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BYU football: Cougars expect to be fully healthy for Wisconsin game

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 5:35 a.m. MDT

Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) is tackled by Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Daniel Sorensen (9) and Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Spencer Hadley (2) during a game at Lavell Edwards Stadium on Friday, October 25, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) is tackled by Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Daniel Sorensen (9) and Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Spencer Hadley (2) during a game at Lavell Edwards Stadium on Friday, October 25, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

PROVO — A few times this season, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall has stood helplessly as he watched players fall down to the ground with an injury, unable to move due to a concussion.

It happened with running back Jamaal Williams during the Utah game, and again with Adam Hine against Middle Tennessee. Then last Friday, safety Daniel Sorensen suffered the same injury during the Cougars’ victory over Boise State.

“After watching Daniel on the sideline, it’s scary,” Mendenhall recalled Monday. “Those two (injuries to Williams and Sorensen) were similar. Just the reaction, or lack of reaction, of those players when they are on the field, man, you just hope they wake up. Then when they wake up, they can move. I was worried for all my guys, but those two seemed a little more severe on the field.”

The good news is that Sorensen is expected to play Nov. 9 at Wisconsin. BYU’s bye week will give him, as well as defensive back Mike Hague, who also sustained a concussion last Friday, time to heal up.

“Everybody looks good for the game,” Mendenhall said. “Those that had concussions are improved from game day until now. If we were playing this upcoming Saturday, it would be touch-and-go. But being the next Saturday, there’s no risk.”

Mendenhall said tight end Brett Thompson “took a ball to the eye and had a damaged retina” before the Boise State game and did not play.

TAKING A BYE: While Mendenhall didn’t enjoy the timing of the first bye of the season, in between the Texas and Utah games, he does like the timing of this bye week.

“I think our team is improving and I think they’re more optimistic than ever,” Mendenhall said. “The bye week comes at a really good time to heal. It’s nice to get a few extra days looking at Wisconsin. We’re looking forward to a big game in Madison, on a big stage in front of a lot of people. I think our team is looking forward to it. I like where the bye has come and I think it’s setting up nicely for our stretch run of the next four games, but more importantly, our next game.”

Mendenhall said the main focus of this week will be getting his players healthy, as well as spending a couple of days preparing for Wisconsin.

WISCONSIN KICKOFF TIME: ESPN announced Monday that the BYU-Wisconsin game on Nov. 9 at Camp Randall Stadium will kick off at 1:30 p.m. MST on either ABC or ESPN.

The other game that will be shown on either ABC or ESPN will be the Nebraska-Michigan contest.

VAN NOY, BUTKUS SEMIFINALIST: BYU senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy was named one of 12 semifinalists for the 2013 Butkus Award.

The finalists will be announced on Nov. 26 and the winner will be named on Dec. 7. The final 12 were selected from a pool of 52 on July 15.

Others on the Butkus list are Utah’s Trevor Reilly, UCLA’s Anthony Barr, LSU’s Lamin Barrow, Wisconsin’s Chris Borland, Cal’s Khairi Fortt, Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, Alabama’s C.J. Mosley, Miami’s Denzel Perryman, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier, Stanford’s Shayne Skov and UConn’s Yawin Smallwood.

INDY PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, BYU linebacker Uani Unga and Navy placekicker Nick Sloan have been named FBS Independent Players of the Week.

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