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PROVO, Utah (August 25, 2007) -- BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall has announced seniors Bryan Kehl, Kelly Poppinga, Matt Allen and Sete Aulai have been selected by their teammates to serve as captains for the 2007 football season. Kehl and Poppinga are top linebackers for the Cougars, while Allen is a veteran wide receiver and Aulai is the team's starting center.
"It's a great honor," Aulai said. "I have never been a team captain before. It feels good to know my teammates trust me."
Aulai said he didn't think his teammates selected him as a captain because he gets players fired up with speeches or by being vocal.
"I'm not one of those guys," he said. "I lead by the way I play. I think that's what caught the attention of my teammates. Nothing will change. I will keep playing the way I do and expect that others will follow by the example the captains set for them."
Like Aulai, Kehl believes it is an honor to be selected by his teammates as a captain.
"It's a privilege to know that my teammates look to me as a leader," Kehl said. "As a captain, it's important to remember that, and to also remember that you have to step up and lead by example, both on the field and off. There's no slacking knowing that all your teammates are looking at you as a captain."
Collectively, the group has racked up 91 games of experience, including Kehl who has played in 35 career games at BYU and Allen who has played in 31. Aulai started and played in 12 of 13 games during the 2006 season, while Poppinga saw action in all 13 games for the Cougars last season after sitting out the 2005 campaign after transferring from Utah State.
Aulai is a 2006 Mountain West Conference second-team performer and has been tapped as an honors candidate for the 2007 season. Aulai allowed just one sack as a junior and did not allow a single sack against MWC opponents last season. Allen is an Academic All-Mountain West Conference performer who graduated with a degree in exercise science earlier this month. Allen racked up 420 yards receiving, averaging 32 yards per game. Kehl is also an Academic All-Mountain West Conference performer. He ranked third on the BYU roster last season with 70 tackles, including eight tackles for a combined loss of 33 yards. Poppinga, also an Academic All-Mountain West Conference performer and recent BYU graduate, totaled 36 tackles during his junior season, posting two sacks and two interceptions.
The Cougars kickoff the 2007 season in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 1, beginning at 3:30 p.m. (MT). BYU will look to avenge a season-opening loss at Arizona as the two teams meet for only the second time since 1977. The Wildcats are coming off a 6-6 season that included a 24-20 victory over eighth-ranked Cal late in the season. The game will be broadcast nationally on Versus.