Tom Smart, Deseret News
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — As BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy opens his senior season against Virginia Saturday, he has plenty of preseason accolades on his résumé.
Van Noy has been named to numerous preseason All-American teams, including Sports Illustrated’s.
“It’s great for the program, and it’s great for Kyle. It’s well-deserved and well-earned,” said coach Bronco Mendenhall. “He’s earned, through his play, the accolades that he’s getting. It’s great for our program and it’s great for him. I’m lucky he’s here Kyle can play with anyone in the country at any position in any league.”
Van Noy isn’t caught up in all the preseason hype.
“I’m just happy that I have the opportunity to have people recognize me, and not only recognize me but our team’s successes,” he said. “I wouldn’t be where I’m at without the other players around me, doing their job. I wouldn’t say it’s my first-team All-America award, but the team collectively. I wouldn’t be able to get any of those without them.”
Has Van Noy exceeded Mendenhall’s expectations?
“No, I would say he’s yet to meet my expectations,” Mendenhall said. “Kyle still has plenty of room to grow. That’s our relationship. My job is to help him reach his potential. I don’t think he’s there yet. Even though he’s getting all of these honors and the recognition he’s receiving, there’s a lot more that he can do. I think he wants to. So we’re anxious to have a common point of reference and be unified in getting more out of him than we have before.”
EYES ON HOFFMAN: Virginia is wary of BYU senior wide receiver Cody Hoffman, who caught 100 passes for 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
Hoffman will be matched up against veteran cornerback Tra’ Nicholson.
“Hoffman is another talented player, and obviously we think Tra’ is talented as well,” said Cavalier coach Mike London. “But sometimes you just may look up and look at a matchup that you want to create and throw the ball out that way. We're still going to do what we do. If the quarterback has a lot of time to throw it to him, then that's an issue with guys up front. It's a collaborative effort, and trust me, we'll make sure that we know where that 6'5" plus guy is at all times.”
THE SERIES: Saturday marks the first meeting between BYU and Virginia since Sept. 2, 2000, which was legendary coach LaVell Edwards’ final season at the helm.
In that game, also played in Charlottesville, the Cougars rallied from a 21-0 halftime deficit to win in overtime, 38-35. Quarterback Bret Engemann passed for 447 yards and Brian McDonald rushed for 86 yards and three touchdowns.
The Cavaliers won the other two meetings — 45-40 in Provo in 1999; and 22-16 in the 1987 All-American Bowl.
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