BYU Athletics Blog | August 2013

Fireside in Virginia

Aug 30, 2013 - Posted by Aaron Sorenson at 10:09 pm | Updated: August 30, 2013 11:51 pm | Permalink

Before playing their first game of the season, members of the BYU football team and staff participated in a fireside at a church in Charlottesville, Va., in front of a capacity audience of local church members, visiting Cougar fans and others from the community.

To start the meeting, Morgan Unga and Dylan Collie, both players on last year's roster who are currently serving in the Virginia Richmond Mission, were present to share testimony of missionary work. About 25 Polynesian members of the team then sang a musical number a capella.

Student assistant coach Cameron Comer, who also served a mission in Virginia, spoke next, followed by wide receiver Mitch Mathews. The entire team at the fireside then stood and sang, We'll Bring the World His Truth. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall concluded the meeting by teaching about the principles that guide him as a coach and leader.

Afterwards the Coguars spent time visiting and taking pictures outside with the members who attended the meeting.

A few photographs from the fireside show the large crowd, the musical numbers and the interactions between community members and the football team.

Game day information vs. Virginia

Aug 30, 2013 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 12:06 pm | Updated: August 30, 2013 12:07 pm | Permalink

The 2013 BYU football season launches Saturday at Virginia at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Fans can begin their game day experience with Countdown to Kickoff with Alema Harrington, Brian Logan, David Nixon and Andy Boyce on BYUtv at 12:30 p.m. MDT. Dave McCann and Blaine Fowler will report live from Charlottesville, Va., during the show.

The game will be aired on ESPNU and streamed on WatchESPN, after which fans can tune in for the BYUtv Sports Post Game presented by Larry H. Miller.

For those traveling to Virginia for the game, Virginia has provided heat management information on its website. 

Covering the secondary

Aug 29, 2013 - Posted by Jared Houghton at 3:45 pm | Updated: August 29, 2013 3:54 pm | Permalink

The defensive back position features both new and old faces this season. At the two safety positions, two returning starters will bring familiarity to the defense but injuries at the corner positions have pushed new names and faces into those spots. Here's a look at the four defensive back positions and who might see significant time for the Cougars.

KAT safety 

Daniel Sorensen, a three-year starter, has started 26 straight games at the safety position. In 2012, he led the team with three interceptions and was second on the team with 68 tackles, earning Phil Steele All-Independent First Team honors. As one of the leaders on the No. 3 ranked defense last season, Sorensen was recently voted as a team captain by his fellow teammates. The 6-foot-1, 208 pounder has a knack for locating the ball and should provide stabilization in a secondary that has seen many changes during fall camp.

Free Safety

Craig Bills joins Sorensen in the deep secondary, starting at the free safety position. Last season, he played in all 13 games while starting the final five. Bills finished fifth on the team in tackles with 47, had five pass breakups and forced one fumble. At 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, he and Sorensen will bring a physicality to the defense on the backline.

Field Corner

Robertson Daniel came to BYU after playing at De Anza Junior College in California. As a freshman, Daniel recorded 90 tackles and six interceptions at both the corner and safety positions. After sitting out his sophomore year to concentrate on academics, the 6-foot-1 junior has been pushed into the starting role after injuries at the position. He has a great feel for the defense and brings experience into his first start as a Cougar.

Boundary Corner

Skye PoVey and Mike Hague are two players who will share the role of boundary corner for the Cougars this season. The two seniors are both coming off injuries last season that limited them to a combined seven games. The 5-foot-11 PoVey injured his foot during the third game last season and is the brother-in-law of current defensive coordinator Nick Howell. Hague returns for a sixth year of eligibility after starting his career at BYU as a running back and recorded six tackles last season before being injured in the fourth game.

 

With the big and seasoned defensive front putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, the defensive backs will use their experience to confuse and disrupt the passing game all season.

Backfield by committee

Aug 27, 2013 - Posted by Jared Houghton at 1:23 pm | Updated: August 27, 2013 1:52 pm | Permalink

In Bronco Mendenhall's weekly press briefing for the upcoming Virginia game, he commented on how deep the Cougars are at running back. Here is a look at the four backs who will see significant playing time in BYU's backfield this year.

Jamaal Williams, So., Fontana, Calif.

All Jamaal Williams did last season was set the true freshman rushing records at BYU with 775 yards, 12 touchdowns and 166 carries. The 6-foot-0 speedster played in every game and started the last eight after the injury to Michael Alisa. Williams is the starting running back and has already garnered preseason attention by being named to the Doak Walker watch list, which is awarded to the top running back in the nation, and the preseason All-Independent Third Team. He should continue to be a threat out of the backfield, last season he had 27 receptions, good for 315 yards and one touchdown. 

Paul Lasike, Jr., Auckland, New Zealand

The rugby All-American tried out for the football team last season and has improved leaps and bounds since then. Last season, he tallied 33 carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching a pass for 25 yards. The 6-foot-0, 227-pound bruiser has shown an increased knowledge of the game at the running back position from last season and should see significant playing time this fall as the backup to Williams. 

Adam Hine, So., Santa Clara, UT

The former three-time state champion in the high jump and long jump looks to make an immediate impact in the backfield this season. After a redshirt year in 2011 and hampered by injuries in 2012, Hine is poised to have a breakout season. His injury kept him out of all but four games last season, when he saw action on special teams. The 6-foot-1, 202 pounder is one of the most athletic players on the team, evident by the fact that he will be joined by Lasike returning kickoffs for the Cougars this season. 

Michael Alisa, Sr., Laie, Hawai'i

Another 2013 Doak Walker Award candidate, the senior played linebacker and on special teams his freshman year before making the switch to running back as a sophomore. As evidenced by his numbers, the position change has proved to be a good one. As a sophomore, Alisa was the second leading rusher on the team with 85 carries for 455 yards and three touchdowns. He was set for a big year in 2012 before he broke his arm against Hawai'i in the fifth game that sidelined him for the season. As the veteran in the backfield, he will provide leadership and another option for the Cougars at running back.

As of right now, Williams and Alisa are penciled in as the starters but all will see a lot of playing time with the up-tempo offense that coordinator Robert Anae has brought to the team. The four backs will combine to put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses this season. 

Kyle Van Noy picks up another preseason honor

Aug 26, 2013 - Posted by Jared Houghton at 4:01 pm | Updated: August 26, 2013 4:16 pm | Permalink

Kyle Van Noy was named to USA TODAY Sports Preseason All-America team by Paul Myerberg, his fourth preseason All-America nomination to date.

The 6-foot-3 senior has been named a Preseason All-American by Phil Steele, SI.com, USA TODAY and Sporting News. Coming off an All-America season in 2012, Van Noy is the only player to register a stat in every major defensive category the past two seasons. Last season the 245-pound linebacker finished the season ranked No. 2 in the nation in sacks (13) and forced fumbles (six) and No. 4 in tackles for loss (22). Van Noy is the current active FBS leader in sacks with 22 for his career and has been named to the following watch lists for 2013:

  • Lott Trophy  
  • Bednarik Award 
  • Walter Camp 
  • Bronko Nagurski Trophy  
  • Rotary Lombardi  
  • Butkus Award 

Four different conferences featured multiple players named to the USA TODAY All-America list with the Pac-12 having the most nominations with seven players chosen. The SEC had six players and the Big-12 and Big Ten each had four players named to the list. The ACC, the MAC and Conference USA had one player nominated. Alabama, USC, Stanford, Ohio State and Kansas State each had two players nominated.

Cougars receive national attention in preseason

Aug 23, 2013 - Posted by knielsen at 4:18 pm | Permalink

The BYU women's soccer team collected a lot of national attention in preseason rankings before the 2013 season began. Reaching the Elite Eight for the second time in program history and taking eventual national champion North Carolina to two overtimes in 2012 helped boost the Cougars into the top 10 of  most rankings this preseason.

In the national rankings, BYU was voted sixth in the country by the NSCAA coaches poll. They also finished eighth, ninth, 11th, 12th and 20th in several other rankings. A composite ranking done by CollegeSoccer360.com using nine different polls or metrics put the Cougars 11th in the country. The rankings included two computer systems and a strength of schedule component in addition to polls. The Cougars were picked to finish in third place in the West Coast Conference by the coaches. 

Individual players also received preseason recognition thanks to their success in 2012. Senior midfielder Cloee Colohan received five different honors including being named to the Preseason All-WCC team and the CollegeSportsMadness.com Preseason WCC First Team. Colohan was also named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Preseason Best XI Second Team and to the CollegeSportsMadness.com Preseason All-America Fourth Team. She was also put on the AllWhiteKit.com Midfielder of the Year Shortlist.

Senior goalkeeper Erica Owens made the preseason all-conference team and was named to the AllWhiteKit.com Golden Glove Shortlist and the CollegeSportsMadness.com Preseason WCC Team.

Senior midfielder Rachel Manning was named to the Preseason All-WCC Team and the CollegeSportsMadness.com Preseason WCC Second Team.

Sophomore midfielder Michele Murphy was named to the Preseason All-WCC Team, while fellow sophomore central defender Paige Hunt was named to the CollegeSportsMadness.com Preseason WCC First Team.

Ross Apo named to The Earl Campbell Watch List

Aug 23, 2013 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 2:13 pm | Updated: August 23, 2013 2:16 pm | Permalink

The first annual Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award Watch List was announced and BYU wide receiver Ross Apo was included among the 35 honorees.

Apo, a junior from Arlington, Texas, was on the 2012 Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team. He started all 12 games he played in 2012 and caught 31 passes for 311 yards and one touchdown. Standing at 6-foot-3, Apo recorded two of the three longest receptions on the team in 2012 (43, 53 yards).

The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, announced in 2012 by the Tyler Chamber and SPORTyler, recognizes the top offensive player in Division 1 football who also exhibits the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity; specifically tenacity to persist and determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals. In addition, the nominee must meet one or more of the following criteria: born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas High School and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four year college. 

The Watch List will be narrowed to 16 semi-finalists in November and then to four finalists in December. They will be selected by broadcasters, commentators, journalists, fans and (in the future) former winners. The finalists will be brought to Tyler for The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Awards Banquet scheduled for January 10, 2014.

“We are fortunate to have a celebrity who exhibits the impeccable virtues that define this award. In addition to being a well known sports figure, Earl also earned a college degree, married his high school sweetheart, raised two successful sons and still supports the community where he grew up,” said Cindy Smoak, Vice President, SPORTyler.

Earl Campbell graduated from John Tyler High School in Tyler before joining the Texas Longhorns under legendary Coach Darrell K. Royal. In his senior year, he led the nation with 1,744 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns, going on to win the Longhorns’ first Heisman Trophy. He was subsequently drafted by the Houston Oilers where he won Rookie of the Year honors in 1978 and went on to lead the NFL in rushing 3 times. Campbell earned NFL MVP in 1979 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991. He now resides in Austin, Texas.

“All my life, all I wanted to do was be an athlete. I kept God in my life and surrounded myself with good people. I am humbled by this award named in my honor,” said Campbell.

For more information about The Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award go to www.earlcampbellaward.com.

U.S. Men's Junior National Team opens play

Aug 22, 2013 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 1:43 pm | Permalink

The U.S. Men's Junior National Team (MJNT) opened play at the FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship with a 3-1 (25-11, 25-18, 27-29, 25-14) win over Rwanda in Pool C, on Thursday in Izmir, Turkey.

BYU opposite Ben Patch scored 15 points on 12 kills, one block and two aces.

The United States (1-0) will play Serbia on Friday, Aug. 23, at 10 a.m. EDT.

The MJNT converted 63.41 percent of its attacks for points while limiting Rwanda to only 39.08 percent. Though Rwanda had 29 errors to the United States' 30, the U.S. had the advantage in kills (52-34), blocks (10-4) and aces (10-5).

"I want to congratulate Rwanda for their good game,” MJNT Head Coach Pete Hanson said in an FIVB press conference. “We were very emotional and had ups and downs during the game. I believe that we played good volleyball, but we have a lack of training. That’s why we made some mistakes. We will improve as the tournament progresses."

For more information about the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship, click here.

 

2013 U.S. Men’s Junior National Volleyball Team Name (Position, Hometown, School, USAV Region)
2 - Taylor Gregory (MB, Saugus, Calif., Long Beach State University, SCVA)
4 - Tony Ensbury (L, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Princeton University, SCVA)
5 - Driss Guessous (MB, Pasadena, Calif., Ohio State University, SCVA)
6 - Michael Henchy (OH, Ventura, Calif., Ohio State University, SCVA)
8 - Nicholas Olson (MB, New Berlin, Wis., Loyola University, Chicago, Badger)
9 - Ben Patch (Opp, Provo, Utah, Brigham Young University, Intermountain)
12 - Aaron Russell (OH, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State University, Chesapeake)
14 - James Shaw (S, Woodside, Calif., Stanford University, NCVA)
15 - Kyle Russell (OH, Loomis, Calif., UC Irvine, NCVA)
16 - Tom Jaeschke (OH, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola University, Chicago, Great Lakes)
17 - Matt West (S, Seattle, Wash., Pepperdine University, Puget Sound)
18 - D.J. White (OH, Hermosa Beach, Calif., Harvard University, SCVA)

Pool C (at Izmir, Turkey – Ataturk Sports Hall)
Aug. 22: United States def. Rwanda, 3-1
Aug. 22: Canada def. Tunisia, 3-1
Aug. 23: Rwanda vs. Tunisia
Aug. 23: Serbia vs. United States
Aug. 24: Tunisia vs. Serbia
Aug. 24: Canada vs. Rwanda
Aug. 25: Serbia vs. Canada
Aug. 25: United States vs. Tunisia
Aug. 26: Canada vs. United States
Aug. 26: Rwanda vs. Serbia

Round Robin 17th-20th (Aug. 29-31)
The fifth-ranked teams after the first round will play a round robin to determine the classification 17th-20th.
 
Semifinals and Playoffs (Aug. 30-31)
The semifinals and playoffs rounds consist of a total of eight matches: two semifinal matches for the rankings 1-4, two matches for the classification 5-8, two matches for the classification 9-12 and two matches for the classification 13-16.
 
Finals and Playoffs (Sept. 1)
The finals and playoffs consist of a total of eight matches: the winners of the semifinals will play the final, 1st-2nd position. The losers of the semifinals will play for the 3rd and 4th rank position. The winners of the playoff 5-8 will play for the 5th-6th position and the losers of the playoff 5-8 will play for the 7th-8th position. The winners of the playoff 9-12 will play for the 9th-10th position and the losers of the playoff 9-12 will play for the 11th-12th position. The winners of the playoff 13-16 will play for the 13th-14th position and the losers of the playoff 13-16 will play for the 15th-16th position.

Cougars make a wish come true

Aug 22, 2013 - Posted by knielsen at 1:03 pm | Permalink

By Justin Green

The BYU women’s soccer team did its part to help fulfill the wishes of Amber Rasmussen, a 13-year-old from Draper, Utah, who is recovering from a liver transplant. Amber and her family visited the team at the fall sports Cougar Kick-off on Wednesday night.

“We feel honored to be a part of this for Amber,” head women’s soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood said.  “We're excited that she's making a full recovery and that we get to be a part of that.”

As Amber arrived, she was greeted by the entire team and was presented a signed ball, a team jersey, season passes for her and her family as well as a bag full of team gear. She spent much of her time at the Cougar Kick-off talking to Coach Rockwood and mingling with the players.

“They really showered her with gifts and treated her really well,” said John Rasmussen, Amber’s dad. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Though she has never been to a game, Amber has watched the team play on television and is an avid fan. Amber also loves to play soccer.

“My sister went to BYU so I have been here before,” Amber said. “I love the environment and campus and everything. I just started watching the team and really loved them.”

The BYU players loved getting to know Amber and hear her story. Senior forward Niki Fernandes was among many of the players who took the opportunity to talk to Amber and her parents.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Fernandes said. “Just being able to spend time with her and even just make her day, it’s been awesome. It’s been amazing just to make her smile.”

During the event the Rasmussen family joined BYU marketing representative Weston Wride on stage to receive another special announcement. Amber and her family received a cruise to the Bahamas from the Make-A-Wish foundation. The Make-A-Wish foundation has granted 140 wishes in Utah so far this year after granting 161 last year.

“I’m just way excited,” Amber said. “I’m shocked.”

Amber was born with a liver disease that she has lived with for the last 13 years. She spent five months on the waiting list for a donor. The transplant went smoothly and her recovery has been perfect thus far.

“It was scary as a family to go through, but she was only in the hospital for a week, the quickest they had ever had,” said Ann Rasmussen, Amber’s mom. “They attributed it to soccer. We just feel really lucky and so blessed.”

The Cougars women’s soccer team open the 2013 campaign at home this Friday night against Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m., a game that Amber and her family plan on attending.