Cougars Look Forward with Optimism

After a disappointing 20-3 loss to Boston College to open the 2005 season, the BYU Cougars are wasting no time getting ready for their next opponent, the Eastern Illinois Panthers. Tuesday afternoon's practice was spent both addressing issues from the BC game and preparing for the Panthers.

About the team, Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said: "They're working their tails off. That was one of the best Mondays I've seen. I don't have a problem with this team's work. What we've stressed now is not so much working hard, but the quality of the work and the precision and execution."

Coach Mendenhall said that the level of execution is what ultimately decided last week's game. He noted that close games come down to just a few plays and that it was Boston College that made those plays.

For the most part, Coach Mendenhall was, pleased with the effort of his team on Saturday. Even though his team lost, he now has a starting point from which to gauge the team's improvement. For instance, Mendenhall cited the breakdown in the secondary on three plays and the need to work hard to correct those problems.

As for their next opponent, Eastern Illinois, Coach Mendenhall said that they were a solid, well coached team. However, Mendenhall's focus isn't on the Panthers as much as it's on the development of his own players.

"My job is to assess where we are week by week and continue to improve this program," he said. "Boston College executed at a higher level than we did and that was the difference in the game. Either through penalties or fewer coverage mistakes or assignment mistakes, that was the difference in the game. That reflects on our preparation and I'm responsible for our preparation."

Practice Notes

• Matt Smith was seen running around on the practice field. He tore his ACL in spring ball.

• Kayle Buchanan was observed running hard in every direction. Every direction, that is, but backwards. He was running "ladders" front-ways, side-ways, cross-ways, just not backwards.

• The team spent significant amounts of time on special teams.

Justin Robinson took one kickoff to the house for a 100+ yard return.

• Bryan Kehl was practicing deep snapping. Mendenhall said that Justin Leuttgerodt is the team's only snapper right now. It's not an open try-out but they are looking for a back-up, preferably someone who is already contributing elsewhere on the team.

Kyle Tew blocked a field goal. It was the only miss out of more than 10 attempts.

Hala Paongo was back practicing. He saw time with Kyle Leukenga at defensive tackle with the second team.

• The secondary working the most with the first team were: Chris Hale, KC Bills, Dustin Gabriel, Spencer White and Robinson.

Curtis Brown did not practice much. A hip-flexor was thought to be the culprit. No word on the severity or if it was simply precautionary.

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