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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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BYU bags Monday morning news conferences, so here's Bronco from Saturday's Big Blue Bash ... and more

A couple former BYU players were cut from their NFL teams over the weekend, as the Chicago Bears released Harvey Unga and the Philadelphia Eagles cut loose receiver McKay Jacobson.

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Last night, former BYU linebacker David Nixon made three tackles for the Carolina Panthers in their exhibition win over the New York Jets. Nixon almost picked off Tim Tebow, but dropped the ball, perhaps while taking a look upfield to see if he could take it back all the way. Would have been interesting to see a footrace between Tebow and Nixon to the end zone, but it wasn't to be.

Former BYU tackle Matt Reynolds also saw some action last night for the Panthers and is currently listed as the third-string right tackle.

Rosters will be cut to 80 players on Tuesday, then to the final 53 players on Friday, but Reynolds is looking like he might make the team after being picked up by Carolina as an undrafted free agent.

Couple of weeks ago, I asked BYU senior offensive lineman Braden Hansen about the disappointment of not seeing Reynolds get drafted, after his All-America career at BYU.

"I think we each have our own battles," Hansen said. "There is a negative lookout on linemen from BYU. Maybe they think we are not mean enough because we are LDS, or we are older because we served missions. Everybody is going to have that from BYU. But I do feel like I have the talent and ability, and I am going to work hard every day so I get that opportunity."

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I hope you didn't come looking here for a recap of coach Bronco Mendenhall's traditional Monday morning news conference. BYU has chosen not to do those anymore, replacing them instead with access to players and coaches after Monday night's practice. Before, there was no after-practice access on Mondays, with the news conference the only media availability on Mondays.

BYU SID Brett Pyne said it just became too difficult to get two or three players to come to the 10 a.m. media gathering, because that's a prime time for classes at BYU and most of the players were in class. True enough, last year it seemed like senior Jameson Frazier, who had just one class fall semester, made an appearance every week. And sometimes we got players who were third- or fourth-stringers.

In lieu of today's news conference, I invite you to watch Mendenhall speak to the Cougar Club of Salt Lake CIty at the annual Big Blue Bash on Saturday night. Here's the YouTube version of the eight-minute speech, courtesy of cougarcorner.com

I wouldn't exactly call him a heckler, but an elderly gentleman takes issue with Mendenhall just past the two-minute mark, yelling out "it is not in the afternoon anymore" when Bronco brought up the family atmosphere at BYU games in the afternoons and evenings. Kinda funny.

Couple more links:

* Here's my look at offensive coordinator Brandon Doman, and what's on his mind heading into his second season as the Cougars' OC.

* Stewart Mandel released his preseason bowl projections. He's got BYU playing Nevada in the Poinsettia Bowl. I'm on record saying the Cougars will face San Diego State in San Diego.

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Since I dug out the old interview with Braden Hansen, here's a bit more from the former Alta High star who figures to be the starter at left guard this season:

On why he flipped over from right guard to left guard:

"Just because of needs last year. Coach Weber wanted me to be next to Braden Brown. We had Matt Reynolds, who was already a solid left tackle. So for me to be on the right side with Brownie, that added a little more stability. And then Houston [Reynolds] was right next to Matt. It was a really good fit."

On whether left guard -- where he played his freshman and sophomore year -- is his best spot:

"That's where I played my freshman and sophomore year. I am really comfortable on either side. But I would almost prefer left side. But whereever coach Weber wants me to play, I am ready to play. I could play tackle, center, too. I have played all five."

On whether they are a tighter unit this year:

"Definitely. In season's past, in the summer, there were different times you could lift, and different people, different positions groups, would show up at different times.

This past summer, it was your position group meets at this time to work out. So the whole offensive line was there every morning at 7 a.m.

If you weren't there, everybody knew. So I feel like it brought us together and people knew if you weren't there. There was an urgency to be there every day. So it bonded the offensive line and brought us together, because we were grinding through that summer workout every day."



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