Shining in the National Spotlight



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The BYU Football team was exposed to some national media names yesterday.

New York Times college sports writer Pete Thamel was on campus to interview Bronco Mendenhall, Max Hall, Brandon Doman and others for a feature he'll be writing about Max and the Cougars--so look for that in the Times between now and the start of the season.

Also, based on his conversation with Mendenhall, Thamel may choose to pursue a separate angle dealing with the off-the-field/organizational aspects of the football overhaul at BYU.

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Meantime, national college football analyst Charles Davis made his first-ever visit to BYU yesterday, and I'm happy to say I was along for the ride on this one.

Davis is a childhood friend of local attorney/entrepreneur Greg Pesci--one of my good friends and neighbors, and occasional stats man for my game broadcasts. I first talked to Davis as part of a three-way telephone call Pesci arranged prior to the NFL Draft, as I gave Davis my perspective on Bryan Kehl (Davis was a draft analyst on the NFL Network). Anyway, after the conversation, Pesci invited Davis out to Provo, and we decided that if that happened, we would set up a visit to campus, a tour of the Athletics facilities, and hopefully a sit-down with Bronco Mendenhall.

Well, yesterday, on a picture-perfect day in Provo, Charles Davis got up-close-and personal with BYU. Pesci, Davis and I had lunch with AD Tom Holmoe and Bryan Carpenter from LDS Philanthropies, then the five of us toured the Football complex.

A short tour of campus followed, then Davis met for 80-minutes with Bronco Mendenhall, with Pesci and I sitting in, as Bronco answered Davis' questions and outlined the basics of the Cougar football program, along with his coaching philosophies.

Davis (who's a great guy, by the way) left campus very impressed, and I would expect the experience to give Davis a broader perspective on any on-air BYU-related content with which he may be connected this season. Davis appears on the NFL Network's daily "College Football Now" program, is a game analyst on the Big Ten Network, and is the primary booth analyst for Fox Sports' BCS Bowl games and National Championship game.

In this potential "BCS-busting" season, a voice like Davis' could be one the Cougars can count on to help raise BYU's profile on a national platform. All the Cougars need to do now is go out and win enough games to be a part of that national discussion.

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You spend a few hours around the BYU Athletics complex, and you're bound to run into someone interesting. Yesterday, among the many people we encountered during our rounds was Tyler Haws. The Lone Peak star and BYU's primary recruiting interest was with his parents on an unofficial visit. He had lunch with the basketball staff, met with Tom Holmoe, and things are said to have gone well.

Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis would prefer that his players with scholarship offers make their college choices by October 1st, but there are indications the Haws decision will come prior to that date.

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