BYU notebook: BYU-WSU game will be a high school reunion of sorts

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 4 2012 11:15 p.m. MDT

PROVO — Weber State's visit this weekend to LaVell Edwards Stadium to face BYU will be a high school reunion of sorts for a few players.

Cougar running back Michael Alisa played with a couple of Wildcats at Timpview High, including fullback Tevia Tolutau, who, like Alisa, wears No. 42.

"I won't be playing against him, but I'll definitely see him," Alisa said. "It will be fun to see those guys and play against them. I'm looking forward to having a nice little game against them. I know they're going to bring it as hard as they can. It's going to be a good game."

BYU tight end Kaneakua Friel will be reunited with his old quarterback from Kamehameha High, senior Mike Hoke.

"I've got to have a good game and show him what's up," Friel joked, adding that he hasn't talked to Hoke since high school. "We were good friends then, and hopefully when we see each other on the field, it will be a nice reunion."

Hoke completed 25-of-32 passes for 202 yards, one touchdown and one interception in Weber State's season-opening loss at Fresno State.

"I really like their quarterback," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said of Hoke. "He's gritty and tough and he's a good scrambler. They have quarterback runs in their system. I like him."

NELSON'S LEADERSHIP: After BYU's 30-6 win over Washington State last Thursday, WSU coach Mike Leach said BYU quarterback Riley Nelson "killed us with his leadership."

When told that this week, Mendenhall replied, "That's a really, really perceptive comment. In fact, at halftime, I went to Riley and just said, 'I love your leadership.' It just comes out of him, like dripping out of him. He's just a special, special young man."

"UNIQUE WEEK": The Cougars played Thursday, then had some time off with a long weekend before they face Weber State this weekend.

Said Mendenhall, "How well they practice this week will determine how mature they are. To have a nice win and a couple of days off all at the same time at the beginning of the year, I hope they take it right in terms of using it for recovery and then using it to refocus. I don't see any signs that it would be the other way, but it's kind of a unique challenge early on."

PLAYING ABROAD?: Over the weekend, Notre Dame and Navy played a game in Dublin, Ireland. Would Mendenhall be in favor of BYU playing overseas at some point?

"Maybe if it were the last game of the year or for a bowl game," he said. "The thought of starting the year with a trip like that, and then having to play your season, if there was a bye after that, maybe. You'd have to look hard at what you had before that game and what you had after it."

When asked if he'd be interested in playing in New Zealand — a place Mendenhall enjoys visiting (he spent time there this past spring) — his eyes lit up a little bit.

"Once you say New Zealand, then you get my attention," he said. "Other places, I'm not so sure."

Email: jeffc@desnews.com

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