This week's assignment was to identify the five best players BYU will face in 2013. The task is formidable, considering the strength of the Cougars' schedule, and the assemblage of talent that has made those teams what they are--or what we think they will be this season.
Heading into the 2013 campaign, BYU opponents Texas, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Boise State have all received preseason Top 25 attention, and all of those teams have multiple players who could vie for recognition among the best individuals BYU will see this fall. You could arguably fill a top-five including nothing but Texas players, if you so desired.
Then there are the non-BCS teams that nevertheless feature standout athletes playing a little under the national radar; players like Utah State's Chuckie Keeton, for example.
For the second straight season, BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman has been named as a nominee for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's outstanding college receiver.
Hoffman is one of 75 candidates on the preseason watch list released Tuesday; last season, the award went to USC's Marqise Lee, who returns again in 2013.
Hoffman hauled in 100 receptions for 1,248 yards in 2012, becoming only the third BYU player to reach the century plateau in receptions; his single-season yardage total was the second-highest ever for a BYU receiver.
In his final game as a member of Team USA's World University Games squad, BYU's Tyler Haws finished on a high note, scoring 10 points in helping the U.S. defeat Finland 97-70 to win its qualification final and claim 9th place, in Kazan, Russia.
Haws added five rebounds, two assists and a steal in his best performance of the games, which for the team will go down as a disappointment as a USA Basketball men's squad failed to qualify for the medal round, for the first time in 21 WUG appearances.
The college football preseason award watch list parade rolled on Monday, with nominee rosters released for the Butkus (nation's best linebacker) and Rotary Lombardi (college lineman/linebacker of the year) Awards.
BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy appears on both lists, while fellow LBs Uani Unga and Spencer Hadley joined him as Butkus nominees. BYU is one of only three schools with three linebackers named to the Butkus watch list; Notre Dame and UCLA are the others. Georgia Tech, Arizona State, Iowa, Alabama, Florida State, Mississippi State and Stanford each placed two nominees on the 51-player list.
Van Noy is one of 107 players up for the Rotary Lombardi Award. Last year, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o won both the Butkus and Lombardi honors.
Team USA continues to cruise through the classification round at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, defeating Germany 92-70 on Monday to advance to the 9th-place game against Finland.
BYU guard Tyler Haws played just under 15 minutes against the Germans, scoring all six of his points in the first half and helping the U.S. to a 46-32 lead at the intermission. Haws added three rebounds and a turnover as Team USA played its second consecutive game without injured wing Treveon Graham, who had been starting for head coach Bob McKillop prior to getting hurt.
Although eliminated from medal contention at the World University Games, Team USA still has games to play, and Sunday in Kazan, Russia, the Americans got their classification round underway with a 91-51 win over Norway.
With wing Treveon Graham unavailable due to injury, BYU's Tyler Haws played 15-plus minutes, and had his best scoring performance at the WUG, contributing nine points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field and 3-for-5 shooting from the free throw line; he added three rebounds and a steal.
It was a game the United States needed to win, and win big. Instead, on Friday in Kazan, Russia, Team USA fell to Canada by a score of 94-85, dropping the U.S. out of World University Games medal contention and into the classification round.
Now relegated to a finish between 9th and 16th place, Team USA's 2013 performance will go down as the worst showing for a USA Basketball men's squad at the WUG; in 20 previous appearances, the lowest finish was 5th in 2011.
(Note: in 2007, USA Basketball did not field a team at the WUG. University of Northern Iowa represented the U.S. and finished 9th)
Team USA suffered a damaging setback at the World University Games on Thursday, falling 93-84 to Australia in a game that saw BYU's Tyler Haws fail to register any playing time.
The defeat was the first for the U.S. prior to the WUG quarterfinals/knockout phase since 1981, when USA lost to Canada in its fourth preliminary round game, only to bounce back and win out to capture the gold medal. Thursday's loss also occurred in the fourth preliminary-round game for Team USA, following three victories.
BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy had another honor added to his growing list of accolades on Thursday, with the senior standout named to the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the nation's most outstanding defensive player.
Teammate Eathyn Manumaleuna has been named to the Outland Trophy watch list, his first honors recognition as a Cougar. The Outland Trophy is awarded to the nation's most outstanding interior lineman; Manumaleuna has played both defensive end and nose tackle over his team-leading 43 career games played.
Van Noy was earlier this week named to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, and it is expected he will appear on yet two more such lists--for the Butkus (best linebacker) and Lombardi Awards (best lineman/linebacker), when they are released next Monday.
Team USA stayed perfect in group play at the World University Games on Wednesday in Kazan, Russia, pulling away from Sweden for an 83-65 victory. The win improved the U.S. to 3-0, in a tie with Canada for the lead atop Group C, with two preliminary-round games remaining.
BYU's Tyler Haws played just over seven of the game's 40 minutes, his lowest floor-time total of the games. Haws scored a single point on 1-for-2 shooting from the free throw stripe; he missed both of his field goal attempts. His stat line included a rebound, a turnover and a foul.
After leading Team USA in field goal percentage and standing second in points per game over two exhibition contests played in Kazan, Haws is currently last on the team in FG% and scoring over three games in competition.
The assigned task was simple enough: determine three "swing games" on BYU's 2013 schedule. The question then becomes: what constitutes a "swing game"?
Determining a definition may be a subjective process, but my approach was to single out three games that, by virtue of their calendar placement, projected difficulty and any associated subtext, serve as distinct mileposts by which the Cougars can be most fairly measured.
BYU tight end Kaneakua Friel was on Tuesday named as one of 37 players nominated for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation's most outstanding tight end.
Friel becomes the third BYU player named to a preseason award watch list, joining teammates Kyle Van Noy and JD Falslev (see below).
BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy on Monday received the first of what should be multiple college football award nominations, named as one of 75 players on the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the college defensive player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club.
Last season, Van Noy was a preseason watch list nominee for the Bednarik, Bronco Nagurski (most outstanding defensive player) and Rotary Lombardi (lineman/linebacker of the year) Awards, but his most prominent recognitions came for his performance in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Team USA is off to a 2-0 start to pool play at the World University Games, defeating the Czech Republic 96-53 on Monday, in a game that tipped off at 3:00 a.m. MT from the Basket Hall in Kazan, Russia.
BYU's Tyler Haws played 12 minutes and scored two points, following up on a 11-minute, four-point performance in Team USA's tourney-opening win over the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.
On a day when the only question was whether Team USA could possibly win by a hundred points or more, USA Basketball's World University Games squad got its preliminary round off to a rousing start on Sunday, running away from the United Arab Emirates by a score of 140-46.
In the Group C opener for both sides, played at the Basket Hall in Kazan, Russia, BYU's Tyler Haws saw his first international action, playing 11 minutes off the bench and becoming the first BYU player in 30 years to wear the Team USA jersey in competition.
Haws made one of his three field goal attempts and both free throw attempts for four points; he added seven rebounds and two assists, finishing with a game-high four personal fouls.
Following two exhibition games at the World University Games' main basketball venue in Kazan, Russia, Team USA and BYU guard Tyler Haws are ready to open competition.
Saturday's Opening Ceremonies will precede Team USA's first game of the preliminary round on Sunday morning, when the Americans will meet the United Arab Emirates.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- For BYU's Tyler Haws, the journey began with an invitation to USA Basketball's World University Games Training Camp. For we who covered Haws this week in Colorado Springs, the journey began at 11:00 p.m. Wednesday night, after a busy BYU Football Media Day.
We learned earlier Wednesday that Haws had survived Team USA's initial training camp cut-down from 26 to 16 players, with a final cut to 12 coming up on the weekend. I had previously decided to make the trip over to Colorado Springs in the event that Haws made the first cut, then recruited KSL's Dave Noriega and BYU's Kyle Chilton to make the road trip with me. We were all in--as long Haws was still in the team.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- On the day that Team USA determined its official 12-man roster for the World University Games, BYU's Tyler Haws and his teammates played before a crowd for the first time.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- After what BYU guard Tyler Haws called a "crazy night" of waiting and wondering, the news he was hoping to hear came right before breakfast: he was one of 12 players to survive final cuts and make it onto Team USA'a World University Games roster.
"Your mind was was just kind of thinking about (final cuts) the whole night," said Haws after a Saturday morning practice on the U.S. Olympic Training Center complex in Colorado Springs. "Everyone was kind of on edge, so we ended up going to a movie as a team try and get our minds off stuff."
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Brigham Young University's Tyler Haws has been selected as one of 12 players who will represent Team USA at the upcoming World University Games in Russia.
Following a week of tryouts that involved 26 of the country's top collegians, Haws got the word from coaches early Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
He will become the first BYU basketball player since Devin Durrant in 1983 to represent the United States in international competition. Durrant was on that year's World University Games squad that also featured Karl Malone and Charles Barkley.
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