Here’s what’s rattling inside my head leading into another thrilling week of “not quite football yet,” otherwise known as summer …
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall is trying to keep all suspensions internal for one of three reasons: 1) He’s trying to protect his players, 2) He’s trying to keep his opponents guessing or 3) He feels it’s none of our darned business.
Maybe a little bit of No. 1, but probably a whole lot of No. 3.
I can respect that Mendenhall wants to keep discipline matters internal, but I don’t think it’s realistic in today’s social media environment. In addition, the news media attending practice will continue to notice when a projected starter is not being given starter reps and will ask questions.
The Jamaal Williams situation shows how getting out in front of a suspension can change the conversation. Instead of “Will Jamaal be suspended? What did he do to get suspended?” it becomes “He handled that well. Now who steps up to take his place in that game?” The discussion turns to football, not off-the-field issues.
If a player is dismissed from the team, or if a player is suspended, that’s something BYU should announce in a press release or Mendenhall can tell the media in a post-practice session. We all print it, we all move on. All this silence simply builds up more speculation and keeps negative rumors in the public eye for much longer.
Mendenhall, and the athletic department, wants to control the flow of information coming out of the program. BYU’s media machine is carefully crafted propaganda designed to get fans excited about the Cougars.
Nothing wrong with that. The world-wide reach of BYU’s brand is the envy of every Power 5 program in the country. Cougar Nation, tweets that pump up recruiting and open scrimmages, Instagram pics about team BBQ’s and golf events -- BYU pounds that drum daily.
But it’s not news. I’m not sure the public appreciates that as much as it used to.
First week impressions: It’s only been one week for BYU football but I really like the new receiving corps, even with the Nick Kurtz injury. No Cody Hoffman, sure, but enough speed and athleticism to keep Taysom Hill happy and opponents nervous.
One series at the scrimmage was just about perfect: The Cougars pounded Adam Hine into the line four straight times, setting up a play-action pass from Hill to Mitchell Juergens for a touchdown. If BYU is to be successful on offense, it will need to run to set up the pass.
Still some question marks on defense, especially at nose tackle, linebacker and cornerback. This week should help solidify those positions, especially if everyone currently out of practice gets healthy and eligible.
Adam does it: I was impressed with Hine’s running style in the scrimmage. With the exception of one carry, everything was downhill and he was quick to the hole. He’s a long strider and sometimes those guys are a little tentative between the tackles. With Williams out in Game 1, Hine will get the call to produce and he showed Saturday he’s up to the challenge.
Best wishes: I’m sure everyone wishes Nick Emery the best of luck in overcoming health issues that forced him to return from the mission field. The former Lone Peak standout and BYU basketball recruit has a difficult road ahead of him but Emerys are made of tough stuff. I have a feeling he’s up to the challenge.
NFL weekend: I tried to get excited to watch preseason NFL football this weekend but couldn’t make it happen, even when BYU players such as Kyle Van Noy and Daniel Sorensen were involved. It’s amazing to me that fans buy tickets to watch what amounts to little more than a free agent scrimmage.
Party time: The Blue/White scrimmage for BYU women’s soccer is Wednesday. Jennifer Rockwood’s crew is always one of the best in the West and this year should be no different. It’s a party when the students come to South Field for a match. By the way, isn’t it about time a donor or sponsor steps up so BYU can re-name South Field? I just feel like it needs something a little more memorable.
And finally: This week I kind of feel like former NBA star Tracy McGrady, who once said, “My career was sputtering until I did a 360 and got headed in the right direction.”
Don’t think about it. Just enjoy your week.