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BYU football notebook: Cougars staying positive despite rough outings

Published: Thursday, Sept. 27 2012 8:27 p.m. MDT

BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy is ranked 13th in the nation in sacks with 4.5 this season.   (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy is ranked 13th in the nation in sacks with 4.5 this season. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO — Despite two straight losses, BYU is not dwelling on the negative. The Cougars are looking to bounce back Friday against Hawaii.

"We definitely have to have a positive outlook on it," said wide receiver Cody Hoffman. "We've competed hard both games, we just haven't come out on top. We have some reason to be down, but we only have the future to look up to. Practices have been good. It's been up-tempo, and the offense has been worked hard."

Hoffman said he and his teammates realize they are just a couple of plays away from being undefeated. BYU lost two games by a total of four points.

"A game is determined by a matter of a couple of plays," he said. "That's all it is. We had our shots to win, we just couldn't capitalize on them."

More than anything, Hoffman said he is happy to be playing at LaVell Edwards Stadium again.

"I love playing at home in front of our crowd. It's always fun," he said. "I think it's just what we need, to get our feet under us and get a 'W.' "

BYU VS. HAWAII: BYU and Hawaii renewed their rivalry last season, a series that will see the Cougars and Warriors play almost every year through 2020.

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall likes that Hawaii is on future schedules.

"I like the intrigue by all the Polynesian players we have," he said. "It's fun for their families back home to see the games. It's fun when we go over there for them to see family members and just reconnect. It's one of those games that I like as an intriguing game."

BYU and Hawaii will meet again on Dec. 7, 2013, in Honolulu.

Overall, Mendenhall said the schedule the Cougars have set up as an independent is shaping up nicely.

"This schedule is turning out to be a really nice schedule if you look at the quality of teams that we're playing and how they're playing," he said. "I'm not sure there's been a tougher one since I've been coach. I like it."

VAN NOY HONORED: Linebacker Kyle Van Noy has been added to the Bednarik Watch List.

Van Noy was one of 12 players added to the list Thursday. He has helped the Cougars achieve the No. 7 ranking in the nation in total defense. Van Noy is ranked No. 10 and No. 13 in tackles for loss (7.5) and sacks (4.5), respectively.

The Chuck Bednarik Award is given annually to the nation's top defensive player.

NELSON IN PAIN: Riley Nelson's coaches and teammates say it's hard to watch the senior quarterback deal with a painful back injury.

"It's pretty easy to see it," said offensive coordinator Brandon Doman. "He's not the same guy right now that started the season. Now there's some hesitancy, and he's a little bit gun shy based on the injury."

"It's been real tough just looking at him, just knowing what he's going through," Hoffman said. "I can't imagine the pain. His heart is unbelievably strong, to be able to come out and compete and win with us."

Nelson, who admitted he was only 65 percent healthy against Boise State last week, isn't sorry he played against the Broncos, though he was responsible for four turnovers.

"No regrets. I played the best and hardest I could," he said. "I know I didn't play perfect and I made a lot of mistakes. I prepared as hard as I possibly could and I played as hard as I possibly could. That's why they pay coaches a lot of money because there are tough decisions to manage with personnel. I don't envy them."

email: jeffc@desnews.com

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