On Sept. 1, 2010, BYU announced its football independence. On July 1, 2011, the Cougars officially became independent. Today, July 12, 2011, BYU is hosting its first Media Day. So what exactly is a media day?
A media day is typically an opportunity for the media to meet the coach and a few players from every school in the conference. It’s also a chance for the conference media partners to gain access to the teams and gather information so they are ready to broadcast games in the fall.
Because the Cougars are not in a conference, the athletic department and BYUtv decided to take on the challenge of throwing their own media day. While it will mirror a traditional media day, here are a few ways in which BYU’s media day will differ from a traditional conference media day.
BYU photographers Mark Philbrick and Jaren Wilkey went behind the scenes to capture the filming of the True Blue Fall Football Preview on BYUtv.
In preparation for the 2011 BYU Football Media Day, we checked in with senior offensive lineman Matt Reynolds to see what he's been up to this summer and his thoughts on media day and the upcoming season.
Reynolds, who usually takes some time off during summer, said this year has been a little different because it's his last.
"With it being my senior season, I've really stayed home more and it's been all about football," Reynolds said. "My emotions coming into this season are just absolute excitement. We have so much to prove with Independence. And really, I have a lot to prove. There have been some high expectations set for me so that is very motivating for me. I'm really excited for this season."
Along with helping BYU prove to the country the type of program it is, Reynolds, who decided against declaring for the draft to return to BYU for his senior year, said going Independent will help him prove himself.
"One of the things I had heard back was that they hadn't really gotten to see me play against some of these teams these other guys are playing against," Reynolds said. "I feel like if you're a good player, you're a good player. I'm going to approach it the same way but I do think it'll help people be able to compare apples to apples, where they can watch me play against one guy and then watch another person play against that same guy and see the differences and similarities."
Reynolds said seeing how real his dream of playing in the NFL is, is both rewarding and motivating.
"It's rewarding to start to see your dreams come to life," Reynolds said. "To see everything you've put into this, all the hours and all the sweat, the surgeries, everything, start to pay off. But at the same time it's hugely motivating to realize that it all comes down to this year. Every game it's going to come down to every single play. It's been really motivating me."
Reynolds is looking forward to media day, especially in the new broadcast building.
"This is my first time in the building, it's pretty impressive," Reynolds said. "I was at the media day last year in Vegas so I kind of know how the system runs. I'm excited about this year because it's something new being Independent. It's a really good opportunity for everyone to get to know the players this season and know what to expect."
For all your 2011 BYU Football Media Day updates check out Football Media Day Center Tuesday.
Senior wide receiver McKay Jacobsen took a minute to talk media day with BYU Athletics.
"I'm excited to be thinking about football," Jacobsen said. "Media day means one step closer to the season. I think the fans really enjoy it too."
Jacobsen, who said he was busy taking classes in the spring, just returned from a trip to Japan. After serving his mission there, he said he wanted to take his family.
Being an Independent team this year has Jacobsen even more excited about this football season.
"It's going to be fun to play different schools that we haven't played in the past and to play in different venues across the country. We have a great schedule and it's going to be a great season. I think it'll be great for BYU to get this exposure."
Check out Football Media Day Central Tuesday for more interviews with Jacobsen and BYU football players.
BYU Athletics spent some time with ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe Monday while she was getting ready for media day.
Rowe shared with us some highlights of her career.
"One of the things I'm really excited about is that I do the Saturday night prime time football game on ESPN," Rowe said. "So usually we're getting one of the top one or two football games of the week for college football. We do a ton of SEC games and I can just remember some key moments at Florida or at Auburn. I got to interview Cam Newton this year and got to ride that bandwagon for a little bit. Those have been some big moments I've enjoyed being part of."
Despite moving on in her career, Rowe has a special place in her heart for BYU.
"This was my first job," Rowe said. "I got my first start as a sideline reporter doing BYU and Air Force football games for the old Blue and White Sports Network that use to run out of BYU. It was such a great start and I am so grateful for it. I was just driving down the hill from Orem and saw the stadium and almost started to cry because there are so many great memories and I just love it here. I got this warm, special feeling when I saw the stadium. I was excited to come back here today."
Rowe was especially impressed when she saw the new home to BYUtv.
"This is my first time here in the broadcast building," Rowe said. "This is unbelievable and I'm so grateful. The foundation is really in place for BYUtv to be a success and be an Independent conference. I don't think people realize what a great foundation has been laid here and this building is a big part of that. I think it's going to be off the charts successful."
As many are, Rowe is excited for the relationship ESPN and BYU has developed.
"When I worked here I would have to contact TV stations around the country and see if they wanted to carry BYU football games," Rowe said. "We had about 63 stations at the height that wanted BYU football and so I knew, this was 15 years ago, that there was a huge interest nationally in BYU football. To see where it's come to and see that ESPN has continued that interest. The Vice President of Programming for ESPN, Dave Brown, would call me once a month and ask me what's up at BYU. There has always been this great love, respect and interest. I think it's all following a very natural course and culminating a very neat relationship right now."
Check out Football Media Day Central Tuesday for more interviews from BYU football players, legends and many more.
While sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps was getting ready for media day, he took some time to share how his summer has been going and some things he's most excited for this football season.
"I just got back a couple weeks ago from getting married. We just got married June 25 and it's been great. It's awesome to have the opportunity to just have someone that you can rely on and you can lean your shoulder on and vice-versa. So far it's been great and it's awesome to be able to grow and evolve with each other over time and as different situations go on. We just got back to our house and trying to get settled in so that'll be crazy and stressful but it'll be fun to get settled in."
"Her dad played strong safety here and went on to the NFL. He played with Coach Reynolds back in the 70's with the team that went to the Fiesta Bowl. It's fun to be able to talk to him and see what it was like back in the day and see what Coach Reynolds was like. They are huge BYU fans. She's one of those people that loves sports and cares about it and stays in touch with it but at the end of the day it's not her focus. As far as our relationship goes, she checks in and will see how practice is going and see what's going on and is always very supportive in whatever I need to do. After the conversation is done with how that's going though, we don't really talk about it much more. I'm pretty lucky. I've been blessed."
"I'm just working right now, trying to earn some money. I'm in marketing for a mortgage company and having a good time with that. I'm more of a laid back guy and like to hang out with friends and enjoy people's company. I'd rather hang out at home then go out and do something. It's been a great summer so far."
"Besides work, just going out playing basketball, softball, just trying to find things to do to have fun this summer. I like to think that I'm pretty good at basketball. I'm not as good as I use to be. It's always frustrating going back and not being able to do what you use to be able to do. It's always fun to be able to go up and down the court and just play with friends. I always have a good time."
"There isn't one game that I could pick out that I'm most excited for. Ole Miss is going to be a good game. But then you have Texas. And then there is Utah at home for the opener. Central Florida is a great team. You just go on and on down the list. Every game is exciting and fun. Not only being Independent, but now we have these fun schedules for fans and for ourselves. It's a great opportunity for us to have this fun vibe and buzz around campus. Before, you would have a big game and then some weeks you wouldn't really feel it. Being able to be partnered with ESPN is an exciting opportunity for our fans to be really involved and have an opportunity to see us week in and week out and watch really entertaining games. We're going to have a fun, successful year on top of that which will make it great. Each game has it's own story line. It's a great opportunity to prove to the country that we're as big of a program as anybody in the country."
"During the offseason here it's fun because you get a chance to relax and recover but you're working out and trying to get stuff done. You're trying to throw and get 7-on-7 going. Everyone is really itching to get back and get this thing going. We all want to get to fall camp. It's been fun to watch how hard these guys have been working in the off-season. I just want to skip forward to fall camp. We're excited for our development and to get the ball rolling. After fall camp, everything is a blur and next thing you know it's Sept. 3 at Ole Miss."
Check out Football Media Day Center for more interviews with Jake Heaps and others.
Scott Hill, BYUtv sports director discusses Media Day and what he's looking forward to on Tuesday.
In preparation for Media Day, I caught up with Travis Uale and Uona Kaveinga to ask them a few questions about their summer and what they're looking forward to in the upcoming football season. But, to turn the tables on them, I decided I would let them interview each other.
Kaveinga started the questioning by asking Uale what game he was looking forward to most this season. Uale didn't even hesitate.
"TCU, that's easy," Uale said. "They beat us last year and I want to get them back and we get to play in the huge Dallas stadium."
As we were talking about the upcoming TCU game, Holly Rowe, from ESPN, even poked her head in to comment on the majesty of the new stadium and it's 160-ft. jumbotron.
When asked his own question, Kaveinga said he was most excited for the continuation of the Utah rivalry.
"Even though it's not a conference game this year, we're still taking the rivalry seriously," Kaveinga said. "That's the game I'm most looking forward to."
After they realized how tough the whole interviewing process can be, I took over the questioning and asked each player what they've been doing over the summer besides football.
Uale, a senior defensive back from Hawaii Kai, Hawaii, told me how he has spent the summer trying to balance family life and school.
"I haven't stopped going to school," Uale said. "I went both spring and summer, so just trying to balance keeping my wife and kid happy and going to school keeps me pretty busy."
Besides family and school, Uale also does some DJing with his brother on the side. He also said it wasn't long before Coach Mendenhall discovered his hobby and also his DJ name.
"I made the name, and the next day the whole team knew it," Uale said. "My DJ name is DJ Kid, because I'm the youngest of four, and Coach Mendenhall calls me it all the time now."
And what has Kaveinga, a junior linebacker from Hawthorne, Calif., been doing?
"I like playing volleyball," Kaveinga said. "I lettered three years in high school playing back row and outside hitter."
Tune in tomorrow to the 2011 BYU Football Media Day to see more interviews with Uale, Kaveinga and other BYU football players and legends.
In preparation for media day, senior running back JJ Di Luigi shared what he's been up to this summer.
"I'm doing some cool projects with BYU marketing right now," Di Luigi said. "One is putting together all the tailgates for the student all-sports pass holders. We'll have a tailgate for the Utah game and some different sporting events."
Di Luigi, who is use to being on the other end of marketing, said his summer experience has changed how he's going to handle things in the future.
"I answer my phone a lot more now when I see marketing numbers and communications numbers," Di Luigi said with a laugh. "Where usually I let them go to voicemail and then call them back. Now, I've experienced that and think, 'Dang, never again.' I'm going to answer all the calls."
Di Luigi is looking forward to being a part of media day, a first for him, but ultimately has his sights set on the season.
"I'm excited to get in the studio, I've never seen it," Di Luigi said. "It's pretty sweet and really nice in the broadcast building. I'm excited about the new experience but it makes me more excited for the season. I wish we were putting on the pads tomorrow."
Check out Football Media Day Central tomorrow for more interviews with JJ Di Luigi and other players, coaches and legends.
ESPN's Trevor Matich spoke with BYUcougars.com about Media Day, BYU's Independence and playing for the 1984 National Championship team.