BYU Athletics Blog | September 2011

Friday Night Lights

Sep 20, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 5:24 pm | Permalink

The BYU football team is playing three Friday night games this season on ESPN. The first is coming up this weekend against UCF and the second is the following week against Utah State. The third Friday game is scheduled for October 28 against TCU, a neutral site game at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Some have looked down at the Friday night games, with traditional college football being played on Saturdays. It also usually gives teams one less day to prepare. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall understands that while Friday night games might require harder work in preparation, they have their advantages.

"It certainly makes it difficult to prepare, but with this being the first year of independence some concessions have to be made to get the exposure we are hopeful for," Mendenhall said. "Hopefully I can coach the team to a level that we are playing at a level high enough where the exposure really helps us."

If you want exposure, Friday night games might be the way to get it. With one major college game scheduled each Friday night, all college football fan eyes will settle on that game. Several media members, college football analysts and even coaches and players will be in hotel rooms preparing for the next day's game and watch the Friday night ESPN game.

In fact, the Friday night primetime ESPN games this season between Baylor-TCU, Arizona State-Missouri and Boise-State Toledo have been averaging over 2 million viewers each game.

With possibly that many eyes on BYU each week, the Cougars are sure to gain more national exposure.

 

Pregame Fireside - Utah

Sep 19, 2011 - Posted by Jordan Christiansen at 11:05 am | Permalink

OREM, Utah - The BYU football team held its third pregame fireside of the season Friday evening at the Windsor Stake Center.

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall centered his remarks around 1 Nephi 10:19, "For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times ot come..." Mendenhall counseled those in attendance to continue to be "diligently seeking" truth and a testimony.

The fireside was highlighted by three musical numbers, including sophomore punter Brian Smith's rendition of the hymn "Be Still My Soul," accompanied on the piano by his mother. Senior defensive back Travis Uale, sophomore offensive lineman Manaaki Vaitai and junior offensive lineman Walter Kahaiali'i also sang a capella "When There's Love at Home." All players joined in the traditional singing of the primary song "We'll Bring the World His Truth."

Player speakers included junior deep snapper Reed Hornung. Hornung spoke of how his mother's counsel to "get in the car" when he wanted to quit football early in his high school career had since been an inspiration to him throughout his life. When experiencing trials on his mission, his mother again wrote "get in the car," telling him to once again move forward through hard times.

Senior wide receiver/holder Matt Marshall also spoke, describing his experiences of overcoming poor choices and growing as a person while playing football at BYU.

Y Tight End Weekend to feature several former All-Americans

Sep 16, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 8:03 pm | Permalink

PROVO, Utah — Many of the legendary tight ends in BYU history will be in Provo Sept. 16-17 for the Y Tight End Weekend. 

The event begins Friday evening with a dinner and auction featuring several All-American tight ends like Clay Brown, Gordon Hudson, Bryon Rex, Chris Smith, Itula Mili, Chad Lewis and Jonny Harline.

The festivities conclude on Saturday, Sept. 17, with a special ceremony at halftime of the BYU vs. Utah football game. All money raised during the weekend will be used to endow scholarships at BYU. One fully endowed athletic scholarship is approximately $250,000.

“Our goal is to raise enough money to endow a tight end scholarship,” said Chad Lewis, who was an Academic All-American tight end at BYU in 1996 and is currently the associate athletic director for development. “It’s an opportunity for us, as former student-athletes, to give back to the university and football program that gave us so much.” 

Event three of the 2011-12 Deseret First Duel set for Saturday

Sep 16, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 7:56 pm | Permalink

The BYU vs. Utah football game on Saturday marks the third event of the 2011-12 Deseret First Duel rivalry series. The Cougars currently lead the Duel 6-0, following victories in soccer on August 23 and women’s volleyball on September 10.

To celebrate the fifth year of the Deseret Duel and the long-standing rivalry, both schools will wear their home jerseys (blue and red) for the game Saturday and throughout the 2011-12 season regardless of event location.

The 2011-12 season should be unique as BYU and Utah will compete in different conferences for the first time ever. The Utes are now a member of the Pac 12, while the Cougars are independent in football and a member of the West Coast Conference in the majority of its other sports.

Deseret Duel Schedule (more dates and times will be announced at a later date)

  • Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m. Women's Basketball at BYU
  • Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m. Men's Basketball at BYU
  • Jan. 27, 7 p.m. Women's Gymnastics at Utah

The Duel: Round Five

In 2007, BYU, the University of Utah, and Deseret First Credit Union partnered to create the Deseret First Duel, a celebration of one of the nation's oldest and most spirited college rivalries.

Previously there had been no established series to recognize the athletic supremacy of the Cougars or Utes. The university that wins the Deseret First Duel each year has its name permanently engraved on large granite monuments located at both schools and holds bragging rights for the following year and beyond.

How the Deseret First Duel works

BYU and Utah compete against each other in baseball, men's and women's basketball, football, women's gymnastics, women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, women's volleyball, and men's and women's swimming. Points are awarded to the school that wins each game, meet, or match. A team trophy is also presented to the winner in each sport. BYU won the inaugural Deseret First Duel in 2007-08. Utah claimed the title in 2008-09 and BYU took it back in 2009-10 and repeated as champs in 2010-11.

There are 47 points available in 2011-12. The first team to amass 24 points will capture the fifth-annual Deseret First Duel title.

BYU Featured In BBC Documentary "Polynesian 'Luau' In Unfamiliar Surroundings"

Sep 16, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 10:50 am | Updated: September 16, 2011 11:11 am | Permalink

The BYU football team was recently featured in the BBC's documentary called "Polynesian 'Luau' In Unfamiliar Surroundings."

The documentary follows the Polynesian migration to Utah and the current culture in the state. It mentions that at times, as much as 30 percent of BYU's football team is of Polynesian descent.

For a time, the documentary was the most watched video on the BBC's US website, and a three-minute version aired on BBC Worldwide and PBS stations across the country.

An brief description from the BBC of the documentary here:

The state of Utah counts more Polynesians per capita than any other state on the American mainland. Lured by the Mormon church, immigrants and descendants from Tonga, Samoa and Hawaii have grown three times as fast as the rest of the state's population over the last decade.

But the community still struggles to adapt to the American culture. The youngest generation, often the first ones of the family born in the US, feel caught between two worlds. The result is higher-than-average gang violence and dropout rates.

The BBC's Franz Strasser went to Utah to see what challenges this small community still faces and how it plans to tackle them.

CLICK HERE to watch the documentary.

 

BYU Top in State

Sep 15, 2011 - Posted by Jordan Christiansen at 1:51 pm | Permalink

Brigham Young University jumped up four spots to 71st in the U.S. News & World Report 2012 Best Colleges rankings, released earlier this week.

The BYU football team has been taking advantage of the academics offered, posting a 3.0 cumulative team GPA, the highest cumulative team mark in years. Last season, running back Bryan Kariya earned Academic All-American Second Team honors and was the only running back from an FBS school to earn Academic-All-American.

Since Mendenhall took over the program in 2005, BYU earned seven Academic All-American honors, including six in the past three seasons.

The 350-page 2012 Best Colleges guidebook, which hits newsstands Sept. 20, ranks more than 1,400 four-year accredited colleges and universities. BYU falls into the category of "national universities," which includes schools that offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's and doctoral degrees.

This year BYU also surged seven spots to 13th in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category and is ranked 8th in the category of “Least Debt,” which compares the average debt carried by departing graduates. The Marriott School of Management is ranked 36th in the category of undergraduate business programs.

The Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology was also listed among the top engineering schools, with its undergraduate program ranked 82nd.

In specialty categories, the Marriott School moved up three spots to 14th in international business while also registering 21st in entrepreneurship.

Princeton and Harvard tied for the top spot in the "national universities" category, followed by Yale, Columbia and the California Institute of Technology.

It's A Reynolds Thing

Sep 14, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 1:12 pm | Updated: September 14, 2011 1:18 pm | Permalink

BYU has had a tradition of sibling teammates for years. One of the most prominent has been the Reynolds brothers, who average 6-foot-4 and 306 pounds. In fact, the Cougars have had at least one Reynolds brother start on the offensive line every season dating back to 2004.

Lance Jr. (2001-05), Dallas (2005-08), Matt (2007-Pres.) and Houston (2009-Pres.) have combined for 115 starts since 2004. Continuing further on the Reynolds’ offensive line, BYU has actually had at least two of the brothers starting together three different seasons with Lance Jr. and Dallas starting 12 games together in 2005, Dallas and Matt starting 13 games in 2008, and with Houston getting the starting nod the first two games of 2011, he joins Matt for another Reynolds tag team. As a sophomore this season, it looks like Houston will continue the Reynolds' tradition for a few more years.

Beyond the siblings of the past decade the Reynolds brothers' father, Lance Sr. is now the assistant head coach and tight ends coach. Lance Sr. has been with BYU's program for over 30 years, both as a coach and as a player on the offensive line in the mid-70's.

With Matt looking to have a big senior season and head to the NFL after 2011, he will be following in the footsteps of his dad and two older brothers. Lance Sr. was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978. Lance Jr. signed a free-agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks in 2006 and Dallas signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009.

Big boys who play on the offensive line, it must be a Reynolds thing.

Texas Football Fireside

Sep 10, 2011 - Posted by Jordan Christiansen at 9:58 am | Permalink

AUSTIN, Tex. - The BYU football team hosted its pre-game fireside Friday night in advance of its game against the University of Texas.

Senior center Terence Brown began the meeting by speaking of his recruiting process. After receiving offers from schools near his hometown of Summerville, S.C., along with BYU, Brown prayed for guidance. Upon praying, Brown felt prompted to attend BYU and describes the experience as just one of many in his life that has strengthened his testimony in God and the gospel.

After Brian Smith sang, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives," Texas native Brandon Ogletree spoke. The junior linebacker also testified of the power of prayer and how it has helped him in times of trial. 

The Mendenhalls finished the meeting with their thoughts, including how they met. Holly Mendenhall described how, after dating Bronco for a time, the couple went their separate ways for 10 years. They finally met up again after a chance meeting at an airport terminal, eventually getting back together and marrying. Holly used the story to tell how God knows our needs and wants and will help us so long as we patiently continue to live righteously.

Coach Mendenhall closed the meeting by expressing his love for his wife and family and his appreciation for the restored gospel.   

Coach on the Radio

Sep 07, 2011 - Posted by Jordan Christiansen at 4:54 pm | Updated: September 13, 2011 1:59 pm | Permalink

In case you missed them, here are links to BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall's two national radio interviews from yesterday. Coach Mendenhall talked to Scott Van Pelt before going on the air with Tim Brando.

Also, don't forget that Coach Mendenhall will be on live tonight during his Coach's Show on KSL 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and ksl.com.

Listen to the Scott Van Pelt segment HERE.

Listen to the Tim Brando segment HERE.

Ole Miss Fireside

Sep 02, 2011 - Posted by Jordan Christiansen at 9:46 pm | Updated: September 2, 2011 9:51 pm | Permalink

TUPELO, Miss. - BYU held its first fireside of the season Friday night as various members of the team spoke before an audience of 1,150 that filled the Tupelo Stake Center.

The chapel and every room in the building were overflowing as the Cougars held their first fireside in the state of Mississippi. In a sign of friendship, Tupelo City Councilman Jonny Davis presented BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson with the key to the city.

Senior defensive back Robbie Buckner, a native of Ashdown, Ark., spoke first about his appreciation for the gospel. Following Buckner's remarks, punter Brian Smith played the piano while singing a rendition of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives."

Sophomore tight end Austin Holt then spoke about his experiences as a missionary in St. Louis, including a family he saw baptized and then sealed in the temple days before he was to finish his mission.

BYU head coach and his wife, Holly, closed out the meeting, bearing their testimonies. Coach Mendenhall counseled those in attendance to let their light shine in whatever individual situation they may find themselves.