Cougars will conduct open scrimmage Saturday at Edwards Stadium
Provo • The last time BYU's football team took part in a scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium, new offensive coordinator Robert Anae's offense concluded spring camp with a favorable showing against a defense that was missing many of its key parts.
The Cougars will hold their first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday (10 a.m., free admission) at LES, and it should be a more fair fight, although coach Bronco Mendenhall won't say publicly how many projected starters will participate.
"I think we will decide that as we go, scrimmage by scrimmage, practice by practice, and coach by coach," he said earlier this week. "So [we will be] careful to judge the outcome because of who we are actually focusing on to see play that day. It is more personnel-oriented right now."
Certainly, the quarterbacks will wear the green jerseys, a signal that they cannot be hit or tackled. They weren't on in the spring game, when sophomore backup Ammon Olsen suffered a minor knee injury.
"That was a great time to do it, in the spring, because if anything happens, you still have summer. But too close to actual game time now to be doing that, even though we have a while to be doing that in camp. That position needs to be protected."
Mendenhall said coaches will mostly focus on talent evaluation at the scrimmage.
They need to find "a gauge of where each player is, and where the scheme development is. Once we step back and let them play, that will let us know how deep the roots are."
Play and formation "insertions are far from being over," he continued. "But at least we can get some talent evaluations and get some depth established, and then some scheme evaluation."
Media members were not allowed to view BYU's two practices Friday, but earlier in the week sophomore running back Jamaal Williams said players were eager for the scrimmage Saturday.
"Oh, I am looking forward to it. It is going to be a good one," he said. " I think it is just a good chance for us to see what we got right now. We got a few more weeks until Virginia, and it will show us where we are right now and what we have to improve.
Van Noy an SI.com All-American
BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy was named to the Sports Illustrated Preseason All-America First Team on Thursday. He also made the Phil Steele preseason All-America first team.
"Maybe I will be able to ponder it and think about the real significance of it after the year," Mendenhall said. "But he has earned through his play the accolades he is getting.
"It is great for our program, and it is great for him, and I am lucky he is here....Kyle can play with anyone in the country, at any position, in any league."
Ridley on the rise
Mendenhall said Thursday that his team has more quality receivers right now than any other time in his nine-year tenure. One of those standouts is senior Skyler Ridley, a one-time walk-on who recently was awarded a scholarship.
"We're deeper than we've ever been with good players at that position," Mendenhall said.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of camp through a week is 6-foot-6 sophomore Mitch Mathews. He is the younger brother of one-time starter Marcus Mathews, a former tight end who has sort of been the forgotten man at camp so far.
"I feel pretty comfortable with that position right now," Mendenhall said, noting that Ross Apo, Cody Hoffman, Eric Thornton and JD Falslev have shown well through one week of camp.
BYU received a commitment from linebacker Tyler Cook of Vista Murrieta High in Murrieta, Calif. on Thursday. He chose the Cougars despite getting offers from 15 other major programs. "I have the opportunity to play early as a true freshman and be a beacon to the world through excellence in football," Cook told the Long Beach Press-Enterprise.
If you go
O BYU Football scrimmage
At LaVell Edwards Stadium
Saturday, 10 a.m.
Admission • Free