PROVO — Amid a turbulent week for BYU as it looks at its options — either going independent or remaining in the Mountain West Conference — the Cougars can cling to some very good news.
On Friday, BYU and Texas announced the two schools have agreed to a home-and-home football series. The Longhorns will play at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo in 2013 and BYU will play at Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas, in 2014.
"We are excited to announce this series with Texas," said BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe. "We are always looking for opportunities to schedule storied football programs like the Longhorns. I'm really excited for our coaches, our players and the rest of Cougar Nation to have Texas visit LaVell Edwards Stadium."
BYU and Texas are already scheduled to play next season — on Sept. 10, 2011 — in Austin.
BYU is 2-0 all-time against Texas, beating the Longhorns in 1987 and 1988. The Cougars and Longhorns are two of only five programs in the country to win 10 or more games in each of the past four seasons.
"I'm excited about it," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said of the Texas series. "The way that started, we had a one-game opening, so we ended up agreeing to play Texas (in 2011). My hope was it would be at a neutral site, similar to what we had with Oklahoma (last year) or relatively neutral. It ended up being on their home field.
"After thinking about it, the idea of home-and-home came after that. From the outside, it could look like a 2-for-1, and in reality, that's what it ends up being. But it wasn't presented nor agreed to under that context. I'm still OK with it. I'm glad to play them.
"If you can play enough high-profile games against very, very good teams, it's a great measure for your program, as ours was against Oklahoma last year," Mendenhall said. "You find out where your team is and what you need to do to break into that elite level, and it generates a lot of interest and enthusiasm in your program. I'm excited about it."
INJURY SCARE: Late during BYU's Friday morning practice, starting safety Andrew Rich dropped to the ground and was attended to by trainers for several moments. Initially, it appeared serious. But team trainer Kevin Morris told reporters later that Rich had suffered a bruised forearm, as the result of a lineman landing on him. Rich should be OK.
"It's scary," Mendenhall said of the injury. "If you were to say where could we not afford to take a loss, Andrew Rich's position would be one that is as impactful as any.
"Right next after that, it would be (nose tackle) Romney Fuga. If you're talking about seasoned, experienced players that consistently do what they're supposed to do, we need enough of those guys with all of the youth sprinkled around them so you know at least a couple of parts will do the right thing."
SCRIMMAGE: Today's scrimmage could be the Cougars' final of fall camp, depending on how it goes, according to Mendenhall.
"It's an important scrimmage," the coach said. "We potentially could have one more (scrimmage) midweek next week based on what I see."
Coaches are still evaluating some of the position battles, including the ones at quarterback, tight end and linebacker.