PROVO — Nine of the 17 players on BYU's roster are freshmen this season, and coach Dave Rose is looking to use several of them as regular contributors. Which of the nine will rise to become such remains to be seen.
The process began in earnest this past weekend against Midwestern State. Leading the way among the freshmen were guards Damarcus Harrison and Anson Winder, who each contributed eight points with 19 and 10 minutes logged, respectively. The other seven freshmen saw scant production logging few minutes in the contest.
The freshmen auditions will continue against Dixie State on Friday.
"What's really important is that a couple of these freshmen actually step up because we really need them," said Rose. "We need a couple of these freshmen to rise up and to mind their spots and really help this team. I feel comfortable with the (freshmen) group, but right now I don't feel comfortable with who those guys are going to be, we're just going to play through and see how it works out."
CHANGE OF PACE WELCOMED: Midwestern State's up-tempo style was very much as Rose expected last weekend, but he expects something quite different this Friday.
In last Friday's game, BYU rarely, if ever, found itself having to defend for longer than 15 seconds. Against Dixie State, they'll get a chance to defend for much longer than that during almost every possession.
"Dixie will kind of try to grind it out," he said. "They're a really good offensive team — they screen hard, so it should be a good look for us."
Rose and the rest of the coaches feel that facing two contrasting styles of offense will work as good preparation for their game against Utah State on Nov. 11.
TIES TO DIXIE: Rose has many connections to the Dixie programs, having played there for two years before serving there as a coach for another 10 years. The Cougar head coach is grateful for his Dixie experience in both capacities.
"I'm really excited to be able to rub shoulder with those people," he said. "They've played such a huge part in my family, my history. My wife and I met as students at Dixie. The support of the school and of the community will always be a huge part of what we feel has been our career."
There also exists some ties with the current coaching staff, specifically with head coach Jon Judkins, who is the brother of BYU women's basketball coach Jeff Judkins. While Rose was coaching at Dixie, Jon Judkins was coaching at Snow College.
"We had some great battles and he's a great coach," said Rose. "I'm looking forward to a competitive game."
The Cougars will tipoff against Dixie on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Marriot Center.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BrandonCGurney