The Cougars managed a remarkable feat in 2008: they felt bad about winning ten games. They lost their biggest three, however, hence the disappointment. Much of the '08 crew returns to attempt to reclaim conference-smashing form in 2009. Its focus is on growing 4 new starters on the o-line, tightening up the defense, finding a go-to receiver, and definitely not on coining the perfect pithy phrase to memorialize the season.
Defense outshone offense in first scrimmage; McCay Jacobson was kept from contact during spring drills, allowing the team to focus on developing Luke Ashworth and O'Neill Chambers; Unga's healthier, likes the new, lower expecations; J.J. DiLuigi hopes to join Unga in what may become a very crowded and talented BYU backfield. LB Terrence Hooks hopes to be the senior star of BYU's linebackers this season; so is Jordan Pendleton. Max Hall says the defense is better, and that the o-line is great (only Matt Reynolds, pictured, returns) and that he's more concerned with their health than their inexperience. But Hall also says he's open to running more. LB Vic S'oto refractured his foot, and touted JUCO Bernard Afutiti finally began practicing at DE. [update: Afutiti decided to serve an LDS mission instead.]
Coach Bronco Mendenhall says the team is hungry and competitive like it was in 2006; Unga loves his new O-line; on the other side of the ball, Jan Jorgensen and Matt Bauman are on the Lott Trophy watch list.