BYU football: Chris Badger says he has no Notre Dame secrets to share
Provo • Although they have insisted all week that this is a business trip and sightseeing will be kept to a minimum, the BYU Cougars will have a tour guide when they play at Notre Dame on Saturday (1:30 p.m. MST, NBC) in South Bend, Ind.
Chris Badger, who transferred from Notre Dame over the summer after playing on the Irish's scout team in 2012, said he will be happy to take on that role. Just don't ask Badger for any inside information on the Irish football team because he says he doesn't really have any.
"To be 100 percent honest, there is not much I can tell them that is not on the film," Badger said Monday, noting that coaches haven't sought any information from him. "When you watch the film of BYU playing them last year [in a 17-14 ND win], it is all there. ... I am not saying that I am not a smart football player, but there is really not much insight that I have."
It is an unusual situation a player returning to face his former team this quickly because the NCAA granted Badger a transfer waiver to be immediately eligible at BYU due to an undisclosed family issue that requires the redshirt freshman to live at home in Provo.
Asked about the potential of Badger relaying Notre Dame strategy or cracking signals Saturday, Irish coach Brian Kelly said he's not worried about it.
"The signaling system is fairly complicated," Kelly said. "You would have to dissect those, then you would have to get them back out to the offense. ... I guess the short answer would be we've taken measures and we're not concerned about it."
Badger has acknowledged he was buried on the depth chart at Notre Dame upon returning from an LDS Church mission to Ecuador, which, coupled with the family situation, hastened his departure. Kelly said Notre Dame's defense changed from the one to which Badger was recruited.
Previous coaches "were looking for more of a middle-of-the-field safety who could run the alley," Kelly said. "We are a two-deep safety team. We like to play off the hash a lot more. So I think that there was probably a better fit [for Badger] from that standpoint because that's how they play [at] BYU."
Coach Bronco Mendenhall said Badger has been a perfect fit at BYU.
"He had committed here originally, then committed to Stanford, then ended up at Notre Dame. But it is funny how those things work out," Mendenhall said. "He's having a great experience here, and we are having a great experience with him. He has fit right in, and it seems like he has been here the whole time."
LSU in BYU's future?
Mendenhall hinted on his weekly radio show Tuesday night that the Cougars might have a future scheduling agreement with LSU, although he didn't say whether that would be just one game, a home-and-home deal or a two-for-one.
The Cougars still have two openings on their 2015 schedule, as does LSU.
"Nebraska on the schedule  in the future, Michigan is on the schedule  in the future. LSU possibly on the schedule in the future. So yeah, we are going to travel to as many places as we can to play the best teams we can," Mendenhall said.
In the same discussion on KSL News Radio, Mendenhall repeated his desire to play a military academy every year and also said, "I would love to have a long-term agreement with Boston College."
Notre Dame will be the first, and only, independent football team the Cougars face this season. The Irish defeated independent Navy 38-34 on Nov. 2. So is Saturday's game the independence championship? At least one Cougar thinks so.
"We don't really have a conference, but Notre Dame beat the independent team it played, so if you want to call it our conference championship, that is something that will motivate us a little bit to step up and play," BYU receiver and captain Skyler Ridley said. "I wouldn't say it is a must-win for our program, but I think we want this one really badly. I think it would hurt to lose this one, at this point. Our mindset is that we really want this one."
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill ranks No. 2 in the nation in rushing plays of at least 10 yards (44) and is tied for No. 8 nationally in plays covering at least 40 yards (four). ... BYU scored 16, 13 and 17 points in its three losses this season and is 9-24 under Mendenhall when it scores 24 points or fewer.
BYU at Notre Dame, 1:30 p.m. MST
TV • NBC