BYU football: Cougars could get center Braden Hansen back for San Jose State
Provo • Personnel news has not been all that positive for the BYU Cougars the past few weeks, what with starting safety Joe Sampson permanently kicked off the football team and starting field corner Jordan Johnson suspended for last week's 52-13 win over Idaho.
That changed Wednesday, however, as coach Bronco Mendenhall said after practice that senior offensive lineman Braden Hansen, a center, might be able to play on Saturday when the Cougars play at San Jose State (8:30 p.m., ESPN2).
Hansen practiced Wednesday for the first time since aggravating a groin tear almost four weeks ago against Notre Dame.
Mendenhall said backup offensive lineman Brock Stringham and backup inside linebackers Manoa Pikula and Uani Unga also practiced and will be available at Spartan Stadium, if needed.
Johnson, a defender who has declined interview requests this week, "is doing great," Mendenhall said. "He is practicing really hard, and I can't say it is not like it didn't happen. But man, so much happens in my day, and his day, it seems like a long time ago already."
Other than saying Johnson violated team rules, Mendenhall won't say why the sophomore from Springfield, Mass., was suspended. However, surveillance video from the Halloween night brawl involving Sampson and reserve linebacker Zac Stout shows Johnson was at the scene as well.
Neither of the two videos made public shows Johnson doing anything but trying to break up fights.
On Wednesday, Sgt. Brandon Post of the Provo Police Department said the investigation into the 3 a.m. ruckus on Nov. 1 has been completed and the case has been turned over to the City Attorney's Office to determine whether charges will be filed.
Post declined further comment, other than to acknowledge that police found the surveillance tapes "absolutely helpful" in their investigation.
Playing in California
Most schools seek to play games in California, as the Cougars will do this week, because the state is a fertile recruiting area. But Mendenhall said that's not essential for BYU, which recruits all over the country due to its church affiliation.
"It is fun for the kids who are from Northern Cal, or Southern Cal, etc., to be able to go home and have family there," he said. "But with the TV exposure we are getting now, I wouldn't say it is essential."
BYU is 2-2 in games in California under Mendenhall, having lost to San Diego State and UCLA and defeated SDSU twice.
BYU punter Riley Stephenson is one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation's top punter. The St. George native is No. 4 in the nation, averaging 46.7 yards per punt.
BYU at San Jose State
P Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
TV • ESPN2
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