BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall confirmed after Friday morning's practice at the indoor practice facility that he has pulled the scholarship from redshirt freshman running back Drew Phillips, and that Phillips most likely will never suit up for the Cougars again.
Thursday night, as reported on this blog, Phillips stated on his Twitter account that BYU had pulled his scholarship. He later deleted that post, but acknowledged via replies to others that he would not be returning to Provo.
Here's what Mendenhall said Friday when asked about Phillips' situation by The Tribune:
"I will talk, I guess, about what I am allowed to talk about. So Drew is someone that struggled in his time here at BYU, just [with] kind of team policy, and consistency.
At the end of the spring semester, Drew was notified that he would not have his scholarship renewed, but he would have a great chance to come back [depending on] if and when, and how he did in the summer school classes -- to pay his own way for a year, based on how that year went.
He would then have a chance to rejoin us, on aid [after a year].
There was a letter sent to their home. Anytime we pull a scholarship, which we don't do very often, there is a letter sent. I think that was the end of July. That's when that was stated [that he didn't have a scholarship]. I am sorry he is not coming back.
That's probably as specific as I can get."
Mendenhall said "it doesn't sound like it" when asked if the 5-10, 165-pound back from Boaz, Ala., will get the chance to return, much as receiver-turned-safety O'Neill Chambers is trying to do.
"Again, I wasn't following it as closely, other than Brad and others told me last night that [Phillips] had a made a statement. Coach [Joe] DuPaix called after visiting with the family, and said he is not going to be returning.
The situations aren't identical. O'Neill was given even maybe a harder task. It has been nearly a year and a half, where he has had a similar thing to do, and he really loves this place and wants to be here.
So again, I am not judging anything. My hope is Drew finds a place that he really likes to be, and continues to play ball and gets his education."
Phillips was one of the players whom Mendenhall said at July's media day could rejoin the team the first day of classes. I then asked him for the status of three others: Matt Putnam, Thomas Bryson and Kori Gaines.
"No reports yet. No final status to report to you yet. But all three of those guys, my hope is they are able to be with us the first day of school. That's our hope, and I think I shared that with you a couple weeks ago.
Nothing definitive either way with that, but we are hopeful by school that we get them all back. But each of their situations is different as well."
Quick practice report, with plenty more to come later:
The Cougars went inside the IPF for the morning practice, but were without pads (helmets only). It was a shorter practice, too, with just 12 segments.
In the Team segment at the end of practice, the offense fared much better than it did the past few practices -- at least the practices the media was allowed to view.
Jake Heaps was 6 of 7 for 100 yards and a touchdown, a 60-yard bomb to J.J. Di Luigi after Heaps scrambled and Di Luigi got behind the secondary.
Riley Nelson was 2 of 2 for 17 yards.
McKay Jacobson caught two passes for 24 yards.
JD Falslev caught two passes for 13 yards.
Richard Wilson and Cody Hoffman each caught a short pass.
Hebron Fangupo and Carter Mees combined for a sack.
Daniel Sorensen and Matt Peterson also had sacks.
Odds and ends:
* Brandon Ogletree, MLB, returned to practice for the first time in more than a week. Mendenhall said it was great to see 'Tree back out there again.
* Kicker Justin Sorensen had a mishap in the weight room in which some weights hit him in the forehead and face. He needed 17 stitches to have a gash on his forehead, and one below his nose, sewn up. However, Sorensen practiced Friday and was said to be doing fine.
* Lineman Travis Tuiloma was out with a stomach virus.
* Jray Galea'i, Alex Kuresa and Ziggy Ansah were held out to take care of some academic issues.
* Mendenhall said when he announced Thursday's practice had been called off, players whooped and hollered for a good five minutes. It was one of the loudest celebrations he's heard. Jake Heaps reported that the celebration was so great that Hebron Fangupo accidentally broke a chair in the revelry.
Far as the trip to Provo Beach Resort goes, Di Luigi reported that WR/TE Marcus Mathews probably picked up the Flowrider (simulated surfing) faster than anyone else. He said Bronco "ate it" a few times because he's used to a different style of surfing (longboarding).
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