BYU football notebook: Cougars busily preparing to face Notre Dame
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
PROVO — Typically, BYU players and coaches spend a significant amount of time on Mondays reviewing the performance of the previous game.
But this week, after a 59-13 trouncing of Idaho State last Saturday, the Cougars were hip-deep in preparation for Notre Dame.
“I’m glad we could play as many (players) as we did against Idaho State,” said coach Bronco Mendenhall. “That one’s in the rearview mirror and our focus now is on Notre Dame. We spent very little time at the past game. We’re just looking forward to going to South Bend and playing Notre Dame and looking forward to playing well.”
Meanwhile, BYU has been decimated by injuries in recent weeks.
It appears senior linebacker Spencer Hadley (knee) and tight end Devin Mahina (abductor) won’t play Saturday.
“Spencer is probably a ways off,” Mendenhall said.
BYU trainer Jeff Hurst confirmed that Hadley is out for this weekend, adding that Hadley is “progressing and his range of motion is improving. This week is probably not in the cards for him.”
While wide receiver/kickoff return man JD Falslev (fractured hand) was scheduled to be out three to four weeks, he has been working hard to return for the Notre Dame game.
“JD practiced (Monday) and caught some punts,” Hurst said. “He caught the ball a little bit. He’s in a protective brace. It’ll probably be a game-time decision. He’s improving and things are moving along well.”
Tight end Kaneakua Friel (hamstring) is possible for this weekend, while tight end Brett Thompson (quad strain) is also improving. Mahina and wide receiver Eric Thornton (soft tissue injury) are likely out for the year.
REDSHIRTS NO MORE: In the second half of the Idaho State game, Mendenhall emptied his bench. Quarterbacks Christian Stewart and Billy Green, who hadn’t seen action this season, played late in the contest.
Because they played, it ended any possibility of them redshirting. Mendenhall's philosophy about redshirting players has changed in recent years.
“It’s been moving this way for quite some time, especially with the way missions work here at the institution,” Mendenhall said. “What I’m finding from NFL personnel is actually with the older players at a lot of positions, it’s hurting their stock, not raising their stock. We’re going to try to play as many as we can. I think it benefits our players and it benefits our program.”
Mendenhall added that offensive linemen are the most likely to redshirt.
BACK TO RECEIVER? Freshman Michael Davis was switched from wide receiver to cornerback during fall camp to compensate for a void at that position.
Now that the year is coming to a close, the void is now at receiver, what with Mitch Mathews out for the season and Falslev sidelined with a fractured hand.
Mendenhall said that Davis “possibly” could go back to playing on offense again.
“Based on our needs at receiver and based on how our class in the secondary finishes up, that could happen,” Mendenhall added. “He’d be good there. We really like what Michael’s doing and he’s improved a tremendous amount.”
INDEPENDENT PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: A pair of Cougars, running back Jamaal Williams and placekicker Justin Sorensen, were named the independent offensive and special teams players of the week. Navy linebacker Cody Peterson earned the defensive player of the week award.
Williams rushed 13 times for 131 yards and three touchdowns in two quarters. His 70-yard TD run was the longest of his career.
Sorensen kicked one field goal and drilled all eight of his PAT attempts. He also had five touchbacks on 10 kickoffs. He is 16 for 19 on field goals and 39 for 39 on PATs this season.
Peterson had eight tackles in the Midshipmen’s win over South Alabama.
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