Men's Football Blog

2014 offensive line preview

Jun 23, 2014 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 11:26 am | Updated: June 23, 2014 2:03 pm | Permalink

De'Ondre Wesley

What do you expect from the offensive line this year?

“We’re coming in to our second year together and we have a lot more chemistry. We want to come in and beat guys up to win all of our game. We have the guys and the unity to come in and win all of our games.

“This year we don’t want to be timid. We had a lot of guys last year that were just coming in and playing college football for the first time. We’re going to come out, fight and leave it all out on the field.”

What’s the biggest difference for you between last year and this year?

“Being able to prepare myself for games is the biggest difference between my junior and senior years. I know what I’m doing now. I know what I need to focus on now. I’ve been watching film with Coach Tujague and when he shows me things I go out and work on it in practice.”

What do you want your role to be as a senior?

“My mentality coming into the season is getting my guys ready to play, mentally and physically prepared, and having that attitude to beat up any defense we come across.”

What’s it been like to work with Coach Anae and Coach Tujague?

“I love working with them. Those guys are fired up, they're emotional, I feel like they’re just like me when it comes to football. When they show that passion, show determination and they want us to be better it reflects on me and everybody else.”

Remington Peck

What have you seen differently from the offensive line?

“I see a big improvement from last year. Last year it was tough for them to jump into a scheme that they never played before. They’re like a whole different offensive line when you compare this year to last year.”

Coach Robert Anae

On changes to offensive line substitutions

“This year we’re going to have a little different dynamic than last. As far as a guy can go with his conditioning level, as dominating as a player as he is and with as sharp as execution as he can give, why take that guy off the field? There are a few guys that have made strides in spring in that direction.”

The offensive lines role in going far

“You have to be able to protect to throw concepts down field 20-some-odd yards. Last year we were good at that, but this next year we should be borderline great. The schemes are familiar and the offensive lineman are a whole year stronger. So when the protection sures up, now those routes get open and the deep ones that take a while. That’s what I’m hoping this offense has that last year’s did not have, that consistent deep threat.”

Coach Garrett Tujague

The impact of the summer workouts on the fall

“The summer is critical to obtaining our goals in the fall. It was awesome for them to get a taste in Spring and do some new things offensively, but they all met individually with us [as coaches] and we listed the things they must accomplish during the Spring and Summer Terms. They’ve done a really good job of meeting those goals so far. We’ve got a ways to go, but I like the progress that’s being made.”

On the new rules for coach interaction in summer

“Being able to keep them in check with the new things we add here and there. Being able to meet with them and go over those things will be huge going into fall camp.”

On players getting more significant playing time than last year

“The greatest thing we have going for us right now is people are fighting for a spot to get on the bus to travel. I think there will be some guys that will be hard to get off the field because of the way that they have been working. They’ve put themselves in a great situation by their offseason training and their habits to get in the film room right now by themselves. Those things are vital and that’s what will keep them on the field.”

Taysom Hill, offense ready to have breakout season in 2014

Jun 23, 2014 - Posted by Sam Yoshida at 11:18 am | Updated: June 23, 2014 11:26 am | Permalink

The quarterback position garnered a lot of attention at BYU’s football media day this morning.

Several coaches and players made appearances at the fourth annual event and made themselves available to talk about this upcoming season, including head coach, Bronco Mendenhall and junior quarterback, Taysom Hill.

With the return of the Cougar’s most dynamic offensive player, it’s hard not to see the star potential for the 2014 season. Hill says he is ready to assume even more of a leadership role this upcoming season. The Cougars have set the bar high for themselves and are expecting to have a standout season.

“I’m not conceding anything, but we have a good team,” said Mendenhall.

“I look at our schedule and there is not a game that we can’t win,” Hill said.

It all starts with the quarterback, which Mendenhall commented is a great position to have a starter returning. Hill hopes to build on a productive sophomore season where he had more than 4,000 yards of total offense and 29 total touchdowns.

It’s the second year of the Cougar’s “go fast, go hard” offense. There were some obvious growing pains with the new offense, but everyone is excited about ways they have improved the offense. Offensive coordinator, Robert Anae, mentioned in the “State of the Program” show that they have made some changes in regards to personnel to make the offense more efficient that even the defense has noticed.

“They’re hard to stop,” said defensive coordinator, Nick Howell. “Trying to stop them in practice only makes our defense better.”

The BYU coaching staff is also working on ways to convert at a higher percentage in the red zone, where they had issues in 2013. Anae mentioned that they are looking for ways to help Hill have a higher completion percentage. The audience at the live TV show laughed when Anae was asked if Hill ran too much.

“He should have ran more,” Anae said.

Hill knows that he will need more than his legs to help the cougars achieve their goals this season. Hill said that with a year of experience under his belt, he feels more comfortable asserting his feelings about the offense with the coaching staff. Hill also talked about ways he’s been improving to be able to make this offense potent through the air.

“I’ve been working on making sure my feet are set quickly and that I’m accurate,” Hill said. “The games we struggled were when the opposing defenses stacked the box and forced us to throw.”

Hill has garnered some national attention for this upcoming season, and is listed as one of the top returning quarterbacks, but the coaching staff is focused on making sure that his popularity doesn’t become a distraction. Anae mentioned that there will be weekly evaluations of Hill’s progress.

While Hill will be the primary star at quarterback, there are other players that have been making progress, and are ready to contribute. Senior Christian Stewart appears to be the clear-cut backup that saw some reps during the Spring. Freshmen Hunter Moore and McCoy Hill will also be seen on the roster.

The future looks solid at the quarterback position for the Cougars. Fans can look forward to some fireworks in the Fall. 

Senior tight end Devin Mahina looks to make big impact in 2014

Jun 23, 2014 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 11:11 am | Updated: June 23, 2014 11:31 am | Permalink

Devin Mahina returns for his final year at BYU looking to make a big difference in BYU’s evolving offense.  The senior tight end from Upland, California, remembers BYU’s tough loss at Virginia to start off the 2013 campaign and is ready to do his part in making sure 2014 starts off with a win.

“I’m excited and anxious and ready for the season to start,” Mahina said. “July is going to seem like a really long month for me, but when the season comes I’ll definitely be ready.”

Statistically, BYU tight ends haven’t played a big part in offensive coordinator Robert Anae’s new up-tempo offense. Mahina saw limited playing time in 2013, finishing the season with seven catches for 54 yards and expects those numbers to increase significantly in 2014.

“The offense's chemistry has increased and our overall knowledge of the offense has increased as well,” Mahina said. “Last year we started from ground zero, but this year we’re a lot more comfortable and know exactly what is expected from us.”

One of the biggest reasons for the expected increase is a major tweak in the offense that Robert Anae eluded to during an interview on BYUtv.

“We’ve catered a little bit more to my needs as a tight end,” Mahina said. “We’ve done a lot more three-point-stance stuff, which is where I feel I thrive. I’m really excited for that.”

While the tight end position should become a bigger part of BYU’s offense in 2014, Mahina has seen progression throughout the entire team and expects big things in the upcoming season.

“Even if we just go off of spring practices, we’ve seen huge progress,” Mahina said. “I think this year we are going to see big things from the entire team, and especially the tight ends.” 

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.”

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 

Reaction to KVN draft pick

May 12, 2014 - Posted by Aaron Sorenson at 12:11 pm | Updated: May 12, 2014 12:18 pm | Permalink

Football team to include alternate home uniforms in 2014

May 08, 2014 - Posted by at 11:31 am | Updated: May 8, 2014 11:55 am | Permalink

The BYU football team will be sporting three alternate home uniforms during the upcoming season. In addition to its regular dark blue home jersey with white pants, the team will don white, royal and black uniforms in 2014.

Fans are encouraged to join the team in a white-out game when BYU hosts the University of Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 20 in LaVell Edwards Stadium. The team will take the field in all-white attire to face the visiting Cavaliers from the Atlantic Coast Conference. While the all-white look is sometimes used during road games, the white-out game with UVa will be the first time the team will wear white in LaVell Edwards Stadium.

The Cougars will wear royal blue when they host in-state rival Utah State on Friday, Oct. 3. Cougar fans are encouraged to sport their royal attire for the Friday night matchup against the Aggies of the Mountain West Conference. The game will mark the fourth time the Cougars have worn a royal blue alternate jersey. BYU also wore royal for home games against Utah in 2009 and 2013 and in its 2009 Las Vegas Bowl victory over No. 16 Oregon State.

The return of the black alternate jersey takes place against former conference foe UNLV when the Cougars host the Rebels on Saturday, Nov. 15 in Provo. The Cougars welcome UNLV of the MW back to Provo for a black-out game in LaVell Edwards Stadium. BYU previously wore all-back uniforms against No. 10 Oregon State in 2012. 

Check out the photos below to get a feel for the alternate uniforms.

 

 

 

2014 NFL Draft begins today

May 08, 2014 - Posted by Aaron Sorenson at 10:18 am | Updated: May 8, 2014 10:41 am | Permalink

Round 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft begins tonight in New York City at Radio City Music Hall. Live coverage begins at 8 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. MDT on ESPN, WatchESPN and on the NFL Network. The second and third rounds will take place Friday beginning at 7 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. MDT while the final four rounds are held Saturday beginning at noon EDT/10 a.m. MDT.

BYU had five players invited to the NFL Combine, four defensive and one offensive player. Only 13 programs had more than BYU’s five combine invitees and only three—Alabama, Florida State and Florida—had more defensive players invited to participate. Last year two BYU players participated in the combine, including defensive lineman Ziggy Ansah, who was later selected No. 5 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Ansah went on to record the most sacks by an NFL rookie last season. BYU's five combine participants this year is the most since 2002 when six Cougars were invited to the combine.

Upon the conclusion of the draft, undrafted players will be available to sign as free agents with one of the 32 NFL teams.

Here is a guide that features the 11 Cougars who participated in BYU's Pro Day in March. 

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.

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