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BYU football: Cougars hoping to learn lessons from last bye week experience

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 30 2013 9:57 a.m. MDT

Brigham Young Cougars take the field during the NCAA football game in Logan  Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars take the field during the NCAA football game in Logan Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO — The last time BYU had a bye week, it was right after a dominating performance in a 40-21 thumping of Texas on Sept. 7.

Then, following the bye, the Cougars fell to Utah, 20-13, on Sept. 21. Prior to that loss, BYU had won eight consecutive games after a bye week under coach Bronco Mendenhall.

The Cougars are hoping to apply lessons they learned from that experience after the Texas win, and how they can better handle the bye week.

“People might have let up a little bit and got too relaxed and too comfortable,” said senior wide receiver Cody Hoffman. “We took that as a learning lesson and we’re going to get better this week.”

The Cougars (6-2) visit No. 24 Wisconsin (5-2) on Nov. 9. The Badgers are coming off a bye week and travel to Iowa this Saturday.

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) looks back as he runs for a touchdown during the first half as the BYU Cougars play Middle Tennessee State in NCAA football Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, in Provo.  
 (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) looks back as he runs for a touchdown during the first half as the BYU Cougars play Middle Tennessee State in NCAA football Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, in Provo. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

“We feel like we’re gaining momentum and we’re going to try not to have happen what happened the last time we had a bye week and that was start slow,” said senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy. “We want to come out fast.”

How can BYU capitalize better on the bye week?

“It’s practicing at a higher level,” Van Noy said. “It’s running extra sprints and paying extra attention to detail.”

Hoffman said he hopes his team, which has won five consecutive games, can pick up where it left off after last Friday’s 37-20 victory over Boise State.

“It’s a nice break for us,” Hoffman said. “But at the same time, we don’t want it to slow down the momentum we have right now.”

VAN NOY A BEDNARIK FINALIST: Maxwell Football Club President Ron Jaworski announced Tuesday that Van Noy is one of 16 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, emblematic of the outstanding defensive player of the year.

BYU's Cody Hoffman (2) celebrates his touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith) (Eric Christian Smith, AP) BYU's Cody Hoffman (2) celebrates his touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith) (Eric Christian Smith, AP)

Van Noy has also been named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and a quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy.

This season, Van Noy has recorded four sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hurries, six pass breakups, one fumble recovery and one interception for a touchdown this year — in addition to recording a safety among his 47 tackles.

Van Noy is the only FBS player the past two seasons to record a statistic in every major defensive category. He has also scored a school-record five defensive touchdowns.

Mendenhall is not surprised about all the national attention Van Noy is receiving. "I don't ever underestimate what Kyle can do," he said. "He's drawing a lot of attention by our opponents; I know that. ... He's really good, and so any accolades he gets, he deserves."

RIDLEY SUSPENSION CLARIFICATION: BYU senior wide receiver Skyler Ridley was not allowed to play in the first half of last Friday’s game against Boise State as a result of a targeting foul, on a block, during the Houston game that was not called.

Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall encourages his players  during NCAA football in Provo  Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.  Utah won 20-13.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall encourages his players during NCAA football in Provo Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Utah won 20-13. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Every play is reviewed after each game, and if a penalty is not called it is forwarded on to the College Football Officials Association. The CFOA ruled that Ridley’s block deserved a first-half suspension.

Mendenhall didn’t fight the ruling. “I saw the play and I thought it was targeting,” Mendenhall said, “so I didn’t appeal.”

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