BYU Athletics Blog

Brandon Davies Meets with Media

Nov 09, 2011 - Posted by Taylor Wilson at 8:24 pm | Permalink

For the first time since playing his final game of the 2010-11 season, a February 26 win at San Diego State, Brandon Davies met with the media on Tuesday to discuss last season, this season and his decision to continue his career at Brigham Young University. 

On his trials at the end of the 2010-11 season: "It's definitely been hard. It's been hard on a lot of people, not just myself. I'm just lucky to be surrounded with people that love me, a great team, great family members and friends." 

On missing the end of the 2010-11 season: "It hurt. Not just me, but everyone around me. Its definitely something I'll never forget about and something that I never want to do again, so I just use that to drive me in all that I do today." 

On his treatment by BYU: "I was definitely treated more than fair. Just to be able to make it back here and be able to be a part of this team again is a blessing to me." 

On if he has changed since last season: "Honestly, I think I'm a totally different person, but that's up to other people to decide. I can't really tell someone that I've changed; it's up to me to show that. Hopefully I'm headed in the right direction and am doing the best I can." 

On how last season affected his relationship with the team: "It's definitely strengthened us; it's a bad thing, a terrible thing that we all had to go through, and they were all willing to go through it with me and pull through together. I think that says a lot about their character and the way we are as a team." 

On the 2011-12 opener at Utah State: "They have a great program. They came in, they fought hard all game here and it's going to be even more of a battle at their place where they're more comfortable. It's up to us to go in there and break them the best we can and play our best game." 

Getting to Know Jessica Jardine

Nov 07, 2011 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 12:01 pm | Permalink

Position: Outside hitter

Year: Sophomore

Height: 6-1

Academic major: Public health

Favorite color: Green

Favorite movie: The Count of Monte Cristo

Favorite place to eat: Zupa’s

Favorite musical: Grease

Someone you look up to: My parents

Favorite actor: Morgan Freeman and Johnny Depp

Favorite place to travel: Anywhere

Something few people know about you: I have the same birthday as Jimmer.

Top three things you did this summer: Played volleyball, went boating and ate shave ice.

Favorite quote/motto: “Dance as if no one was watching, sing as if no one was listening, live every day like it was your last.”

Why did you decide to come to BYU? To have a good college experience and be a part of BYU volleyball.

Getting to Know Katie Vaughn

Nov 07, 2011 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 11:55 am | Permalink

Position: Outside hitter

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-2

Academic major: Graphic design

Favorite color: Purple

Athlete crush: Bolt. He is the fastest runner in the world.

Favorite movie: John Tucker Must Die

Favorite place to eat: Ettore’s Bakery or any bakery.

Someone you look up to: My sisters, Allie and Sarah

Favorite actor: Ryan Gosling. I love him.

Favorite place to travel: Lake Tahoe or Santa Cruz

If you were queen for a day, you would: Buy the nicest car ever

Favorite quote: “Do or do not, there is no try.” - Yoda

Why did you decide to come to BYU? I love the atmosphere on the BYU campus, a great education and an awesome team!

Mr. October

Nov 04, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 2:09 pm | Updated: November 4, 2011 2:15 pm | Permalink

Quarterback Riley Nelson has been a spark and a star for BYU throughout the last month. Between his play on the field, his viral videos on featuring his hair or high-fiving antics, Nelson has been at the forefront of the BYU football team and provided a boost in the last month or so.

Nelson has led the Cougars to a 3-1 record since starting the last four games. The Logan, Utah native has helped an offense once ranked 103rd in total offense per game (323.2) after five games to 21st in the last four games (467.0) and 66th overall now (387.1). With the help of Nelson's legs, BYU's running game has drastically turned around as well. In the first five games the Cougars averaged just 94.4 yards per game and was 102nd in the country. In the last four games, BYU has averaged 233.75 yards per game, the 14th-ranked rushing offense over that span. The rushing attack has jumped nearly 40 spots to No. 63 with an average of 156.33 yards per game overall.

In his four starts during the month of October, the junior has put up some staggering numbers. Here is a breakdown of what Nelson accomplished last month, including his national ranking compared to others in the same month, playing the same amount of games.

Statistic National Ranking Actual Notable Players (ranked same or lower) Actual
QB Rating 18 157.47 Matt Barkley, USC              153.86
      Geno Smith, WV                 153.60
      Brandon Weeden, Ok St.    152.92
TD Passes 16 10 Robert Griffin III, Baylor       10
      Nick Foles, Ariz.                   10
      Russell Wilson, Wisc.          9
Yds/Att 14 8.9 yds Landry Jones, Okla.            8.9 yds
      AJ McCarron, Ala.                8.4 yds
      Kellen Moore, Boise St.       8.3 yds
QB Rush-Tot. yds 6 298 yds David Sims, Ga. Tech          288 yds
      Denard Robinson, Mich.      273 yds
QB Rush-Avg/Att 6 5.84 yds Jeff Godfrey, UCF                        5.70 yds
      Ryan Tannehill, Tex. A&M   5.59 yds

Di Luigi Does It All

Nov 02, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 3:26 pm | Updated: November 2, 2011 3:41 pm | Permalink

Senior running back JJ Di Luigi has been an incredibly versatile player for BYU throughout his career. At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, Di Luigi has just the right size, speed and shiftiness to make him a weapon with the ball in his hands. For the 2011 season, the Canyon Country, Calif. product leads the Cougars in rushing with 81 carries for 415 yards and three touchdowns. He is also fourth on the team in receiving with 18 catches for 204 yards, including a team-best 57 yard reception.

In 2010, Di Luigi's 1,422 all-purpose yards were the 16th-best in BYU history. For his career, Di Luigi has 1,628 rushing yards, 920 receiving yards and 326 kickoff return yards, good for a total of 2,874 all-purpose yards.

Di Luigi is 19th all-time at BYU in all-purpose yards and is 12th in career rushing yards. He is in 64th in career-receiving yards. If Di Luigi can roll up 80 more receiving yards in his final year, he will be just the 10th player in BYU history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards for a career.

Not only does Di Luigi impress on the field, but CLICK HERE and check out his reporting skills in this clip from media day earlier in the year.

Here is how Di Luigi looks on the all-time lists and who he might pass in the coming weeks:

BYU Career All-Purpose Yards
1.   Brown, Curtis (2002-06)      4,996 yards
17. Hooks, Margin (1997-00)    2,929 yards
18. Pitta, Dennis (2004-09)       2,908 yards
19. Di Luigi, JJ (2008-)            2,874 yards

BYU Career Rushing Yards
1.   Unga, Harvey (2006-09)        3,455 yards
10. McKenzie, Brian (1996-97)    1,954 yards
11. Fortie, Eldon (1962-64)          1,666 yards
12. Di Luigi, JJ (2008-)               1,628 yards

BYU Career Receiving Yards
1. Collie, Austin (2004,07-08)      3,255 yards
61. Coats, Daniel (2003-06)        966 yards
62. Tuipulotu, Peter (1987-91)    965 yards
63. Davis, Bill (1978-80)             938 yards
64. Di Luigi, JJ (2008-)              920 yards

Fireside - TCU

Oct 27, 2011 - Posted by Jordan Christiansen at 10:20 pm | Permalink

The team held its usual pregame fireside at the Colleyville Stake Center in Texas on Friday evening.

Seniors McKay Jacobson and Moose Thorson spoke along with usual speakers Bronco and Holly Mendenhall.

Jacobson based his thoughts around a favorite scripture he often recited on his mission to Japan. In D&C 4:2, Jacobson was inspired to do all he was asked to do with his "heart, might, mind and strength." Whether it was learning Japanese, teaching those interested in his message or football upon his return, Jacobson expressed his testimony that following that verse of scripture has improved his life.

According to the senior receiver, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, recently came to a team meeting. Among other things, Jacobson said that President Uchtdorf told the team that God does not necessarily care whether they win or lose - but he does care how hard they try. The same principle holds true in all we do, from sports to all other aspects of life.

After a musical number by kicker Brian Smith, Thorson, an offensive lineman on the team, spoke of his journey from being a walk-on to a scholarship player who recently earned the first start of his career this season.

Thorson bore testimony that through the gospel, a person can do anything, giving himself as an example of a player with less skill who has been blessed by God to do things above his abilities.

After Coach Mendenhall's wife, Holly, reminded the congregation that they were all examples to people both known and unknown, Coach Mendenhall closed the meeting with his remarks. He told the story of being given the assignment by his father to break in new colts. Coach tied each colt to a mule; as the mules would being walking forward, the colts would dig in their heels, fall on the ground and resist being taken anywhere.

But with the mules plodding along despite the chaos behind them, the colts would learn to go along, eventually becoming more docile. Mendenhall compared the mules to himself, his family and all others who attempt to do good while the world around them fights and resists the standards of the gospel.

Getting to Know Kathryn LeCheminant

Oct 27, 2011 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 10:27 am | Permalink

Position: Middle blocker

Height: 6-2

Hometown: Layton, Utah

Year: Sophomore

Academic major: Theraputic Recreation

Favorite color: Purple

Favorite musical: Singing in the Rain

Favorite movie: The Proposal

Favorite place to travel: Alaska

Favorite actress: Sandra Bullock

Someone you look up to: Emma Smith

Something few people know about you: I want to go to Australia and go camping in the outback.

If you were queen for a day, you would: Feed all the hungry children.

Favorite quote: Carpe diem- Sieze the day

Top three things you did this summer: Went to Alaska, played/coached volleyball, went to the Grand Canyon.

Why did you decide to come to BYU? Because it’s where I’ve always wanted to come here.

Getting to Know Tia Withers

Oct 27, 2011 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 10:21 am | Updated: October 27, 2011 10:22 am | Permalink

Position: Defensive Specialist/Libero

Height: 5-9

Hometown: Beaverton, Ore.

Year: Freshman

Academic major: Elementary education

Favorite color: Pink and purple

Favorite place to eat: Olive Garden

Athlete crush: Roger Federer because he is one of the best tennis players in the world, he is humble amid his many successes, and he is a handsome, fit athlete.

Favorite Movie: Tangled

Someone you look up to: My three older brothers: Justin, Drew and Mitch.

Something few people know about you: I did pole vault in high school and I love white coconut chocolate.

If you were queen for a day, you would: Buy Disney World for the day and take all of my friends and family to spend the day there with me.

Favorite quote: “I’m proof that great things can happen to ordinary people if they work hard and never give up.” - Orel Hershiser

Why did you decide to come to BYU? I wanted to represent the school that represents my values by academic and athletic excellence.

Kyle Van Noy ... One of everything

Oct 25, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 3:29 pm | Updated: October 25, 2011 3:38 pm | Permalink

Sophomore Kyle Van Noy is one of BYU's premier play makers. Van Noy, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound outside linebacker has been wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks and disrupting offenses ever since putting on a BYU uniform.

To this point in the 2011 season, Van Noy is the only FBS Division I player that has recorded at least one of the following statistics this season: tackle (36), tackle for loss (6.0), sack (3.0), interception (3), forced fumble (1), fumble recovery (1), quarterback hurry (5), pass breakup (3), punt block (1) and touchdown (1).

Whether it is dropping into coverage, batting down passes or blitzing left and right, Van Noy has a nose for the football.

He has often referred to himself as an "offensive player that plays defense." In fact, Van Noy has a goal of scoring at least one defensive touchdown each year, something he has accomplished in his first two seasons as a Cougar. In 2010, Van Noy recovered a fumble and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown in a 49-10 win over Colorado State. His goal was accomplished in the season opener in 2011, stripping the ball from the Rebels' quarterback at Ole Miss and scooping it up for a three-yard return and the winning touchdown in route to a 14-13 Cougar Victory.

With plenty of games left to play, Van Noy has opportunities to add even more to the stat sheet.

Special Returners

Oct 20, 2011 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 12:58 pm | Updated: October 20, 2011 1:04 pm | Permalink

Being a kick returner is not for the fearful. Catching a sky-high kick at the same time 11 speeding opponents are racing directly to hit you as hard as they possibly can is something only few are successful at. There will be at least two great BYU kick returners in LaVell Edwards Stadium, one past and one present.

Mike Rigell played for for the Cougars from 1998, 00-01 and is currently the all-time leader at BYU in kick return yards (1,625), tops in single-season kickoff return yards (865), second in career kick returns (65) and second in single-season kickoff returns (33). Rigell will be returning once again, but this time to the sidelines at LaVell Edwards Stadium as the current running backs coach for the Idaho State Bengals. The Tacoma, Wash. product has been mentioned among Cougar fans lately not only for his return to Provo, but because current kick returner Cody Hoffman recently equaled one of Rigell's best accomplishments on the football field.

Hoffman returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown against UCF earlier this season and was the first to return a kickoff for a score since Rigell did it his freshman season in 1998. While visiting Hawaii in 1998, Rigell took the opening kick of the second half 96 yards to the house in route to a 31-9 BYU victory. Cougar fans waited 13 years and 160 games to see Hoffman do it again.

Rigell and Hoffman are very different type of players, at least in body type and style. At around 5-foot-7 and 184 pounds, Rigell's style was more of compact running, quickness and making people miss. Hoffman on the other hand towers over Rigell at 6-foot-4, 208 pounds and relies on his straight-line speed and physicality to pick up yards.

They both have the fearless mindset to return kicks that only few possess. While Rigell currently sits as the leader or in the top 10 of several kickoff return lists, he might just have to pass the torch to Hoffman eventually, who is averaging nearly 71 kickoff return yards per game in 2011. Take a look at some of the records that Hoffman, just a sophomore, could take hold of before he is done in Cougar uniform.

Career Kickoff Return Yards
1. 1,625 Mike Rigell (1998, 00-01)
2. 1,611 O'Neill Chambers (2008-10)
3. 1,391 Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70)
4. 1,277 Austin Collie (2004, 07-08)
5. 1,051 Eric Mortensen (1988-91)
6. 992 Jaron Dabney (1997, 99)
7. 973 Vai Sikahema (1980-81, 84-85)
8. 945 Mike O'Brien (1986-88)
9. 865 Homer Jones (1979-80)
10. 835 Cody Hoffman (2010-present)
Single Season Kickoff Return Yards
1. 865 Mike Rigell (2001)
2. 809 O'Neill Chambers (2008)
3. 723 Austin Collie (2007)
4. 659 Chris Farasopoulos (1969)
5. 638 Jaron Dabney (1997)
6. 617 Mike Rigell (1998)
7. 579 Homer Jones (1979)
8. 548 Chris Farasopoulos (1969)
9. 544 Dave Lowry (1976)
10. 507 John Betham (1974)
11. 495 Cody Hoffman (2011)

Career Kickoff Return Averages (min. 30 returns)

1. 27.27 Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70)
2. 26.09 Cody Hoffman (2010-present)
3. 26.06 Austin Collie (2004, 07-08)
4. 24.71 Homer Jones (1979-80)
5. 24.21 John Betham (1972-74)
6. 24.20 Jaron Dabney (1997, 99)
7. 23.77 Mike Rigell (1998, 00-01)
8. 23.55 O'Neill Chambers (2008-10)
9. 23.17 Vai Sikahema (1980-81, 84-85)
10. 22.50 Mike O'Brien (1986-88)
Career Kick Returns
1. 69 O'Neill Chambers (2008-10)
2. 65 Mike Rigell (1998, 00-01)
3. 51 Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70)
4. 49 Austin Collie (2004, 07-08)
  49 Eric Mortensen (1988-91)
6. 42 Mike O'Brien (1986-88)
  42 Vai Sikahema (1980-81, 84-85)
8. 41 Jaron Dabney (1997, 99)
9. 37 Bryce Mahuika (2004-08)
10. 35 Homer Jones (1979-80)
  35 Kent Oborn (1964-66)
11. 34 Cody Hoffman (2010-Present)
Single Season Kickoff Returns
1. 35 O'Neill Chambers (2008)
2. 33 Mike Rigell (2001)
3. 30 John Betham (1974)
4. 28 Austin Collie (2007)
5. 26 Jaron Dabney (1997)
  26 Dave Lowry (1976)
  26 Chris Farasopoulos (1970)
8. 23 Mike Rigell (1998)
  23 Golden Richards (1971)
10. 22 Mike O'Brien (1987)
  22 Homer Jones (1979)
11. 21 Bryce Mahuika (2004)
12. 20 Cody Hoffman (2011)