GAME NOTES: Cougars Open Season at Arizona
PROVO -- Coming off their first bowl appearance in four years, the BYU Cougars will start the 2006 season on the road against Arizona. Under second-year head coach Bronco Mendenhall, BYU is looking to improve upon its 6-6 record and return to the top of the Mountain West Conference. The Cougars return a total of 14 starters (eight offensive, four defensive, kicker and punter) from last season's 6-6 team that finished second in the Mountain West Conference at 5-3. Of the eight offensive returners, three are reigning All-MWC first teamers. John Beck, Curtis Brown and Jonny Harline are all back after stellar junior seasons. Cameron Jensen returns as BYU's leading tackler for the second consecuive season and also earned All-MWC honors (second team) as a junior.
BYU and Arizona first played in 1936 and had their last match-up in Arizona's final season of Western Athletic Conference play in 1977. BYU won that game in Provo by a score of 34-14. In what will be the 20th meeting between the two teams, Arizona owns a 10-8-1 lead in the series. Overall, the Cougars have won two consecutive games in the series and three of the last four. The two teams played every year between 1962 and 1977, with Arizona winning nine and BYU taking seven of the sixteen games. BYU won the first game the two teams played in Provo in 1967. The first eight games and 13 of the 19 games of the series have been played in Arizona with the Cougars posting a 5-7-1 (.423) record on the road against the Wildcats.
2006 SCHEDULE SET
Due in part to the Mountain West Conference's new contract with CSTV and the development of The mtn. network, the Cougars already have game times and television programming plans completed for each of their 12 games. Two of BYU's first three games will be televised nationally, including a season-opening trip Sept. 2 to Arizona (TBS) and a Sept. 16 rematch at Boston College (ESPN2). The Cougars will also play two games each on CSTV and Versus, including a pair of Thursday night games and the remainder of their schedule (six games) will be played on The mtn.
OPENING ON THE ROAD
BYU will start its 2006 campaign on the road for the first time since the Cougars opened the 2000 season with a 29-3 loss to Florida State in Jacksonville, Fla. Since 1999, BYU is 5-2 in season openers. The Cougars' loss to Boston College last season was their first defeat in a season opener since the 2000 loss to the Seminoles. The Cougars will take on Arizona at Arizona Stadium (56,000) in the season-opener for both teams. It will mark the first meeting between the two teams in 29 years. Since 1978, the first year of the expanded Pac-10, BYU holds a 2-1 record in season-openers against Pac-10 opponents. Arizona will also mark the second-consecutive Pac-10 opponent for the Cougars (California). The last time BYU opened the season with a victory on the road was in 1994, when the Cougars beat Hawai`i 13-12 in Honolulu. BYU's last non-conference season-opening win on the road was in 1984 when BYU beat No. 3 Pittsburgh 20-14.
COUGARS ON NATIONAL TELEVISION
Two of BYU's first three games will be broadcast nationally. The Cougars will have a total of five nationally televised games. The season opener at Arizona will mark the second time BYU has played on TBS. Two weeks later, the Cougars rematch against Boston College will be seen on ESPN 2. BYU will then play four MWC opponents on CSTV and Versus in front of a national audience: TCU (Sept. 28, Versus), Air Force (Oct. 28, Versus) Wyoming (Nov. 9, CSTV) and rival Utah (Nov. 25, CSTV).
BYU is coming off its 24th bowl appearance. In seasons following a trip to a bowl game, the Cougars have recorded a combined record of 202-81-2 (.712). Of the 23 seasons following a bowl game, the Cougars have averaged nearly nine (8.8) wins per season. BYU has had only one losing season following a trip to a bowl game. (In 2002, BYU went 5-7 after playing in the Liberty Bowl in 2001.)
COMPLETE BROADCAST PLANS
TELEVISION: TBS will carry national coverage of the Arizona game. Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. local time (8:15 Mountain Time). Chip Caray will handle the play-by-play with Tom Ramsey offering analysis and David Aldridge on the sideline.
RADIO: Fans can also catch the game by tuning into KSL Radio - the 50,000-watt home of the Cougars - and follow the game live as Greg Wrubell calls the action, Marc Lyons offers expert analysis and James Dye reports from the sideline
INTERNET: A live audio stream will be available on the following URLs: http:// ksl.com and http://www.byuradio.org
ON THE AIR
The exclusive radio home of BYU Football and flagship of the Cougar Sports Network is KSL Newsradio, 1160 AM and 102.7 FM in Salt Lake City. The "Voice of the Cougars" is Greg Wrubell, now in his 6th season as play-by-play commentator. Joining Wrubell is game analyst and former BYU quarterback Marc Lyons, who enters his 26th year on the air. Former BYU receiver and kick return specialist James Dye begins his second season on the sidelines, while Jeff Austin debuts as studio host.
KSL's gameday coverage begins two hours prior to kickoff with the "Cougar Countdown Show." The "Cougar Pregame Scoreboard Show" starts the second hour of the broadcast, with the "Cougar Pregame Coach's Show" 35 minutes before kickoff, followed by the "Cougar Kickoff Show."
After the game, KSL presents the "Cougar Postgame Scoreboard Show," followed by the "Cougar Lockerroom Show," "Cougar Postgame Coach's Show," and "Cougar Call-In Show." "Cougar Replay" concludes the broadcast with a play-by-play recap of the day's biggest plays.
Greg Wrubell hosts the hour-long "Bronco Mendenhall Show" Wednesday nights at 7:00pm. KSL's in-week programming also includes the "Coach's Corner" with Greg Wrubell and head coach Bronco Mendenhall, heard Mondays and Thursdays at 8:45am, and the game preview feature "Cougar Matchup," Thursdays and Fridays at 8:15am and 4:15pm.
KSL also presents BYU Football-related programming online at ksl.com, including "Cougar Radio" Tuesdays and Thursdays live from 1:00-2:00pm. The weekly "Bronco Mendenhall Press Conference" airs live online at noon every Wednesday. In addition, Greg Wrubell provides a weekly look at Cougar Football on "Cougar Tracks" every Monday. All online programs are archived and can be downloaded or formatted for podcasting.
Stations on KSL's Cougar Sports Network include:
KMGR (95.9 FM) - Manti, UT
KTHK (105.5 FM) -- Blackfoot/Pocatello/Idaho Falls, ID
KBLI (690 AM) - Blackfoot/Pocatello/Idaho Falls, ID
KBLY (1260 AM) -- Blackfoot/Pocatello/Idaho Falls, ID
KART (1400AM) -- Jerome, ID
KDOX (1280AM) -- Las Vegas, NV
Games can also be heard live online at ksl.com, byuradio.org, and on BYU Radio (Dish Network Channel 980)
Seven players on BYU's active roster are or will be turning 25 during the upcoming season. Backup quarterback Jason Beck, who turned 26 in April, is BYU's oldest player. Jared McLaughlin, at 25 years and 11 months, is the oldest kicker in the nation. McLaughlin will turn 26 on the Sunday after the Arizona game.
BYU has played at least two games against each of the 10 current Pac-10 members. The Cougars have posted an overall 27-54-1 record against Pac-10 foes. BYU has a winning record against two teams: California (2-1) and Washington State (2-1). The Cougars have won at least one game against each Pac-10 team except Stanford and USC. The most victories BYU has over a Pac-10 team is eight against 2006 opponent Arizona.
EVERY FIVE YEARS...
BYU is on a five-year cycle of fielding top-10 teams. Five years ago, the Cougars started the 2001 campaign 12-0 in Gary Crowton's first season. The BYU squad averaged 44.1 points per game and was ranked as high as eight going into the Hawai`i game. Five years prior, the 1996 Cougars team, led by quarterback Steve Sarkisian went 14-1. BYU set NCAA records for wins (14) and games played (15) in a season. The Cougars 14-1 record ended in a WAC Championship and a Cotton Bowl victory over Kansas State. After BYU's Cotton Bowl victory, the Cougars finished the season ranked No. 5.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
The following is a list of BYU's future non-conference schedules:
2007: Arizona, at UCLA
2008: Nevada, at Washington, UCLA, at Arizona
2009: at Arizona State, Florida State
2010: Washington, at Florida State
2011: at Washington, Arizona State
IT'S BEEN A WHILE
BYU has gone 92 games without scoring a touchdown on a kick return, which ranks the Cougars 10th in the nation in time between touchdown returns. BYU is in a 10th-place tie with season-opening opponent Arizona. The Cougars have also gone 104 games without returning a punt for a touchdown.
While Mendenhall has 16 years of assistant coaching experience, he is now in hi second year as a head coach for the first time in his career. Despite his extensive experience, he is the eighth youngest head coach in NCAA Division I-A football at the age of 40.
DEFENSIVE NUMBERS GAME
Prior to spring practice, Bronco Mendenhall announced BYU would be implementing a 3-4 defensive scheme to replace the 3-3-5. "We feel like we've assembled the best coaching staff possible," Mendenhall said. "After reviewing our defensive personnel, there are players on our team who we can design scheme elements around to make sure we get our best 11 football players on the field. We believe the coaching assignment changes are in direct alignment with the strengths of our returning defensive personnel." While the Cougars will be going away from the 3-3-5 scheme, Mendenhall said the principles of the new scheme will not change. "The principles are very similar to what we have already done," he said. "We will continue to emphasize pursuit and gang tackling."
SOMEBODY'S WATCHING YOU...
Six members of the 2006 BYU football team - John Beck, Curtis Brown, Jonny Harline, Daniel Coats, Cameron Jensen and Jake Kuresa - have been named to various "watch lists" for postseason awards.
John Beck, 6-2, 216, Quarterback: John Beck has been selected to the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, the Johnny Unitas Award and the Sammy Baugh Award watch lists. Beck started all 12 games his junior year and threw for 3,709 yards and 27 touchdowns. He averaged an MWC-best 309.1 yards per game which was fifth nationally. Beck earned first-team All-MWC honors as a junior.
Curtis Brown, 6-0, 203, Running Back: Curtis Brown is the all-time leader at BYU for 100-yard rushing games (11) entering his senior season. Brown rushed for 1,123 yards and scored a team-high 16 touchdowns last season. He needs just 759 yards rushing as a senior to break the school career rushing record. Brown was also second on the team in receptions with 53.
Daniel Coats, 6-3, 263, Tight End: Daniel Coats has been selected to the John Mackey Award watch list. He played in all 12 games for BYU as a junior. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said Coats' hard work in the offseason made him stand out in Fall Camp. As a freshman in 2003, Coats earned freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News.
Jake Kuresa, 6-4, 330, Offensive Line: Jake Kuresa has been named to the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award watch lists. He has started every game (35) in his three-year career. As a freshman, he played both guard and tackle and played exclusively at tackle as a sophomore and junior. Kuresa earned second team All-MWC honors as a junior. Kuresa helped anchor an offensive unit that averaged 33.0 points per game, second in the MWC, and 462.4 total yards per game, second in the MWC and 13 in the nation, including 152.3 yards rushing and 310.1 yards passing in 2005.
Cameron Jensen, 6-2, 247, Linebacker: Cameron Jensen has been named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award and Lombardi Award watch lists. He started 11 of 12 games in 2005 and led the team in total tackles with 84, solo tackles with 44 and assisted tackles with 40. He had four pass break-ups and six tackles for a loss.
Jonny Harline, 6-4, 238, Tight End: (Pronounced: Har-LEAN) Jonny Harline has been selected to the John Mackey Award watch list. He started every game in 2005 and led the team in receptions (63) and yards (853). He leads all returning tight ends nationally in receptions and yards.
FOLLOWING A .500 SEASON
BYU posted a 6-6 (.500) record last year. The last time BYU finished .500 on a season was LaVell Edwards' final season. In the 2000 season, the Cougars won its final two games to salvage a 6-6 record and a .500 season for their departing legendary coach. BYU followed the 2000 campaign with its memorable 2001 season where the Cougars reeled off 12 consecutive wins to start the season. BYU ended the year 12-2 and MWC Champions.
IT'S AUTOMATIC ... ALMOST
BYU, known traditionally for its high-octane offenses, rarely gets shutout. Until the Cougar's 3-0 loss to the University of Utah to end the 2003 season, BYU had scored in 361-consecutive games, which remains an NCAA record, dating back to the 1975 season. The Cougars started a new streak in 2004, and have scored in every game extending their streak to 23 games. Since October 3, 1975, BYU has scored in 396 of 397 games.
3,000 AND 1,000 IN THE SAME SEASON
John Beck and Curtis Brown became the first Cougar duo to pass for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in the same season since 2001. The last time two players combined to reach that mark were Brandon Doman and Luke Staley in 2001. John Walsh and Jamal Willis are the only other duo to achieve the 3,000-1,000 plateau in the same season, which they accomplished in 1994.
Although there were several teams that had a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher in 2005, only three schools featured a 3,700 yard passer and an 1,100-yard rusher: USC, Notre Dame and BYU.
CAREER 300-YARD GAMES
In BYU history, 21 different Cougars have thrown for 300 yards in at least one game. All totaled, BYU quarterbacks have hit the 300-yard mark a combined 183 games. Junior John Beck has made a contribution of 11 games to that list. He entered the 2005 season with four but threw for 330 yards against No. 22 Boston College, 517 against TCU, 371 at New Mexico, 317 at No. 9 Notre Dame, 383 against Air Force, 309 against Utah and 352 against California in the Las Vegas Bowl. Beck is now in eighth place for most 300-yard games. Ty Detmer tops the list with 34.
CAREER 100-YARD GAMES
With 153 yards against Utah, Curtis Brown registered the 11th 100-yard rushing game of his career, the most in BYU history. He tied the record at 10 with 153 yards against Wyoming. On the season, Brown has recorded six 100-yard rushing games, including 110 yards against Eastern Illinois, 104 yards versus New Mexico, 147 yards against Colorado State, a career-high 219 yards versus Air Force and 153 yards in the Utah and Wyoming games. Cougars with five-or-more 100-yard rushing games:
BROTHER'S CURRENTLY ON ROSTER
In addition to this years' players who have family members that have once played at BYU, there are currnetly five sets of brothers on this season's roster:
Rex (LB) and Sam (QB) Doman
Erik (OL) and Ryan (OL) Freeman
Braden (OL) and Brock (TE) Hansen
Hala (DL) and Temana (DL) Paongo
Manase (RB) and Matangi (DL) Tonga
CALLED TO SERVE
There are currently 57 returned missionaries (55 percent) on the BYU fall camp roster who have served full-time, two-year missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in over 25 different countries around the world. All totaled members of this year's team have served missions in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Nicaragua, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Samoa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tonga, United States and Venzuela. Members of this year's team can communicate fluently in at least 10 different languages. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates more than 330 missions around the world with approximately 56,000 missionaries.
NATIONAL TV DEBUTS
BYU's nationally-televised game with Arizona will be one of six games games broadcasted nationally to a television audience. The Cougars have a history of making some important national TV debuts. On Sept. 2, 1982, exactly 24 years ago, BYU beat UNLV, 27-0, in the first regular season, nationally televised game by TBS. The game is known as the first nationally-televised broadcast by a cable outlet. Almost two years later, the Cougars made another college football debut on a national network. BYU beat Pittsburgh, 20 14, on Sept. 2, 1984, in the first college football game broadcast to a national audience on ESPN.
In addition to English, there are 32 BYU football players that speak a second language fluently. Senior safety Aaron Gordon leads the Cougars with five languages: English, Samoan, Tongan, Italian and Hualapai. Other languages spoken by current BYU players are Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Russian and German.
There are 20 BYU players from the fall camp roster who are married. Four currentplayers have children.