Suddenly, there’s an oasis in sight; a football trough we can all drink from in the lazy days of summer.
BYU’s football media day on Monday comes way too early, but perhaps just in time when one considers the drought of actual conversations with players and coaches.
It’s a time to mine information and avoid talking points. It’s a time to wade through preseason hype and uncover useful information. In other words, it will be a typical media day sans the Pac-12, MWC or Big 12 crowd.
The Cougars do this a month before anybody else, weeks before the Pac-12, Mountain West, Big 12 and other leagues. Why? Because as an independent, it’s their show and they’ll do it whenever they want to. Plus, because it’s a single school show and attracts a number of national sports experts, one could call it BYU’s day in the light of a solo sun.
Perhaps by design — or not — Monday officially kicks off college football talk in a formal way both locally and nationally.
Specifically, it is scheduled after BYU finishes some of its summer camps, junior days, most of its offseason recruiting and, ultimately, when Bronco Mendenhall has completed his first actual marathon but has yet to go on his summer surfing binge.
Here’s a preview of some key issues that could be discussed with our staff members in attendance:
— Is BYU prepared to operate with the same autonomy that Power Five conferences have asked for (less restrictive regulations that will cost more money)?
— Will the program have a scheduling agreement with the Pac-12 and Big 12 either formally or informally to put weight into independent scheduling?
— Since the Pac-12 has loosened non-conference late season scheduling, could we get BYU-Utah changed to November where it belongs as the rivalry resumes?
— From summer workouts, how is quarterback Taysom Hill’s progress measured? Specifically in terms of accuracy and timing, how is his chemistry with new transfer and freshman receivers?
— Some media have hinted that an NCAA investigation into improper benefits might bring an impending Armageddon to the program. What’s this all about and how does it differ from dozens of self-reported infractions that take place every semester?
— This is Year Two of offensive coordinator Robert Anae’s restaffing and rebuilding of BYU’s offense. What is his state of the offense report?
— How will BYU’s offensive line fare in 2014 and what are the working parts?
— What is the status of newcomers who might be at risk finishing classes and posting grades?
— What returning missionaries are projected to have an impact in fall drills and perhaps the season besides the Jorgensen twins? What is the breakdown of each position group since spring practice?
— What is the status of injured players, including receivers Mitch Matthews and Ross Apo?
— Did recent aggressive comments about Big 12 inclusion by Bronco Mendenhall to a Texas newspaper signal a different posture to independence given the current playoff system? Now the BCS system has been replaced by a four-team playoff, what challenges does BYU face with no conference affiliation and how does the school hope to overcome hurdles?
— Who will be the on-field vocal leaders on a team that some believe struggled with those roles a year ago during an eight-win season?
— What will be the “surprise” nugget BYU likes to drop at this summer media event? After all, if we all come to the trough, it would be nice to have somebody throw out some feed.
— What will be the impact of new university President Kevin Worthen, who replaced Cecil O. Samuelson? What approaches to athletics will remain the same and which may evolve with a different personality at the helm?
So, Monday, let us come to the media table for the one-on-ones. Let’s get this started.
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at [email protected].