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UConn works, but BYU coach really wanted to open against another East Coast-ish team
Their attention fully on UConn and the 2014 season opener on Friday at Rentschler Field in East Harfford (5 p.m. MDT, ESPN), the Cougars practiced early Monday morning and then met with reporters around 10 a.m. at the football offices lobby in the Student Athlete Building.
BYU released its two-deep chart at about the same time, and you can read more about that at sltrib.com when my report is posted later today.
Along with depth chart questions, coach Bronco Mendenhall fielded questions about the captains he announced at the Big Blue Bash on Saturday night, about making sure the opener doesn't repeat last year's opener, and what he knows about the Huskies and new coach Bob Diaco.<
Regarding last year's 19-16 loss to Virginia, Mendenhall said he hopes his players learned from it.
"To me, any loss has more value than a win," he said. "The lessons, man, they hurt, and they are applied usually faster. Always difficult to tell exactly where you are going into the opener. I was shocked that we didn't score more points last year in our opener based on how our offense had moved it against our defense.
I think I am more cautious than anything and maybe less accepting of exactly what I see and trying to predict what will that really look like. But the opener, there is always uncertainty. I think that is the takeaway. There is uncertainty in the opener. I didn't think there was a year ago, and there ended up being a lot."
Mendenhall said players are adjusting well to the early morning routine. Coaches arrived at 5:45 a.m. Monday morning, although some "younger coaches, more dedicated coaches" were here at 5 a.m. to do their individual workouts.
"Man, it feels like we have gotten a lot done in a short amount of time," Mendenhall said. "I think coaches are adjusting to being home earlier and I think wives are adjusting for them to be home earlier, which I think is good."
It was somewhat surprising that Mendenhall announced the captains on Saturday, and not through a BYU news release as he usually does. Heck, even the coach was surprised.
On why he announced it Saturday night:
"I did announce it Saturday night. I wasn't planning to, but since Craig [Bills] was there, I announced him, which kinda led to the announcing of the other captains."
They are Remington Peck, Taysom Hill and Paul Lasike.
"Paul has made a real rapid ascent in our program, from not knowing the rules to being named a captain. Remington has been a product of the program, has tried really hard.