BYU football begins its on-field preparations for the 2012 season on Monday, March 5, with the start of spring practices. Bronco Mendenhall spoke with reporters on Friday and addressed some of the pressing issues the team hopes to get a glimpse at dealing with during spring practices.
We’re also inside of six months until the Cougars pop the cork on their second season as an independent on Sept. 1. This seems as good a time as any to start taking a look at the 2012 campaign.
Over the next 12 weeks, we’ll take a look at each of the teams on the Cougars’ 2012 docket, beginning with the Cougars—of Washington State, that is.
Date: Sept. 1, 2012
Site: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah
TV: ESPN family of networks
Series: BYU 2-1
Last Meeting, Result: 1990, BYU 50 WSU 36
First Meeting: 1981
Records: 4-8 overall, 2-7 Pac-12 North
Common Opponents in 2011: 3 (Idaho State, Oregon State, Utah)
WSU Against Common Opponents: 1-2
BYU Against Common Opponents: 2-1
Passing: Marshall Lobbestael (Sr.): 208-for-341, 2,584 yards, 19 TD, 8 INT
Rushing: Rickey Galvin (Fr.): 114 rushes, 602 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Marquess Wilson (So.): 82 catches, 1,388 yards, 12 TD
Rush: 102 yards per game
Pass: 322.3 ypg
Against Rush: 157.2 yards per game
Against Pass: 252.4 yards per game
Points: 29.8 per game
Points Against: 31.8 per game
TD: 42 (29 pass, 13 rush)
TD Against: 39 (20 pass, 19 rush)
With the departure of fifth-year senior Marshall Lobbestael, senior Jeff Tuel would seem to be the heir apparent for the Cougars’ starting role, but sophomore Connor Halliday played more in 2011. Halliday threw for 961 yards and 9 touchdowns on 59-for-103 passes, with 4 interceptions in four games in 2011, whereas Tuel tallied 276 yards and 1 touchdown on 29-of-45 passes with no interceptions in three games.
The quarterback slot is sure to be of big interest for head coach Mike Leach, who begins his first year at the helm of the Cougar program when the team starts spring practices on March 22.
Senior Carl Winston was the team’s second-leading rusher in 2011, gaining 442 yards on 123 carries with 4 touchdowns. Winston actually had nine more carries than Rickey Galvin, the team’s leading rusher, but who will get the bulk of touches in 2012 has yet to be determined.
Incoming freshman running back Robert Lewis out of South East High School in southern California is one of WSU’s top recruits, ranking as the No. 106 top prospect by Scout.com.
Barring injury, Marquess Wilson will likely be the Cougar quarterback’s main target in 2012. But with the departure of Jared Karstetter and Isiah Barton—the team’s No. 2 and No. 3 receivers, respectively—it’s unclear who will fill their spots. Sophomore Bobby Ratliff had 28 receptions for 348 yards and 1 touchdown in 2011, while running back Galvin was the fifth-leading receiver with 28 catches for 243 yards and 1 touchdown.
Incoming freshmen Alex Jackson out of Culver City High School in southern California and Gabriel Marks from Venice High School in southern California are the top wide receiver recruits for the Cougars and could compete with Ratliff for the No. 2 slot.
The Cougars’ leading tackler in 2011, Alex Hoffman-Ellis, is gone, but junior safety Deone Bucannon is back and he tallied 80 tackles and 3 interceptions last season. Senior defensive end Tyree Toomer led the team with four sacks in 2011 and is the most imposing figure on the Cougars’ defensive front.
Incoming freshmen Jeremiah Allison out of Dorsey High School in southern California and Khalil Pettway out of Culver City High School in southern California are among the team’s highest-rated recruits.
A lot can change between now and Sept. 1, but this one seems a slam dunk for BYU.
BYU 33 Washington State 10