BYU Athletics Blog | April 2014

Chicago: Day 1

Apr 29, 2014 - Posted by Royce Hinton at 9:34 pm | Updated: April 29, 2014 9:37 pm | Permalink

After a day filled with travel to Chicago, the BYU men's volleyball team arrived at its hotel near the campus of Loyola University Chicago. Players streamed the NCAA tournament play-in matches from their phones during the travel period. The Cougars will begin tomorrow with practice and a press conference at the Joseph J. Gentile Arena in preparation for their NCAA tournament semifinal match on Thursday at 7 p.m. EDT.

2014 Spring Prospectus

Apr 18, 2014 - Posted by Aaron Sorenson at 1:19 pm | Updated: April 21, 2014 5:32 pm | Permalink

BYU football released its spring prospectus which recaps spring and previews the 2014 season. The Cougars wrapped up their spring practices April 4.

"Spring was really good, we learned quite a bit," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Our completion percentage and third down percentage were very high through the entire spring. The ability to protect the quarterback is improving. Obedient, hard-working and hungry are the three words I would use (to describe the personality of the team)."

Last year, Robert Anae and the BYU staff morphed the offense to a fast-paced system that produced the No. 14 total offense in the nation and the 10th-best rushing offense, including two 1,000-yard rushers in QB Taysom Hill and RB Jamaal Williams. One of the nation's top talents, Hill is poised to have a strong junior season leading the Cougars' up-tempo attack.

The fast-paced system took time to develop but could be firing on all cylinders come August with a year's worth of experience for the returning offensive corps. Hill and Williams are among eight returning starters, including the entire backfield and offensive line. The offense needs to replace starters at receiver and tight end.

The Cougars have to replace their all-time leading receiver Cody Hoffman but boast a talented corps of candidates. In addition to those returning, transfers Nick Kurtz, Jordan Leslie, Devon Blackmon and Keanu Nelson will make for strong competition.

Four BYU players from 2013 participated at the NFL combine this February -— only three college programs had more defensive players invited. Among those players are the BYU current-era single-season leading tackler in Uani 'Unga and one of the most versatile defensive players in Cougar history in Kyle Van Noy

Although the Cougars need to replace those high-caliber players, head coach Bronco Mendenhall has a proven record of keeping up a nationally ranked defense, no matter who suits up on Saturdays. His teams especially excel at keeping opponents out of the end zone, averaging a No. 20 scoring-defense ranking over the past eight seasons. Seniors Craig Bills (safety) and Alani Fua (linebacker) lead a group of six returning starters from last year and a seventh, corner back Jordan Johnson, who missed last season due to injury. With the 12th-ranked yards-per-play defense in 2013, Mendenhall should keep the Cougars in the national conversation as a dominant defense.

Click here to see the full prospectus.

Hatch named finalist for Off the Block/Springbak Blocker of the Year

Apr 16, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 11:19 am | Updated: April 16, 2014 11:39 am | Permalink

BYU middle blocker Michael Hatch was named one of three finalists for Off the Block/Springbak National Blocker of the Year on BYU Sports Nation Wednesday. The winner of the award will be announced Tuesday.

Hatch leads the No. 4 Cougars with 1.34 blocks per set, good for No. 4 nationally. 

The voting committee for this award was comprised of more than 20 college men’s volleyball head coaches and volleyball reporters from around the nation.

For the complete release, visit offtheblockblog.com.

BYU signee competes in European Championship qualifying

Apr 10, 2014 - Posted by knielsen at 11:45 am | Updated: April 10, 2014 12:41 pm | Permalink

BYU signee Nadia Gomes played with the Portugal U19 team in the Elite Round of UEFA European Championship qualifying this week. Gomes scored a goal for Portugal in three games playing a total of 180 minutes. Portugal failed to advance to the European Championships later this summer after finishing third behind Spain and Switzerland in its group.

On Thursday against Belarus, Gomes took three shots, two on goal, before being subbed in the 61st minute. Portugal won 10-0 thanks to an early red card on Belarus.

Against Switzerland, Gomes came on as a sub in the 54th minute and netted Portugal's first goal of the elite round in the 81st minute. She added another shot in the second minute of stoppage time, but couldn't equalize as Portugal fell 2-1.

In the opening game of group play, Gomes started and played the full 90 minutes against Spain, but couldn't help put Portugal on the scoreboard in a 2-0 loss.

Portugal advanced to the Elite Round of qualifying after finishing second in its group last September. Gomes played in all three games then and scored a goal.

Gomes played for 2013 UHSAA State champion Brighton High School and was named 5A MVP by the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune. She plays her club soccer for Murray Max SC.

Watch BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood talk about Gomes and the rest of the 2014 class in this video and read the signing day bios here

Cougars and Broncos to be featured in Friday night matchup

Apr 10, 2014 - Posted by Brett Pyne at 11:01 am | Updated: April 10, 2014 11:21 am | Permalink

PROVO, Utah (April 10, 2014) — Brigham Young University, ESPN and the Mountain West Conference today announced the 2014 football game between BYU and Boise State will be played on Friday, Oct. 24 to a national television audience on ESPN or ESPN2. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT.

The Cougars will close out the month of October in the nationally featured matchup with the Broncos in Boise, Idaho. The contest at Bronco Stadium was originally scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 25.

BYU achieved a 37-20 victory over Boise State in Provo last year to earn its first win in the series, which the Broncos lead 3-1 dating back to the inaugural matchup in 2003. BYU has dropped two close contests to BSU in its previous visits to Bronco Stadium, falling 7-6 in 2012 and 28-27 in 2004.

To date, four games on BYU's 2014 schedule will be nationally televised on ESPN or ESPN2. Information regarding remaining broadcast plans and game times will be released once determined.

Read more about BYU's 2014 schedule

April Baseball Blog

Apr 01, 2014 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 12:06 pm | Updated: April 7, 2014 11:56 am | Permalink

PRO BASEBALL ASSIGNMENTS:  Adam Law has been assigned to the High A league at Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.  (Quakes). The Midwest League has several former Cougars: Adam Miller has been assigned in South Bend, Ind. (Silver Hawks), Jaycob Brugman has also been assigned to Beloit, Wisc. (Snappers) and Jacob Hannemann will be playing for the Kane County Cougars , a Class A minor league team in Geneva, Ill. Coach Littlewood’s son Marcus has been assigned to play again in Clinton, Iowa (LumberKings) in the Midwest League, too. Matt Carson is in the Indians’ Class AAA team in Columbus, Ohio. We are awaiting word on the assignment for Steve Parker.

ROYAL BLUES: BYU broke out its royal blue uniforms last month in a 20-3 victory over Utah. The Cougars wore the traditional old school colors against San Diego in Provo, against USF at AT&T Ballpark last month in San Francisco and on the first day of this month against Utah Valley. Remaining dates when you can see the Cougars wear their royal blue uniforms are April 19 vs. Loyola Marymount, May 3 vs. Gonzaga, May 6 vs. Utah and May 10 vs. Santa Clara.

FIRESIDES: The Cougars held another fireside last month after game one at Saint Mary's. The fireside scheduled for April 13 following the Pepperdine series has been cancelled due to logistical problems. The team has held firesides in Glendale, Ariz., in February and a morningside in Louisiana prior to a game at Nicholls State last month.

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS: Not only does Chris Howard graduate this month; a couple days after those ceremonies he celebrates his birthday. Others celebrating birthdays this month include Dallen Reber and redshirt pitcher Michael Rucker.

MORE ON MAHONEY NO-HITTER:  Nicholls coach Seth Thibodeaux said: “He took the fight to us, and we didn't fight a whole lot back. (Mahoney) pitched his tail off and handled the fastball. He's their No. 1 for a reason, and he set the tempo for those guys all night.”

BYU coach Mike Littlewood said he knew Mahoney had this type of game in him.  “He's been good every outing. He spotted up his fastball and threw his curve ball and slider for strikes. It was great to see him locate his pitches and help set the tone for us in this series.” 

“It (arm) felt really good tonight,” Mahoney said. “All my pitchers were working. I was able to throw my fastball wherever I wanted to and what helped me out was they swung at a lot of first pitches, which held my pitch count down.” 

HIGH PRAISE FOR LUND: Freshman outfielder Brennon Lund caught the eye of Fresno State coach Mike Batesole last month. In the Fresno Bee newspaper it read: “right fielder Jordan Luplow -- who extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a first-inning single -- cut the ball off on its first hop, planted his left foot, turned and threw a laser to second baseman Jesse Medrano, who followed suit with a rocket home to Ward for another tag at home to end the game.

"It's not just a play at the plate -- that kid is a special runner," said Bulldogs coach Mike Batesole, referring to Lund legging out a double in the third on what appeared to be a routine outfield single.

"I was picturing in my mind what was going to happen if they hit a double. I was watching him (Lund) the whole way and he was burning it up. Read more here:

WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE: Former pitchers Fred Caviglia (1967-68) and Jim Englehardt (1966-67) joined teammates/players Jeff Bills (1972-75) Dr. Tom Fife (1962-67), Guy Hale (1963-65), Bob Martin (1964-66), Gary Pullins  (1967-68), and former coach Glen Tuckett last month at BYU’s games in San Francisco.

Among the sites the former Cougar players and coaches took in was a visit to the home of Doug McWilliams, a major league photographer from 1969 through 1995.  Tuckett enjoyed seeing McWilliams’ memorabilia on the Pacific Coast League where he played before joining the Cougars.

FORMER COUGAR RETURNS: Kansas transfer Scott Tittrington, a former BYU pitcher (1996-97) was a sportswriter for the Provo Daily Herald. Tittrington has returned to the Herald to oversee local news.

VANCE LAW ON UTAH TV: Former Cougar coach/player Vance Law will take short breaks from his assignment with the Chicago White Sox organization to serve as color analyst with Steve Klauke for Salt Lake Buzz games televised on KJZZ 14.  The dates of those Buzz telecasts are Saturdays, April 5, May 3, June 7, July 19, and Wednesday, August 20.