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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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Highlights from BYU AD Tom Holmoe's annual media roundtable

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe spent more than an hour with local reporters on Wednesday in his annual "State of BYU Sports" roundtable discussion -- about 56 minutes with all of us and then 14 or so more minutes in front of television cameras.

I plan on going in-depth on almost everything Holmoe said today, every question he answered, in the coming days in this blog space.

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Until then, here's a quick roundup of the highlights:

* The first question was about football coach Bronco Mendenhall's contract status, as expected. Mendenhall's current three-year deal expires at the end of the 2013 season. Holmoe said BYU has not offered the coach a new contract yet, but is working on one and hopes to have a deal reached "in the near future ... talks are ongoing." I asked Holmoe if he can see any plausible reason why a deal would not be reached, and he said he couldn't foresee one.

* The second topic broached was about new/former offensive coordinator Robert Anae, and the offensive coaching staff shakeup. Holmoe stressed that it was Mendenhall's call, not his, and that when he spoke in the middle of last season about the upcoming changes he was saying that there would be changes, not that he was demanding changes. He said he and Bronco talked about the situation as the season was unfolding and so he new Bronco had some changes in mind.

Regarding Anae, Holmoe said: "I liked him when he was here, I liked him when he left, and I like him now that he's back."

* Holmoe was asked if he believes Anae is being groomed as a future BYU head coach, and he mostly ducked the question, saying he is not really thinking that far ahead.

* BYU will play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 27 this season if it is bowl eligible or isn't invited to a BCS bowl game. Holmoe said discussions with bowls are underway for 2014 and beyond, but nothing has been set. He said some agreements might be reached in the next few months, and will be announced then.

"We are in talks, as most [schools and conferences] are," he said. "...We could do a couple [agreements] in the next couple of months."

* It is not a sitdown conversation with Holmoe without the future of the rivalry football game with Utah coming up. Holmoe said he continues to have conversations with Utah AD Chris Hill about continuing the rivalry uninterrupted after it goes on hiatus in 2014 and 2015 and said he is confident a deal can be reached.

"It is harder to do a series with them now [than it was before]," Holmoe cautioned. "The [reasons for not playing] that Chris [Hill] has said are reasonable ... but I believe that we will get it done."

* Holmoe said he has not heard a word from Notre Dame about scrapping the or altering the six-game deal BYU made with the Irish when it announced its football independence plans three years ago. However, after BYU plays for the second straight year in South Bend on Nov. 23, there will most likely be a gap of several years before the independents meet again.

Certainly, Holmoe said, Notre Dame will not be visiting BYU in 2014, as some have predicted.

"At this point, there is no issue" with Notre Dame wanting out after the Irish signed a deal with the ACC to play five ACC teams a year, he said.

* Holmoe acknowledged that a lot of schools are building basketball practice facilities right now and that BYU continues to explore that possibility. However, he added that "it is not something that has been approved" by BYU's administration or ownership.

* Holmoe said BYU would love to move its annual game against Utah State to November, when most rivalry games are played, but acknowledged that the current situation with the Mountain West Conference-bound Aggies -- playing the Friday before General Conference weekend in early October -- works well for both schools.

* The athletic director said he would be in favor of playing "an international football game" on foreign soil, but that he hasn't come across any other schools that are as equally excited about the prospects.

* Regarding BYU's future in the West Coast Conference for most sports other than football, Holmoe said the school is happy with its current position but always on the watch for potential developments. "I am not actively pursuing a conference spot [for football] now when the answer [previously] has been no," he said.

* Outside of football, Mendenhall said BYU has had no trouble scheduling rivalry contests against Utah. He expects the plan of alternating men's and women's basketball games with the Utes each year between SLC and Provo to continue well into the future. Utah has walked away from some instate basketball games, but hasn't given any sign that it wants to do the same with BYU.



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