Gridiron Notes

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    By SCOTT BELL

    Omarr Morgan is living proof that persistence pays off.

    The All-WAC cornerback made his long-awaited first appearance on offense Saturday against Texas Christian. The results were mixed.

    Three passes went Morgan’s way: he caught the first for 11 yards and a first down, but the second two fell incomplete.

    Coach LaVell Edwards and Morgan had different versions of the second incompletion.

    “He said there was a guy on him on the one he missed,” Edwards said with a smile. “I said, ‘You mean the guy four yards behind you.'”

    “(The defender) made a great play on the ball,” Morgan said after being informed of Edwards’ comments. “I’m not going to drop one, I don’t care what LaVell says.”

    Morgan’s offensive contributions come after more than a year of pestering the coaches for a shot.

    “He’s been after me ever since he’s been here,” Edwards said.

    Now that he’s finally gotten into the offensive mix, Morgan figures to stay put. Coach Edwards said he should continue to get a few plays a game. Morgan was even more definite.

    “I’m just as good as anyone out there as a receiver,” Morgan said. “It’s official now. I’ll get in every game almost for sure.”

    BROKEN SHOE:Paul Shoemaker sprained his ankle and strained his knee on BYU’s last offensive play of the second half. Of course, Shoemaker’s injuries gave Drew Miller sole control in the second half. Miller proceeded to drive BYU for four second half touchdowns after a baseball-like three first half points.

    According to offensive coordinator Norm Chow, Shoemaker’s injuries aren’t too serious and he should be back in practice by Wednesday. No decision on the starter for Saturday’s game against UTEP has been made yet.

    “Nothing’s changed,” Chow said. “We’ve got to make sure we understand Paul’s health and then make the decision — probably in the latter part of the week. But both will play.”

    HOKE HELPS: Chris Hoke has played his way into the defensive tackle rotation.

    The redshirt freshman from Santa Ana, Calif. replaced Hance Olsen as the Cougars’ third defensive tackle behind Darren Yancey and Issiah Magalei when Olsen went down with a high ankle sprain.

    Olsen, another redshirt freshman, is getting back up to speed, but Hoke has played so well that Olsen will be relegated to the fourth spot.

    Last year’s starter at tackle, Harland Ah You, is back in playing shape after missing fall drills because of academic problems. But the Yancey, Magalei, Hoke and Olsen quartet has played so well that playing time will be hard to come by for the junior from Hawaii.

    LOST ALL-AMERICAN: Brandon Stephens hasn’t become the household name many expected.

    The freshman from Logan, Utah was rated the number one high school tight end in the country last year as a senior. He was projected to contribute immediately for the Cougars, especially with the departure of Itula Mili and Chad Lewis.

    But Stephens injured his knee in a summer All-Star game in Florida that Drew Miller also participated in. Stephens hasn’t been able to recover and will redshirt this year. Stephens plans to serve a LDS mission after this year, so he won’t be catching passes for BYU until the 2000 season.

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