PROVO — BYU didn't stage a spring game this year because the school was in the process of installing new grass at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
For that reason, and because the Cougars are set to hold their first scrimmage of fall camp there today, players and coaches are eager to step onto that field for the first time since last November's 41-12 rout of San Diego State.
"I'm looking forward to it. We all are," said quarterback Max Hall. "Especially to just go into the stadium, go onto the new field and experience that. We didn't get to go over there during the spring or anything so we'll be excited to get back in there."
Coach Bronco Mendenhall said the plan is to have a 70-play scrimmage to examine strengths and weaknesses, look at the backup quarterback situation and the cornerback battle.
"My hope is (today's scrimmage) can be the longest and more substantial scrimmage of camp, the idea being the further away from the game the more volume, in case we get somebody hurt, we give them a chance to recover," Mendenhall said.
On Thursday night, Mendenhall invited legendary coach LaVell Edwards to address the newcomers at the stadium. "(Edwards) gave them what our expectations are over there. It was a nice evening for the newcomers," Mendenhall said. "This will be their first chance to experience what that's like."
The Cougars haven't lost a home game since the start of the 2006 season and are riding an 18-game home winning streak.
FIRST LOOK: Since there was no spring game this year, BYU fans were eager to get their first glimpse of the 2009 Cougars. More than 1,100 fans showed up during Friday morning's open session of practice.
The crowd clapped when the team walked onto the practice field and did the same a little later, when Edwards strolled by with his wife, Patti.
Fans were treated to some impressive catches by wide receiver McKay Jacobson, including a 44-yard touchdown pass from Hall.
"It's good to see all the support we have," Jacobson said of the fan turnout.10 comments on this story
PRAISE FOR WALK-ON: Mendenhall was asked Friday about walk-on receiver/kick returner J.D. Falslev, a freshman from Sky View High in Smithfield. The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder reminds some of former Cougar Nate Meikle.
"If you had to compare him, that would be a good comparison," Mendenhall said. "He's an excellent return guy. He was within a whisker of a scholarship. We just love him. He does everything and he does it really well. He's just not very big. I wouldn't be surprised if he plays this year."