With its season-opener just three weeks away, BYU began its fall football practice Thursday afternoon in Provo. Two-a-day practices began today and will run two weeks.

BYU welcomed back 13 returning full-time starters and three part-time starters from last year's 9-4 team, which finished second in the Western Athletic Conference for the second consecutive year.The Cougars will open their season on Sept. 1 against defending WAC champion Wyoming in Laramie. That game will be followed by five home games, the first two against the University of Texas and Texas-El Paso, respectively.

"If we get past the first three games, we can do it," said quarterback Sean Covey. "That would give us a lot of momentum."

The rest of BYU's non-conference schedule consists of Utah State, TCU and Miami.

Covey is one of eight returning starters from the offense. "That's where it's most important to have your experience," said the junior quarterback from Provo.

Other returning starters are wide receiver Chuck Cutler, tight end Darren Handley, tackle Brian White, fullback Fred Whittingham, halfback Matt Bellini, defensive tackle Craig Patterson, linebacker Bob Davis, and defensive backs Rodney Rice, Scott Peterson and Troy Long.