With its season-opener eight days away, BYU ended two-a-day practice sessions with a controlled scrimmage under the lights Wednesday night in Cougar Stadium.
"We wanted to give ourselves at least one chance to get a feel for playing under the lights," said BYU Coach LaVell Edwards.The Cougars play Wyoming next Thursday night in Laramie in a game that will match last year's top two finishers in the Western Athletic Conference. Wyoming handed BYU its only conference loss last year, winning 29-27 in Provo, and went on to win the league championship. Thursday's rematch will be televised by ESPN.
"I feel very good about two-a-days," said Edwards. "We're still relatively healthy. The people we began practice with will all be ready for Wyoming, and that's a welcome change compared to last year."
Edwards has been especially pleased with the practice performances of tackle John Hunter, fullback Fred Whittingham, quarterback Sean Covey, defensive backs Rodney Rice and Troy Long and linebacker Chad Robinson.
"All the guys we counted on have come back and played well, and that will be a real plus for us," said Edwards.
The Cougars lost no starters to injury during the two weeks of two-a-days, but two players who might have earned starting jobs have been unable to participate in fall practice because of lingering off-season injuries - guard Mohammed Elewonibi and linebacker Alema Fitisemanu.
BYU returns 13 starters from last year's 9-4 team, including its entire starting offensive backfield and two receivers; Wyoming returns 12 starters from last year's 10-3 team but loses all but one of its skill-position players.
"Opening games are always tough anyway, but it's compounded by the fact that we play a tough conference opponent," said Edwards.