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."
PROVO — The tradition of Homecoming is all about greeting old friends and reliving the past, and this year's Homecoming football game is no different.
BYU welcomes familiar foe Georgia Tech to LaVell Edwards Stadium this Saturday -- a team the Cougars rolled 41-17 last season in Atlanta -- and looks to continue its tradition, spirit, and honor of stifling option attacks.
"I think we know what we're doing, and coach Mendenhall knows what he's doing, and it's from experience," said defensive coordinator Nick Howell after team practice Wednesday evening. "We put a lot of time, a ton of time, into preparing for the option, so we're all on the same page and have a good system [to defend] it."
PROVO — The BYU football team reaches the midway point of the 2013 season on Saturday, with the Cougars' riding high on optimism and feeling like they've got a little bit more figured out.
A 2-0 win streak — the first of the year — will do that to anyone. But so, too, will finally being able to look at game film and fix the chinks in the armor that BYU's offense developed over the first few games.
"We really went back, saw where we were successful in previous games, and we stuck with those things," sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill said on Tuesday. "We built off the good, and threw out the ones we weren't successful with."
With the 2013-14 BYU basketball team a little more than two weeks away from suiting up for the first time (the intra-squad Cougar Tipoff is Oct. 23), head coach Dave Rose says he and his staff are dealing with an unfamiliar challenge.
"It's the first time in a long time that I have more new players (than returning players)," Rose said during his annual Media Day address on Tuesday in Provo. "That is going to take a lot of patience on our part."
"We rely on those experienced guys to help bring those (new) guys along, and now we're looking at six or seven (newcomers)."
BYU has announced three new football scheduling agreements, including a deal with Stanford that will start in 2020 and conclude in 2025.
The dates of the Stanford series include two games on Thanksgiving weekend at Stanford Stadium: Nov. 28, 2020, and Nov. 26, 2022. The Cardinal are slated to visit LaVell Edwards Stadium on Sept. 2, 2023, and Sept. 13, 2025.
BYU will also renew its rivalry with University of Hawai'i; the schools will meet twice, with games scheduled for Nov. 25, 2017, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu and Nov. 17, 2018, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
Above .500 for the first time in the 2013 campaign, the BYU Cougars are preparing to host a Homecoming tilt with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
It was almost a year ago in Atlanta that BYU defeated the Jackets 41-17--a game that also happens to mark the last time BYU scored in all four quarters of a game.
The performance was less notable for the Cougars' offensive output than it was BYU's defensive lock-down on a Tech attack that was among the most prolific in college football last season--particularly on the ground, with a run game that ended the season ranked fourth nationally in yards per game.
PROVO — Going into a hostile environment to play a Utah State team that leads the Mountain West Conference in several areas and has a 2-2 record on the season can be a challenge. But BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall likes his team's chances to get a win in such a scenario as the Cougars take on the Aggies on Friday night at 6 p.m.
Much of that confidence likely stems from BYU's recent 37-10 home win over Middle Tennessee.
"It's always good to have a win and see coaches smile, and players happy," Mendenhall said Wednesday night on "BYU Football with Bronco Mendenhall." "They've worked hard enough to earn that. I see glimpses of something stronger; I like what I see."
PROVO — As the Cougars and Aggies continue to prepare for Friday night's showdown at Romney Stadium, the Cougar defense looks forward to the challenge of containing Chuckie Keeton.
"He's a good quarterback, he's elusive, and he can make plays," said BYU safety Craig Bills. "It's exciting anytime that you're going against a quarterback or a player that makes plays. It's a good opportunity to show what you can do. We just need to play assignment sound and we'll be able to contain him and do other things with our defense."
The Cougars have had success against Keeton the last two years by holding him to 35 of 63 passing for two touchdowns, with an average of 162 yards passing a game. The Cougar defense has also held him to 16 rushes for 45 yards, an average of 2.8 yards a carry.
PROVO — For the second straight game, the BYU Cougars are preparing for an opponent on a short week. BYU will however have its full compliment of offensive players when they take the field on Friday in Logan.
Running back Jamaal Williams (concussion) and receiver Cody Hoffman (suspension) will return to a Cougar lineup that has struggled with consistency over the first four games of the season. However, having both players available will no doubt bolster an offense that seemed to find a good rhythm last week against Middle Tennessee. Offensive coordinator Robert Anae said that it will be 'huge' to have both players back.
"Both of them are proven play-makers...Jamaal has carried the ball a lot of times and Cody has caught the ball a lot of times; we look forward to that addition back into the offense."
LOGAN — BYU and Utah State will resume their football rivalry on Friday night in Logan. BYU has won five of the last six matchup with the Aggies under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, with the lone loss coming in Logan in 2010.
Here's a look at what the Aggies are saying about the clash with the Cougars:
Head Coach Matt Wells on BYU ...
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