BYU Athletics Blog | 2014

Recap of State of the Program on BYUtv

Jun 23, 2014 - Posted by Nicholas Henderson at 10:37 am | Updated: June 23, 2014 10:41 am | Permalink

BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall and BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe spoke about the state of the BYU football program on BYUtv during BYU Media Day.

Mendenhall and Holmoe are excited about the schedule for this season. Holmoe specifically mentioned Texas as a game he has been looking forward to since winning the game against them last season. Because of how junior quarterback Taysom Hill played in that game, Mendenhall is sure that Texas will pay closer attention to him to try to stop his running game.

BYU is set to play a bowl game in Miami in December. Holmoe talked about the difficulties of scheduling a bowl game when independent, but he is pleased with this game. Mendenhall said that only Florida State has won more bowl games than BYU in the past 10 years. He is excited about travelling to Miami.

“I like the weather, I like the water, and I like 10 straight bowl games,” Mendenhall said.

With all of the talk recently about BYU’s relationship with different conferences in regards to scheduling, both Mendenhall and Holmoe stressed that they are happy with where BYU is right now. They both mentioned that independence has brought BYU exposure and has helped spread the BYU brand across the country.

“We will continue to play teams in every conference,” Holmoe said.

Another topic of interest was the allegations against BYU regarding improper benefits. Again, Mendenhall and Holmoe were on the same page. BYU has gone through a complete internal investigation. Mendenhall focused on the high ethics at BYU and is not worried about the outcome.

“I’m at complete peace,” Mendenhall said.

BYU football offensive coordinator Robert Anae spoke optimistically about the state of BYU’S offense heading in to the 2014 season.

“Looking forward to a couple minor tweaks, the biggest of which will be personnel,” Anae said.

Anae believes that with the returning starters and new additions coming this fall, the offensive group is better prepared for the “Go fast, go hard” offensive scheme than last year’s group.

The offense looks to be more explosive with a highly anticipated group of receivers and one tweak Anae mentioned will be an offense that won’t hesitate to throw deep.

“This is an exciting group that will add to our team’s value,” Anae said. “They’ll be going deep a lot. They will go fast, go hard, and go far too.”

Anae told the media that he expects Jamaal Williams to break the all-time rushing record at BYU if he remains healthy.

“I’ve already spoken to Harvey because his record will go down,” Anae said.

As for Taysom Hill, Anae said the key to his success will be focusing on the present moment and how he can get better “week to week.”

Head coach Ed Eyestone and Jason Witt to appear on TrackTown LIVE

Jun 10, 2014 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 1:05 pm | Permalink

BYU head coach Ed Eyestone and Jason Witt will appear on TrackTown LIVE at 2:00 p.m. PDT in celebration of Eyestone's victory in the 10,000-meter race 30 years ago. Witt will compete in the 10,000-meter race tomorrow at the NCAA Championships. You can catch the program live on the embeded video below.

June Baseball Blog

Jun 03, 2014 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 8:34 am | Updated: June 8, 2014 5:40 pm | Permalink

VOTE FOR LOPEZ: Cast your vote on Facebook for Cougar designated hitter Bret Lopez to become The Fan’s Choice Award champion honored at the 2014 TD Ameritrade Home Run Derby, airing Thursday, July 3 on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. ET. While Lopez, the past co-chair of the Cougar Athletic Council, is not hitting in the derby, the only way he can get to Omaha is through your vote to help him win. Round 1 voting will take place from 12:00 pm CT on May 27 until 11:59 am CT on June 9. The top 10 vote-getters will advance to the next round.  Round 2 voting will take place from 12:00 pm CT on June 9 until 11:59 am CT on June 16. The top 4 vote-getters will advance to Round 3.  Round 3 voting will take place from 12:00 pm CT on June 16 until 11:59 am CT on June 23.

LITTLEWOOD’S BIG BAT: While in Portland last month when the Cougars swept the season-ending series, Coach Mike Littlewood was searching for a copy of Sports Illustrated which chronicled his son’s part in one of the biggest rallies in minor league history. That copy of Sports Illustrated featured Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez on the cover, but in the Rockies, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durrant was on the cover. The account said “…it was 17-13, one out, bases loaded, catcher Marcus Littlewood coming up. His wife, Nicole (her name is actually Morgan and she plays for BYU’s women’s tennis team), standing behind home plate, pressed record on her iPad. Littlewood did not feel nervous. He envisioned a single up the middle. And then the 2-1 pitch came in, a fastball up in the zone. He swung. "Drilled out to deep centerfield," Cheyne Reiter, the LumberKings' radio announcer said, beginning to lose his voice. "Back near the track, at the wall, THAT BALL IS GONE! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? A GRAND SLAM. MARCUS LITTLEWOOD. WE'RE TIED UP 17-17!"

COACH WATCHES SON: With the Cougars not qualifying for the West Coast Conference Tournament in Stockton, Calif., Coach Littlewood took advantage of that time and traveled to watch his son Marcus play five games in the Midwest. One of those games was against former Cougar Jacob Hannemann who had dinner with the coach.

COUGAR IN OMAHA: Former BYU coach Glen Tuckett is a long-time member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Board of Directors and as such often attends the College World Series. This year Tuckett is taking his oldest grandson along to attend the opening ceremonies on Friday and watch two of the CWS games on Saturday.

BYU BASEBALL CAMPS: June 23 marks the start of four baseball camps for BYU’s coaches.

SUMMER ASSIGNMENTS: One of the Cougars not playing summer baseball is relief pitcher Brandon Kinser who has a summer job doing sales for Direct TV in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Other Cougars are playing for the:

Day 12: Venice

May 22, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 1:23 pm | Permalink

The Cougars enjoyed their last day of their European tour in Venice, Italy, on Thursday. The team took boat rides and visited the island of Murano, where Italians have been making world-famous Venetian glass since the 13th century. The Cougars were even able to watch the glass making process and see glass sculptures made from the glass.

The team also saw St. Mark’s Basilica, an Italo-Byzantine cathedral and one of the most famous churches in Venice.

Friday the team returns to the U.S. after earning a 5-2 record against foreign opponents from three countries. The Cougars visited six different countries during their tour.

Days 8-11: Zagreb, Rovinj, Pula

May 21, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 8:28 pm | Permalink

This week the volleyball team has been in Croatia, starting in Zagreb. Sunday the Cougars went to church in Zagreb. There were only about 25 people in the branch. The team listened to the service via translators.

After Zagreb, the team moved on to Rovinj, a small Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea.

Monday, the Cougars explored the beautiful Plitvicka Jezera Lakes in one of the oldest national parks in Europe. The cascading lakes are known for their bright shades of green and blue, which change depending on weather, minerals and organisms in the water.

Tuesday the Cougars explored the city and the coast in Rovinj, then on Wednesday headed to Pula, another city on the Croatian coast. In both cities BYU played against club teams and won both matches.

Thursday the team will travel to Italy for the last leg of its journey.

Days 4-7: Vienna, Maribor, Zagreb

May 17, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 11:25 pm | Permalink

The team traveled through Austria on its way to Slovenia, stopping in Vienna to check out some sights. One place they visited was St. Stephen’s Cathedral, one of the most recognized buildings in Vienna. Its colorful tiled roof sets it apart from the other Gothic cathedrals in Europe. The team also visited the opera house and government buildings.

In Maribor, the team stayed at Dras Hotel, which had a volleyball court, indoor soccer field and weight room inside. When the Cougars played the Slovenia National B Team, they simply had to walk downstairs to get to the court. BYU lost the first match to Slovenia 3-1, but came back in the second match to win 3-2.

On one of their days in Maribor, the Cougars got to experience the Slovenian Alps. They rode a ski lift up the mountain to a giant alpine slide, ropes course and alpine swing. While there, the guys ate Slovenia’s famous sausage and enjoyed a gondola ride after dark, which allowed them an amazing view of the city lights.

After Maribor the team headed to Zagreb, Croatia, where the Cougars played against HOK Mladost Zagreb Saturday evening. BYU won in four sets, but the teams decided to play a fifth set.

Former Cougars to play in NORCECA qualifier

May 15, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 12:29 pm | Updated: May 15, 2014 1:17 pm | Permalink

Former Cougars Taylor Sander and Russell Holmes were named to the 12-man squad that will compete in the NORCECA Men’s World Championship Qualification Tournament, which begins Thursday. 

The U.S. will compete against St. Lucia at 7 p.m. MDT Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The match can be streamed live online from the USA Volleyball website.

For more information, visit teamusa.org.

Broderick and Bull named NFCA All-Pacific Region

May 15, 2014 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 11:19 am | Updated: May 15, 2014 11:25 am | Permalink

Freshmen McKenna Bull and Sydney Broderick were both named to the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association Third Team All-Pacific Region on Thursday.

Broderick led BYU with a .365 average to go along with six home runs and 31 RBI. She was No. 84 in the country with three sacrifice flies and was the No. 65 toughest strikeout.

Bull finished the season with a 3.04 ERA and 191 strikeouts. Bull finished third in the country in saves and was 34th in strikeouts per seven innings.

You can see a full list of the NFCA All-Region team at NFCA.org.

Day 3: Prague

May 15, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 10:38 am | Updated: May 15, 2014 10:41 am | Permalink

Tuesday the team visited Prague's new town and saw the John Lennon Wall. The Lennon Wall is filled with graffiti and is constantly changing due to new graffiti, mostly based on Lennon and Beatles lyrics. The Cougars have enjoyed getting to know Prague, especially its amazing architecture.

While exploring the city, they saw David Cerny's baby statues, which are 10 enormous statues of crawling babies with big coin slots on their heads instead of faces. Cerny is a Czech sculptor who tries for the shock factor in his work. (See image below of the team with the baby statues.)

The team has also gotten a taste of authentic food, including meat dumplings with cream sauce, blueberry sweet sauce and pancakes that turned their teeth blue. They've enjoyed the European cuisine so far.

The team competed against CZU Prague Tuesday. CZU Prague won in four sets, but both teams enjoyed the experience along with all the BYU and Czech fans. 

Kaneakua Friel adds to BYU players receiving NFL opportunities

May 13, 2014 - Posted by Brett Pyne at 3:40 pm | Updated: May 13, 2014 7:07 pm | Permalink

Former BYU tight end Kaneakua Friel accepted a minicamp invitation from the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday, adding to the list of Cougars receiving NFL opportunities. Friel is the sixth member of the 2013 team to receive a chance to compete at the NFL level. 

Friel totaled 491 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 45 games played as a Cougar, averaging 10.2 yards per catch. He had a single-game best of 101 yards and two touchdowns in BYU's home win over Washington State in 2012. Friel was on the John Mackey Award watch list and College Football Performance Awards Tight End Trophy watch list in 2013. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound native of Kaneohe, Hawai'i, also played in the 2013 East-West Shrine game that features many of the nation's top players.

The following links provide more information about BYU players pursuing NFL opportunities.

BYU players reach agreements as free agents

Van Noy drafted with 40th pick overall

Reaction to Van Noy being selected by the Detroit Lions