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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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Some football scheduling news, and a spring camp update

More than half of BYU’s 2016 football schedule is now known, thanks to a story on the website FBSchedules.com about the future of the BYU-Southern Miss series that was first announced way back in 2011.

Originally, the contract called for the first game to be played in 2014 in Provo, and the second game to be played in 2015 in Hattiesburg, Miss.

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Last November, the schools announced that the 2014 game had been moved to a later date, but that the 2015 game at Southern Miss was still on. The website reported today that the game will be played on Nov. 19, 2016, in Provo.

FBSchedules.com obtained an addendum to the contract from USM that shows the 2016 date, along with a stipulation that a team must pay the other $1 million if it cancels a game.

Here are BYU’s 2015 and 2016 schedules, with 2015 having 11 games set and 2016 having seven games set.


Sept. 5 — at Nebraska

Sept. 12 — Boise State

Sept. 26 — at Michigan

Oct. 10 — East Carolina (date not officially announced by BYU)

Oct. 17 — at Southern Mississippi

Oct. 24 — Cincinnati

Oct. 31 — Connecticut

Nov. 7 — at San Jose State

Nov. 14 — at UNLV

Nov. 21 — Fresno State

Nov. 28 — at Utah State


Sept. 3 — vs. Arizona at Univ. of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

Sept. 10 — at Utah

Sept. 24 — vs. West Virginia at FedEx Field, Maryland

Oct. 15 — at Boise State

Nov. 12 — at Cininnati

Nov. 19 — Southern Miss

Nov 26 — Utah State


BYU is one-third of the way through its 2014 spring football camp, having gotten in practice No. 5 on Wednesday. Here’s my notebook from that session of practice, which focuses on how good the running game has looked.

Coach Bronco Mendenhall said the squad is making progress.

"We worked really hard [on Wednesday]," Mendenhall said. "Significant progress over a week ago. It looked a lot more like football today on both sides of the ball.

Special teams lacking, but that is because of emphasis in terms of being able to punt and catch punts, I would say today.

Field-goal kicking looked better. Pass protection looked better, with both sides competing really hard and playing hard. Some bumps and bruises starting to show up, which is normal. But I am really encouraged. I had fun today."

In the portion of practice viewed by the media, Jamaal Williams had a 70-yard touchdown run and backup Nate Carter had a 60-yard run.

"Jamaal looks great. He had a long run. Taysom had a long run. I mean, anytime the defense isn’t exactly right, and there’s a gap open, they are going to go the whole way, which happened twice today," Mendenhall said. "Nick Kurtz continues to improve at wideout, which I am really encouraged about. Paul Lasike, I love Alge Brown. Devin Mahina is starting to play well. So there’s a lot of good things happening."

The Cougars are trying to replace some excellent defensive linemen such as Eathyn Manumaleuna and Bronson Kaufusi (now a linebacker), and Mendenhall said returned missionaries Graham Rowley and Travis Tuiloma are two likely candidates to start, although both lost quite a bit of weight on their missions.

"Not only supplement the depth, but there’s a great chance they will both be starting," he said. "But they were great players before, and so they are not only going to push the depth, they could very well be at the top of the depth going into fall."

The only linebacker returning with much experience is Alani Fua, an outside ‘backer. Mendenhall said a lot of those spots are wide open.

"Well, both the young players that we are really counting on will be coming in this fall," he said, perhaps referring to Californians Tyler Cook (Murrieta) and Fred Warner (San Marcos). "So we like Bronson and Alani a ton at outside linebacker. We like Sae Tautu a lot. So we have three for two spots there. We feel great.

Inside ‘backer isn’t as clear at this point. Manoa Pikula has had a nice spring. Jherremya [Leuta-Douyere was moved] into the buck linebacker position, but [we are] looking for at least two more players there to emerge. We have some now — returned missionaries, and then we have others coming. So that one won’t be solidified until probably fall and going into game week."

Of course, one of the "new" linebackers is familiar with the program. Zac Stout is back at spring camp, after being dismissed from the program in November of 2012 for his role in an off-campus brawl.

"He’s battling hard. He’s not where he was to where he left, yet, to this point," Mendenhall said. "But that’s to be expected. But we need him to be able to play. So hopefully he could be either one, two or three in terms of depth. But we are still a ways away, but he is trying hard."

Mendenhall called Stout’s return "the best part of BYU football, to see those that have learned, and then come back and tried to improve their life."

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