BYU Athletics Blog | June 2013

A Hawsome week in Colorado Springs

Jun 29, 2013 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 11:12 am | Updated: June 29, 2013 11:45 am | Permalink

Watching Tyler Haws compete for and eventually earn a spot on the USA Men’s Basketball World University Games Team is easily ranked among the top moments in my time while working with the BYU men’s basketball team.

BYU’s double-overtime win over Florida in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, advancing to the 2011 Sweet 16, collecting trophy after trophy with Jimmer Fredette in Houston, the comeback win over Iona in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, seeing Craig Cusick hit the game-winner against Utah State despite learning earlier that day that his father was diagnosed with cancer, the run to the NIT semifinals in Madison Square Garden earlier this Spring… this ranks right up there with all of those great moments and the many others I’ve witnessed.

This experience began Wednesday evening around 11 p.m. when I jumped in the car with KSL’s Greg Wrubell and Dave Noriega. The three of us had worked all that day at BYU’s Football Media Day. When the last tweets were sent and blogs posted about what should be an exciting 2013 football season, we quickly turned our attention to Haws and his journey to make this team. I also coached my son’s little league team to a tournament win in between Media Day and our departure (sorry for the shameless plug).

The original plan was to leave Thursday around 4 a.m. but we were eager to be there for as many practices as possible. Original is a term I should use fairly loosely. KSL posted a video on YouTube from the first practice Tuesday morning. I texted Greg asking if KSL was in Colorado and he said they'd hired the local affiliate. We both expressed our desired to go but inititally it wasn't much more than a pipe dream. Thanks to cooperation from our bosses and families, it quickly became a reality, although I wasn't 100 percent going until Wednesday around lunch time.

We arrived at the U.S. Olympic Training Center Thursday morning around 9:30 a.m., in time for the team’s first practice that day but not in time to stop for breakfast. The drive was a fairly smooth 10-hour ride (heavy Denver traffic excluded) that went straight through the night and included maybe an hour or two of interrupted sleep.

That first practice was very encouraging. Tyler looked great and definitely seemed to be in the top half of the players on the court. The second practice was more nerve-wracking. Tyler played fine but certainly wasn’t put in a position to shine.

After a good night’s sleep, we were back in the gym for our third practice and Tyler’s eighth in five days. This practice was much more encouraging. The team was split into groups of five and the groups went at each other in spirited drills. Each drill had a winner and Tyler’s group won or tied for the win in almost every drill. Tyler made several plays to help his team – some that would show up on the stat sheet and many that would not.

Friday night was even more encouraging. No one played extensive minutes as McKillop mixed and matched, no doubt in an effort to see how players would respond to different situations. Tyler played about 11 minutes, and did a little of everything, scoring five points and adding five rebounds, four assists and two steals. He gave maximum effort on every play and left it all out on the court.

We were hopeful – the players likely even more so – that we would receive word of who made the team Friday night. After hours of waiting, it became apparent no announcement was forthcoming and I surrendered to a few hours of restless sleep.

Saturday morning Greg learned from a reliable source that Tyler made the team but we waited until we were in the gym and had official word from USA Basketball to make an announcement.

As an observer, this has been exciting yet nerve wracking. The competition has been intense. All 15 players (the original cut was down to 16 but ultra-talented Rodney Hood of Duke unfortunately suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw) were there because they were talented and brought something to the table that could help the team win games.

Tyler has competed as hard as anyone. He has given it his all on every play and done whatever has been asked of him by the coaches. Despite all that, I never felt completely comfortable that he would make the team because I obviously didn’t know what the coaches and the USA committee were thinking. Tyler wasn’t being given the opportunities to shine offensively like he does at BYU so I kept wondering if they knew how good he really is.

Obviously, the coaches saw what Cougar Nation sees every time Tyler takes the floor as a Cougar, and they rewarded him with a spot on the team.

Whenever BYU plays a game, at home, on the road or a neutral floor, in an NCAA Tournament game or in a home game against a team we are highly favored to beat, I get nervous. I obviously have no way of impacting the outcome of a game – a blessing to the coaches and the players – but I always desire for the players to perform their best because I know how hard they’ve worked to prepare for every game.

That’s how I’ve felt since arriving in Colorado Springs, that same nervous energy I feel before and during games. I have a pretty good sense for how hard Tyler works to become the best player he can be and I have felt all along that he earned and deserved this opportunity.

It’s moments like this that make me proud to work with such great student-athletes and coaches and proud to be a part of BYU basketball.

Go Cougars!

Friday night scrimmage recap

Jun 28, 2013 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 9:16 pm | Permalink

COLORADO Springs, Colo. – BYU’s Tyler Haws did a little of everything in Friday’s scrimmage against a group of local Division II players at the USA World University Games training camp.

Haws scored five points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out four assists and had two steals as the USA World University Games (WUG) hopefuls won 114-61.

Coach Bob McKillop utilized all 15 players and had different lineups on the floor in each quarter. Haws first entered the contest in the second quarter and helped WUG to its most dominant period of the night. He hit a jumper and two free throws and had three assists as WUG out-scored the opposition 36-9.

Haws re-entered the game in the fourth quarter and on his first possession grabbed an offensive rebound and passed to Cory Jefferson for an easy bucket. He added two more rebounds and a steal in the fourth.

The final roster of 12 players is likely to be announced tonight.

Coach Bob McKillop

“We’re looking for guys who can fight through fatigue, guys who are unselfish, who want to be part of a team. We’re looking for guys who are tough, who’ll get long rebounds and 50-50 balls and of course skill. You need skill but they’re here because of their skill.”

“There were butterflies clearly tonight because of the pressure of the cut and because they’re playing in front of a number of people and playing a different opponent.”

“You’re trying to find out who can help us win games and who can fight through the temptation of being selfish and the temptation of being tired or the temptation of making a mistake. I think we saw that tonight. I think we got exposed from the standpoint of we made a lot of mistakes but I also liked the way we responded to those mistakes.”

“He (Tyler) continued to get better and better. He’s tough as nails, he gets those loose balls and he helps you win games.”

Tyler Haws

“We played against some D2 guys, some big, physical guys and I felt like our guys played really well.”

“I thought I was able to show some good things in my game and I think the coaches are going to make a decision tonight so we’ll see what happens.”

Goal coming into tonight:
“To be able to show that I can help the team win and to make winning plays. I think that’s what the coaches were looking for and hopefully I showed that. I feel like I had a few good assists, I knocked down a jumper and ran the floor well and tried to leave everything out there. Hopefully I can still be here tomorrow.”

Tyler Haws at the World University games

Jun 27, 2013 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 3:33 pm | Updated: June 28, 2013 9:00 am | Permalink

Training camp for the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s World University Games continued Thursday morning at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Tyler Haws had time to catch up with BYUcougars.com to talk about his experience so far.

The team is coached by Bob McKillop from Davidson and he is assisted by Frank Martin (South Carolina) and John Beillein (Michigan). See what Haws had to say after practice this morning.

Thursday's morning practice included numerous defensive drills and several halfcourt offensive drills. Haws helped his team win several drills by making key defensive stops, passes and shots. He'll be back at it today at 4:25 p.m. MT.

Tyler Haws

“It’s been intense. There are so many good players out here. It’s been a really good experience so far. I’ve learned a lot. Hopefully we can continue to play a few more days."

“Obviously I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable. The first day you knew names but you’d never really played against them before. It was fun to see where my game stood against those guys. I feel very comfortable out here and I feel I can play with anyone.”

“I love the coaches that are out here. You can tell they’ve been around the game a long time and have a lot of experience. I’ve learned, probably most importantly, to understand your game and make sure you don’t go outside of that. The guys here are so good that when you go outside of your game it doesn’t work. I’m a shooter so I’ve got to look for opportunities to get my shot and then just compete and work hard every play.”

“Every time you put the (USA) jersey on it is definitely special and something that I’ll never forget.”

“Everyone out here is a leader and they’re leaders on their teams. I feel like I’m learning a lot of leadership skills from them. I can also take away a lot of confidence after coming to something like this because you feel like you can play against anyone. These guys are the best in the country.”

Audio from Haws courtesy KSL

Audio from Bob McKillop

Audio from Frank Martin

More photos available on Facebook.com/BYUbasketball

BYU Football Media Day 2013

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 5:37 pm | Updated: July 9, 2013 12:57 pm | Permalink

BYU football welcomed more than 70 members of the media to the BYU Broadcasting Building Wednesday for the third annual BYU Football Media Day.

More than a dozen football student-athletes, all 10 coaches, BYU administrators, legendary coach LaVell Edwards and some of BYU's all-time great quarterbacks were on hand. Among those attending from media organizations were CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd, ESPN college football analyst Ed Cunningham, ESPN college football analyst and former Cougar Trevor Matich and ESPN executive Dave Brown. 

BYUtv broadcast 15 hours of football programming during the day, including three hours of new programming and two live shows. Both live shows were simulcast on WatchESPN and ESPN3. Additional live programming was available on BYUtvsports.com (four hours), BYU Radio/Sirius XM satellite radio (five hours), KSL Newsradio (three hours) and local sports talk radio stations (combined 12 hours) from Utah.

Athletic director Tom Holmoe made three announcements during the opening show, "The State of the Program." Holmoe announced a three-game football series with USC for 2019, 2021 and 2023, starting with a game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in September 2019. Holmoe also announced a two-year agreement with the Poinsettia Bowl, the first in 2015 and a second to be determined. The big news of the day was an announcement of an extension to head coach Bronco Mendenhall’s contract through the 2016 season.

Immediately following "The State of the Program," BYUtv debuted an hour-long special titled "TrueBlue: 2013 Football Preview," featuring several players including Kyle Van Noy, Taysom Hill, Jamaal Williams, Cody Hoffman and others.

Live broadcasts concluded with "LaVell Edwards and the BYU Quarterback Factory," hosted by Dave McCann. BYU legends LaVell Edwards, Steve Young, Gary Sheide, Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson and Robbie Bosco were in studio for the show. Ty Detmer and Steve Sarkisian participated via live satellite feeds, while Jim McMahon, who was not available to join the show live, contributed through special prerecorded segments.

Between the live shows, the players and coaches were interviewed in breakout sessions by local and national TV, radio and print reporters.

Four hours of live online video chats, including a Spanish chat, were available throughout the day on BYUtvsports.com. Chats were conducted with current coaches and players, former players, ESPN personnel, BYU administration and local media. Follow the links below to view the webchats:

If you missed any of the live broadcasts, visit BYUtvsports.com for rebroadcast and video streaming information. You can also see the YouTube videos and blog posts posted on BYUcougars.com below:

LaVell Edwards memories

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by McKay Perry at 5:30 pm | Permalink
During the BYU Football Media Day LaVell Edwards joined us for some discussion on the quarterback legacy.  We caught a glimpse of his personality and the rapport he had with his players.  So here is a one-liner and a few stories from the day:
On Ty Detmer:
Dave McCann: Coach, what did Ty [Detmer] do for you?
LaVell Edwards (with a chuckle): He kept me employed.
On recruiting Ty Detmer:
"We’d had a pretty good run at quarterbacks when he came along. We tried to recruit a kid named John Elway. We tried to recruit other big names out of high school. We couldn’t even get them to come for a visit. So this kid down in Texas had all kinds of stats. He threw more in a game in high school there than we did for a couple of seasons… He committed for a visit. Between his junior and senior year, he and his father took a trip to look around. The first time I saw him, they opened the door and there’s this little guy there. He had an Adam’s apple bigger than his biceps. He probably weighed 145 pounds or something like that… We sat down and his dad, who was also his high school coach, said, ‘Well, coach, if you want him, he’s yours.’  And I’m thinking, ‘Something’s wrong here. I wonder what film they sent me.’ … I looked at him and I was expecting to see John Elway and I saw Pee Wee Herman. … He came after his senior year, and he wasn’t in camp four or five days when Norm Chow came in and told me, ‘I think we’ve got something very, very special here.’"
On Jim McMahon:
"One of the great stories about Jim was in the Holiday Bowl. Somewhere in the fourth quarter with about seven minutes left, it’s fourth down and we’re behind 20 points and had no chance to win it, so I sent the punting team in. Jim was in the huddle, and he looked up and saw the punting team coming in. He stopped, stepped out of the huddle and motioned for them to get back. The team stopped and turned around and looked at us. We were saying, “Get in there. Get in.” He didn’t want to, so finally we called a time out. Jim came over to the sideline and in his own [special] way he said something like, ‘Golly gee guys’ or something like that. He made the point, ‘You coaches have quit.’ He really got into our faces, and we said relax, go back in. We let him call the play on that fourth down. We went on down the field and scored."
On a big moment in his career:
"I remember my first year, Utah had historically pretty well owned BYU up to that point. We were playing up there in Salt Lake City. I can’t remember what the score was. Dev Duke was our placekicker. He would kick barefoot. It was the last game of the year, and it was really cold out there. He kicked about a 50-yard field goal in the last seconds of the game and we beat them. At that time I had no clue that I could stay employed... We won only six or seven games that year."

Ryker Mathews ready to lead

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Sugene Lee at 5:19 pm | Updated: July 6, 2013 4:36 pm | Permalink

BYU’s offensive lineman Ryker Mathews is ready to be a young leader for his teammates. Although he’s coming back from double-hip surgery, he’s almost at full strength and is ready to take on the challenge of leading.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” Mathews said. “You've got to lead by example and hold people accountable, and it’s hard to do that when you’re a young player, but I think I’ll be able to step in and do what I need to do.”

Mathews is ready to show people he is ready to come back from injury. He’s excited for his offensive line with new guys coming in and knows much is expected.

He’s excited about the new offensive staff and believes they’re doing a great job of changing the culture.

“They’re doing a great job of changing us as players to be more emotionally attached to our position,” Mathews said.

Jamaal Williams ready for an even better year

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Sugene Lee at 5:16 pm | Permalink

Running back Jamaal Williams is entering his sophomore season after a successful freshman year. He came in for interviews with a pink hat and rated his freshman season a 9.5 out of 10. Though it may be a season tough to beat, Williams still looks to improve his game.

“Better blocking,” he said when asked how he can top his freshman season. “Take more pride into it. This year, I’m more excited to block than to run.”

Williams is excited about the new offensive staff and what they bring to the team.

“Their attitude and the tempo they came up with,” Williams said. “They put us on a high level to reach, and I think we’re up to the challenge to reach it. You have to have the mindset to want to win and to work hard.”

When asking him which games he’s most excited for in a season full of multiple big games, Williams said Boise State, because his brother attends school there, and Wisconsin, because his high school friend has already started “talking smack.”

Kaneakua Friel’s view on tight ends

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Sugene Lee at 5:12 pm | Permalink

Senior tight end Kaneakua Friel sees the tight end position evolving and adapting. Friel tries to improve himself day by day and to meet the demands of whatever is being asked.

“Definitely we’re evolving as a group,” he said. “When I came back from my mission, two seasons ago, the level that we, as a tight end group, were playing then has far advanced this past season.”

Friel prepares himself to do whatever it takes to win games. He believes to be a successful tight end, he needs to be able to do everything well, from blocking to receiving.

Though his team is not there yet, his coach continues to push them, especially for him who is an easy-going guy.

“(Coach) pushes me to play hard every play,” Friel said. “I know it’s because he cares about me, and it’s really benefitting our offensive group as well.”

Spencer Hadley expects better things

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Sugene Lee at 5:09 pm | Permalink

Senior linebacker Spencer Hadley is coming back from surgery on his left shoulder and said he has no limitations and is at 100 percent. When asked whether he was going to keep his mustache, he replied, “We’re a package deal, the mustache and I.”

BYU’s defense was ranked one of the highest in all categories, and Hadley doesn’t expect anything less this season.

“First thing is to find a nose guard that can play,” Hadley said. “The next thing, honestly, is going to sound like a lame answer, but to do what we do.”

When asked how the defense would do after losing the No. 5 pick in the NFL draft, Ziggy Ansah, Hadley gave praise to fellow teammate, Bronson Kaufusi.

“Have you guys seen Bronson Kaufusi?” Hadley said. “The kid has a motor that doesn’t stop and I think he could be, in the future, every bit as good as Ziggy was. I think he’s going to answer a lot of questions this year.” 

Having a clear agenda and goal, Hadley believes the offensive and defensive teams will be more unified this coming season.

Q&A with Michael Alisa

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Jamie Morris at 5:00 pm | Permalink
What does it mean to you to be a senior this year?
“I look in the mirror and I’m just like, ‘You’re a senior on the Brigham Young University football team and the running back captain and this is the hardest schedule we’ve ever had.’ You look at those movies and this is what movies are made of—those huge opportunities to make huge plays in huge games. I’m just grateful to be a part of this ride.”
Are you excited for the upcoming schedule?
“I’m nervous for those big games and excited. I just have a mix of emotions. I want to perform well, and we have agents on the side talking to us. There are a lot of things coming to my mind, but hopefully I’m prepared enough to where I’m ready to go. I’m not ready right now. I need to keep watching film, keep lifting and then I’ll be ready on Aug. 31.”
What stadium are you most looking forward to playing in?
“I didn’t get to go to South Bend (Notre Dame) last year, so I’m pretty excited to go there this year.”
Why did you choose to be a running back?
“I was told by every coach I ever had that I was going to go to college and potentially go pro, but I was a defensive player. At first I was a safety. When I was on JV they told me you’re going to be a sweet safety and I was a decent safety. I got a lot of picks and hard hits. I moved to linebacker, but I loved the rush of carrying the ball and feeling people come after me, so I just kept working on that. When I came back from my mission I told coach Mendenhall that’s what I wanted to do and that I’d work harder for it because it meant so much to me, and he let me do it.”