When BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall finally announces who will be the starting quarterback for the Sept. 4 opener against Washington, fans will gasp, nod their heads in disappointment or satisfaction and burn up the chat rooms discussing what it all means.
Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps? Mendenhall expects them to shrug and go back to work.
"Whatever announcement we make, my guess is the quarterbacks will just say 'huh' and keep going," Mendenhall said on Thursday. "Everyone else will make a big deal about it, but I don't think it will even be a bump on the pulse meter of our team."
Mendenhall — who said he might make the decision on a starter as soon as Monday — credits his quarterbacks coach, Brandon Doman, with preparing his charges for whatever happens.
"There's not a better quarterback coach in the country than Coach Doman," Mendenhall said. "He has a great relationship with his players. He's open and honest and he communicates very well. There are no surprises."
Mendenhall also said he still plans on playing both Nelson and Heaps against Washington.
Thursday was a Monday practice format at the Indoor Practice Facility, about an hour going through initial preparation for the Washington game plan. Friday's practice will be similar.
"We just had first exposure in meetings with their schemes," Mendenhall said. "A lot of it was just teaching, explaining and showing and really stepping through, just trying to really represent what they're doing and why. The movement wasn't fast and the assignments weren't sharp. It was more like a scouting report on the field today. With our current team we have, it takes a little more teaching."
Team captains: The BYU players voted on team captains and the results aren't surprising: Senior safety Andrew Rich and junior offensive tackle Matt Reynolds. Rich has started 16 games and earned All-MWC second team honors in 2009. He is a 2010 Lott Trophy Award candidate. Reynolds has started all 26 games during his career and is a preseason All-American.
Suspended: Redshirt freshman defensive end Thomas Bryson will not play in the opener due to a violation of team rules but will participate on the scout team next week. Senior Vic So'oto and sophomore Eathyn Manumaleuna are the starting defensive ends. Junior Matt Putnam and true freshman Graham Rowley will back the starters.
Wait 'til next year: BYU also released a list of 23 redshirt candidates, mostly freshmen. A few exceptions: Senior linebacker Jordan Atkinson, a prospective starter who didn't participate in fall camp because of complications from off-season shoulder surgery; junior linebacker Uona Kaveinga, who is sitting out 2010 due to NCAA transfer rules; JC transfer cornerback DeQuan Everett and sophomore defensive lineman Josh Marquardt.
Not on the list are the five freshmen competing for time at tight end and freshman Zac Stout, who is battling for playing time at inside linebacker.
Mendenhall said most of the redshirts already knew that news was coming and that there may be a few names added to the list as the season goes along. As is his custom, Mendenhall doesn't award a redshirt year until after the season.
"The main point I want to emphasize is that they are redshirt candidates," he said. "It's based on how they handle this year. If they don't try hard enough in the weight room or work hard enough in practice or just squander this opportunity, it would just be a wasted year."
Daily Herald Sports Editor Darnell Dickson can be reached at 801-344-2555 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org