Lots of BYU football coverage for you in today's Tribune as fall camp nears the finish line. The Cougars will practice this morning at the outdoor practice facility (there's no media access) and then wrap up camp on Wednesday with a scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Game week begins Thursday as the Cougars turn their attention to Virginia and the opener on Aug. 31 in Charlottesville (1:30 p.m. MDT, ESPNU).
What kind of season is the much-maligned Ross Apo going to have this year? That's the topic of this article, with Apo saying he's ready for some redemption after a disappointing 2012 campaign. He caught just one touchdown pass last year.
My BYU football notebook, which can be found online only, recaps yesterday's practice and is topped by offensive coordinator Robert Anae's confirmation that he will call plays from the sidelines this year, and not the press box.
Finally, be sure to check out Tribune columnist Kurt Kragthorpe's piece on Taysom Hill and the hit from USU's Bryan Suite that ended Hill's season, with quotes from both players on the fateful play.
In the article on Apo, I quoted fellow receiver JD Falslev and receiving coach Guy Holliday rather extensively. But I also talked to several other teammates about Apo's transformation in the offseason, including perhaps his best friend on the team, Cody Hoffman.
"I don't know where it has come from," Hoffman said of Apo's turnaround. "He is playing amazing right now, and we've been looking for it for awhile, since high school. We knew he had the potential to make big plays, like he is now. I feel like it has taken a big relief off me, and the offense as a whole, just because we can both make plays and put more stress on the defense."
Taysom Hill said he met with Apo anywhere between three and five times a week in the offseason to work on their timing and chemistry.
"I think my timing with the receivers is the best that it has ever been. Cody wasn't there for spring, but we had a lot of time this offseason where we worked together. Mitch Mathews was out there, same with Skyler. And Ross, I threw with him three, four, five times a week, and our timing was there," Hill said. "Ross has worked really, really hard. He is doing everything he can to get better, become a more complete receiver. Ross is going to have a big year."
Hill should know about Apo's transformation, because the two were lifting partners.
"I expect him to go out and make plays," Hill said. "Ross was my lifting partner for the last two or three months, and that is the hardest I have seen Ross work. Granted, last season he had a shoulder injury, so he wasn't able to work out as much as he did this year. He is in great shape. He is going up, fighting for balls, and you will continue to see Ross do that."
Apo said that it wasn't easy to keep his head up and his attitude positive after last year's injuries and failures.
"Honestly, it was tough. There were times when I didn't have confidence in myself, and I wasn't ready. But this year is a whole different story," he said.
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