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Cougar Tracks: BYU ramps up in the rain

Cougar Tracks: BYU ramps up in the rain

By Jason Shepherd | Posted - Dec. 18, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.


11 photos

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With the Poinsettia Bowl just two days away, BYU hit the practice field once again at Helix High School in La Mesa, Calif. on Tuesday.

Instead of being greeted with warm sun and blue skies, the Cougars worked out in the rain for the majority of their their 90-minute session.

Despite the precipitation, everyone seemed happy with the improvement from Monday's "sluggish" practice.

"A lot better today", Bronco Mendenhall said. "A lot more focused and a lot more precise."

BYU linebacker Spencer Hadley said this week's practices aren't as important as what the Cougars did before arriving in San Diego. "This isn't the week you win the game; it's last week in preparation. But at the same time, you gotta take steps forward and not goof off."

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As has been the case for almost a month now, James Lark took the majority of the snaps in practice on Tuesday. When I asked Bronco if there were any developments on that front, he simply said, "Nope; nothing new."

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The biggest match-up on Thursday night will most likely be the Aztecs' running game, which is ranked 16th nationally, against the BYU rushing defense, which comes in ranked 2nd.

"They're (SDSU offense) everything we are on defense, on offense," Hadley said. "It's gonna be a good challenge; it's gonna be fun."

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As is always the case with college sports, eventually players leave the program. While Poinsettia Bowl preparations have kept Coach Mendenhall busy, his seniors have been on his mind constantly.

"It's where most of my thoughts are", Bronco said. "I really, really like this particular group of seniors. We've been through a lot; it's hard to think about not being with them again."

Senior quarterback James Lark wants to make sure this bowl game is one that he and the rest of the seniors will remember. "It means a lot, especially for the group of seniors we have. We have a large group of seniors; we've got a bunch of us. We're excited to finish out the season; we want to finish it out right. We want to go out with a win."

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After Monday's outing to Sea World, BYU spent some time on Tuesday afternoon at the San Diego Zoo, followed by a reception with several Make-A-Wish families.

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You can listen to post-practice audio from Bronco Mendenhall, James Lark and Spencer Hadley by clicking on the links in "Cougar Cuts," above left. If you hear some popping in the audio, don't worry; that's rain falling on my recorder.

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Thursday's Poinsettia Bowl can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM, beginning with the Cougar Countdown Show at 4:00pm MT. Kick-off from Qualcomm Stadium is set for 6:00pm MT.

Photos

Jason Shepherd

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