"TALES FROM THE BYU SIDELINES: A Collection of the Greatest Cougar Stories Ever Told," by Brad Rock, Sports Publishing, $19.95, 185 pages (nf)
"Tales from the BYU Sidelines," by the Deseret News' Brad Rock, is full of humorous insights into the inner workings of Brigham Young University football. Each chapter contains dozens of short remembrances from coaches, players and media members. There's a whole chapter each for coaches LaVell Edwards, Gary Crowton and Bronco Mendenhall, plus others for bowl games, legendary plays, the quarterbacks and even one devoted to the University of Utah rivalry.
This edition was recently updated to include stories from Mendenhall's years as coach.
The stories include snippets showing the brilliance — and forgetfulness — of BYU's great Coach Edwards, second-by-second descriptions of some of the most memorable plays from BYU football history and hilarious interactions between team members, both on and off the field.
We read about the time quarterback Jim McMahon went into a Hawaii game with a shoulder injury, and not only threw a phenomenal 60 passes, but on one clutch play he booted the football while under pressure — with his left foot he didn't favor — for 33 yards.
Or the story about Bronco Mendenhall having the players lie on the field at Cougar Stadium and listen to some of the team's greatest victories over the loudspeakers.
Dozens more stories like these fill the pages — mostly unheard until now by the general public. Each story is short — usually less than a page long — making the book ideal to pick up for a quick read.
Black-and-white photos sprinkled throughout help tell the story.
The author is the long-time sports columnist for the Deseret News. Since 1994, he's won dozens of writing awards, along with being named five times as Utah Sportswriter of the Year.
Margot Hovley's first novel, "Sudden Darkness," was published by Covenant Communications in fall 2012. Her self-reliance blog is at www.mynewoldschool.com or read about her writing adventures at www.margothovley.com.