PROVO — With a 3-5 record and an offense that is ranked near the bottom in most national statistical categories, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall and his staff have had plenty to work on during the bye week.
Even in last Saturday's 25-20 win over Wyoming, the Cougars committed a slew of miscues. There were two turnovers, which led to 10 Cowboy points, plus eight penalties for minus-70 yards and more dropped passes.
"All the mistakes are pretty visible. We had way too many penalties, especially in critical situations," Mendenhall said. "Throwing and catching the football still needs to improve."
Also in need of improvement is BYU's passing game. The Cougars threw for a mere 81 yards against Wyoming.
Practices during the bye week have consisted of "a lot of fundamental work, a lot of competitive work against each other, a lot of throwing and catching the football. And a lot of execution-based things to try to get better at what we do."
The Cougars' next game is Nov. 6 against UNLV at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS: BYU redshirt freshman Cody Hoffman, the reigning Mountain West Conference special teams player of the week, has excelled in his new role as the Cougars' kickoff returner.
Hoffman replaced O'Neill Chambers, who was suspended for the rest of the season last week.
Last Saturday, Hoffman had four kickoff returns for 104 yards.
"He was decisive and ran the ball with a lot of confidence and hit the return where the openings were," Mendenhall said. "It was just fun to see. As a coach, it's always a great feeling just to see your players have success in whatever they're doing. I think that will propel Cody to having a more significant role down the stretch."
FUTURE SCHEDULES: BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe is still putting the finishing touches on the 2011 schedule, the first season BYU will compete as an independent. Here's a rundown on BYU's future games:
2011 — at Oregon State, at Texas, vs. Utah, vs. Utah State, vs. New Mexico State, at Hawaii, at Louisiana Tech, vs. Idaho. vs. San Jose State, vs. Central Florida.
2012 — vs. Oregon State, vs. Hawaii, at Utah, at Boise State, vs. Utah State, at New Mexico State, at Georgia Tech, at Notre Dame.
2013 — vs. Texas, at Hawaii, vs. Boise State, vs. Georgia Tech, at Notre Dame.
2014 — at Texas, at Boise State, at Central Florida, at Georgia Tech.
2015 — vs. Boise State.
2016 — vs. West Virginia (at Landover, Md.).
2017 — vs. Georgia Tech.