffman since he joined the staff during the off-season. "I haven't had one (receiver) as skilled as him," Holliday said.
After preparing for and beating a Georgia Tech team intent on running the ball and draining the clock, the BYU Cougars are this week getting ready for the opposite approach as presented by the Houston Cougars: a pass-heavy, up-tempo attack that will be more of stylistic match for their namesakes from Provo.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall said on Monday that he "hardly remembers" the Yellow Jackets and their game plan.
"We've spent all day now defending four receivers and (a team) throwing the ball around," said Mendenhall after an early-evening practice, "and it's college football, which is one of the cool things about it--you're not facing the same offense."
BYU on Friday announced that senior linebacker Spencer Hadley has returned to practice after being cleared by the university this week to participate with the team.
The school says Hadley's playing status for Saturday's game against Georgia Tech will be determined by head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
Hadley was suspended indefinitely on Sept. 17 for a violation of team rules. The university later imposed a five-game term, noting an honor code violation.
PROVO — As the Cougars approach the halfway point of their season, Coach Bronco Mendenhall joined Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons, and an energetic crowd in the President's Loge at LaVell Edwards Stadium Wednesday night. BYU is coming off a 31-14 victory over Utah State and looks forward to Saturday's homecoming tilt with Georgia Tech.
Coach Mendenhall assessed the Utah State game, saying, "I think we made progress. I think our team is growing and maturing. I think offensively we continue to find more and more rhythm within what we're doing."
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