BYU football: Cougars will consider more 'Week Zero' games in the future, Holmoe says

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Austin Kafentzis runs with the ball during a scrimmage at Lavell Edwards Stadium.

Provo • BYU and Portland State will clash Saturday in the first meeting between the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) independent Cougars and the lower-level Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Vikings. The game ties for the third-earliest start to a season for BYU and the earliest ever for Portland State.

It wasn’t originally scheduled to be played Aug. 26, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe told an Education Week audience Wednesday. Holmoe said BYU asked Portland State last December to move the game from the middle of the season to the opener, and the Vikings agreed.

The Cougars wanted to make the change because they are scheduled to play at Hawaii on Nov. 25, and the NCAA allows teams to play a 13th game in that season when they travel to Hawaii.

Holmoe said you want to play a “Week Zero” game if you have 13 games so you can get a bye later in the season. Does this mean BYU will try to get Hawaii on the schedule as much as possible to get more of these “Week Zero” games?

“It is something to consider,” Holmoe said.

Vikings not afraid

The Vikings said at the Big Sky Football Kickoff in Park City in July that they respected BYU but wouldn’t be intimidated by the bigger-division Cougars.

Portland State understands “they’re college athletes just like we are,” said Josh Kraght, who recently lost the QB derby but also plays receiver. “They lift weights just like we do. They eat breakfast just like we do. The intimidation factor definitely is limited.”

Said PSU coach Bruce Barnum: “They’re better than us. I’m not stupid. I’m not naive. So lightning has to strike the right way” for Portland State to win.

Limited offensive shuffling

Other than offensive lineman JJ Nwigwe getting some reps at tight end and Austin Kafentzis moving from quarterback to receiver then running back, shuffling of offensive players in camp was kept to a minimum, offensive coordinator Ty Detmer said.

Nwigwe will have two jerseys with different numbers on them at his disposal Saturday “just in case,” Detmer said.

Detmer said Kafentzis and linebacker Morgan Unga have been playing some quarterback on the scout team to give the defense a different look, but the primary scout team quarterback is freshman Kody Wilstead.


ESPN announced the broadcast crew for the 2017 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff featuring BYU and LSU will be Bob Wischusen and Brock Huard in the booth with Allison Williams as the sideline reporter. … BYU announced that the alumni flag carriers Saturday will be former offensive lineman Tim Hanshaw, former quarterback Charlie Peterson and former receiver Eric Drage. … Defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki said freshman defensive linemen Keanu Saleapaga and Alden Tofa likely will redshirt this season.

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