Cougar coach, players sound off about 2005 season at media day


    By Brandon Judd

    CORONADO, Calif. ? With just 44 days (and some change) until kickoff, the temperature isn?t the only thing heating up. So is the talk about BYU football.

    While escaping the scorching heat of Utah in the cool atmosphere of Coronado Calif., BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall and quarterback John Beck and linebacker Cameron Jensen tackled a barrage of questions about the upcoming season during the 2005 Mountain West Conference Football Media Days on Monday and Tuesday.

    Mendenhall mentioned a possible replacement for Austin Collie, who complemented long-ball threat Todd Watkins with 771 yards receiving and eight touchdown receptions. His name? Freshman Luke Ashworth, a local product from Timpview High in Provo.

    ?Luke arrived here early this summer, just like Austin did,? Mendenhall said. ?He has a build like Austin and a good work ethic, as well. We?re looking for a player to step up, and it wouldn?t surprise me if Luke played.?

    Beck said Ashworth, through hard work, is picking up on the offensive system quickly during the team?s unofficial summer workouts.

    ?Over the past two weeks, he?s [Ashworth] picked up his game tremendously because of the small things he?s worked on,? he said. ?There?s somebody with a lot of talent. He?s able to have 10 coaches out there at once.?

    Getting offensive, Texas Tech style: Bringing in former Texas Tech assistant coach Robert Anae to take over as offensive coordinator, Mendenhall said he is trying to create an offense that is exciting to watch and difficult to stop.

    ?The reason we chose that offense, as a defensive coordinator [myself], teams haven?t been able to stop it, nor has anyone been able to stop it with middle to bottom talent in the league,? he said. ?I see a wide-open passing attack as the best to describe what we do, with yards after the catch as the focus.?

    Beck said the team has already seen positive results with the new offensive system, which the Red Raiders used to roll up 70 points on nationally respected Nebraska last season.

    ?I think everybody believes in the system that [Anae] has brought in,? Beck said. ?All of us who have paid attention to college football the past couple years know that the Texas Tech offense is highly effective. It scores a lot of points. It gets a lot of yardage, and it?s a very effective, high-powered offense.

    ?For those of us who have put in the time this summer to try to perfect that and make it work for us, we?ve seen results.?

    Already in the system: According to Mendenhall, already being a member of BYU coaching staff when he took over the coaching helm has helped him through the first-year process.

    ?I?ve learned a tremendous amount, but I?ve started at a further place along that if I wouldn?t have been there the last two years,? he said.

    Jensen shared the coach?s sentiments.

    ?When he became the head coach, there was a tremendous excitement,? Jensen said. ?I think it makes it a lot easier than to come in from a different program.?

    Bring on B.C.: This season, the Cougars will start off against nationally-ranked Boston College. But that doesn?t bother Jensen, who said he is looking forward to the challenge.

    ?They?re well coached,? he said. ?They?re extremely confident. They?re coming off a bowl game. Their a good team, a tough one to start with.

    ?But I wouldn?t have it any other way. I couldn?t picture a better way to start the season and turn a program around.?

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