HENDERSON, Nev. The goal is to be on top and stay on top so getting picked by the media that covers Mountain West football is agreeable to BYU junior defensive end Jan Jorgensen, who led the league in sacks a year ago and quarterback Max Hall, named preseason offensive player of the year.
"We're just fine with that," Jorgensen said Monday at the MWC meetings at the Green Valley Ranch Resort just outside of Las Vegas.
"The great teams and great programs finish No. 1 and then start No. 1 the following year," said Jorgensen. "That's a cycle to be in every year and we want to be one of those great teams year in and year out. It's just fine that we start out that way this year, it's where we want to be."
With a streak of 16-straight Mountain West Conference football wins, BYU's 29 first-place votes in the preseason poll is the most since the start of the league in 1999 when the Cougars received 35 votes.
Having a target on the back is a good thing this season?
"I like it," said Hall. "We deserve it. We've had two undefeated conference seasons, two conference championships and now the goal is to stay there. It makes us prepare hard and play hard every week."
"We've talked a lot about our goals to continue to be a program of national prominence and in order to do that, before the season starts, people have to see you and expect you to be good, especially in the conference we're in. So, it is important to be seen as a good team before the season starts in order for us to be where we want to be."
EXTRA POINTS; Jorgensen said he could care less that he wasn't named preseason defensive player of the year. "It means nothing until the fall." For the first time in his career, Jorgensen won't be playing alongside freshmen linemen. "It's be kind of weird but it's nice. Having Russell Tialavea, Brett Denny and Ian Dulan back means everyone knows the defense and what each other is thinking. It should be a lot of fun and we could be as good as we've had in a while, although it would be hard to surpass the one with Ryan Denney, Chris Hoke and Brett Keisel."
Asked if he was concerned he was the only BYU defensive player on the preseason honor roll, Jorgensen said he believed David Nixon belonged and others may find their way before it's over. "When Russell Tialavea walks on the field, there is a chance he is the most talented football player on the team for both teams, so I think we have a good chance with awards."Texas WR recruit Atem Bol has not qualified and will likely play at Snow College. Seta Pohahau, a RB from Aragon High in San Mateo, Calif., will find out this week if his retake of some credits boost him up "about one-hundreth of a point" to qualify, according to coach Bronco Mendenhall. Bernard Afuiti, a D-lineman recruited by USC out of San Antonio College, is in Provo living in student housing and is ready to go. ... Mendenhall just returned from a surfing trip in Panama, then a pack trip (horseback) into the Bob Marshall wilderness in Montana and will leave Las Vegas for a final surfing trip to Santa Cruz this week ... While in Montana, the coach and his wife Holly were stunned, when another party from Bountiful came over a ridge, 30 miles from any access road, and asked if Bronco Mendenhall was in camp. Apparently a ranger with a radio tuned into KSL and learned Mendenhall was in the mountains, then ran into Mendenhall at camp then "leaked" the information to the Bountiful packers the day after being in camp. "We laughed about it," said Mendenhall, who was supposed to be on an escape outing. "Holly said, 'All is fair, all places, in all things, all the time.'"