BYU Athletics Blog | BYU Cougar Club

BYU Athletics Blog

Thursday's Hero on Tuesday

Oct 15, 2008 - Posted by Jackie Johnson at 11:27 am | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Because of Thursday’s game against TCU, the BYU football team celebrated their “Thursday’s Hero” Tuesday at practice. Two young men, Trent Duval and Kyle Sorenson were honored as Heroes of the BYU football team.

Duval is an 8-year-old boy who has AML Leukemia and has been in the hospital 11 of the last 15 months. Originally Duval was supposed to be honored later on in the season, but because he only has days or weeks to live, he was able to see his Cougars practice and get some great gifts as well.

Sorenson is a 12-year-old Cougar football fan who got in a car accident eight years ago with his whole family. Everyone survived, but Sorenson was left a quadriplegic, having to use a breathing tube.

Defensive lineman, Jan Jorgensen, presented the gifts.

“Trent, you’re a stud,” said Jorgensen. “You have no idea how happy we are to have you out here. We know that you are a big BYU fan, and we want you to know that you’re our hero. There are not a lot of people that get to come out here and do this, but we want you to know that you’re a part of our BYU football team. To show our love for you, we have a bag full of goodies for you.”

Duval and Sorenson both received hats, signed flags and a Fui Vakapuna jersey. When presented the Vakapuna jersey, head coach Bronco Mendenhall said, “You’re probably faster than Fui right now!”

Russell Tialevea presented the team flag and asked them each to sign it, while Ian Dulan and Brock Richardson both presented the boys the team coins.

“This coin is what we represent,” said Dulan. “We must carry it with us at all times, and if Coach Mendenhall asks us to present the coin, we must present it or we will have to run!”

Duval and Sorenson were accompanied by their families, all totaling over 41 men, women and children at the Cougar practice.

Chat Rescheduled

Oct 14, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 12:49 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Due to a conflict with class, the player chat with wide receiver Michael Reed which was scheduled for this afternoon at 1 p.m. has been rescheduled for Friday, Oct. 17 at 11 a.m. Keep submitting questions and be sure to check back in on Friday!

Pregame Fireside: New Mexico

Oct 11, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 1:22 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

The team held its traditional pregame fireside in Orem last night. Freshman linebacker Michael Alisa and Heisman Trophy candidate Max Hall joined Holly and Bronco Mendenhall as speakers at the event.

Alisa shared three qualities of a good disciple of Christ: gratitude, charity and obedience. He also addressed the team's "Quest for Perfection" and how that theme is transferrable to all areas of life.

"When we put on our BYU uniforms we are representing something bigger than ourselves," said Alisa. "We're representing the Lord's church."

The trio of Jadon Wagner, Coleby Clawson and Jeff Bell sang "Nearer My God to Thee" with Matt Bauman accompanying on the piano.

Following the musical number, Hall spoke about his decision to come play football at BYU. While at a pregame fireside, Hall decided that BYU was the place he needed to be.

"Since I've been here I've been extremely blessed," he shared. "I can't tell you how the players and coaches here have changed my life."

Hall went on to compare the game-changing decisions made by a team's quarterback to the role we have in the outcomes of our own lives. While none of us are perfect, and will never be perfect in this life, we can still give it everything we have to try and be perfect.

At the conclusion of Hall's talk the team stood to sing "We'll Bring the World His Truth".

Holly Mendenhall, wife of coach Bronco Mendenhall, spoke on the importance of learning to simplifying our lives and spending time with family. She also stressed how important it is for each of us to remember that everyone is different--for good reason.

"We've been given differences for a reason," said Holly. "The Lord has a plan for us."

Coach Mendenhall was last to speak. He shared his experience four years ago when he was in an interview for the head coaching position at BYU with Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

"Elder Eyring asked me only one question, 'Is the Church true?' Since then I've always tried to think, 'How will we help others know the Church is true?'"

Mendenhall spoke of discovering your own life mission and deciding how your life mission will help others and make a lasting mark.

Thursday's Hero

Oct 10, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 11:39 am | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

The team recognized 17-year-old Jared Maxfield of Salt Lake City after practice yesterday as this week's Thursday's Hero. Maxfield was born with a cyst at the base of his brain which doctors thought would develop, causing him to lose the ability to walk and talk.

Maxfield has difficulty reading and talking, but is a great visual learner. He goes to East High School and plays on the football team, just like one of his favorite players, Fui Vakapuna.

Maxfield was very emotional as he came onto the field to meet the team. He is a die-hard BYU fan and told the team, “I’m happy to be here. This is one of the best days of my life!”

He was presented the team coin by Harvey Unga, his other favorite player. The team coin has a flag bearer on one side and the team motto on the other.

“This coin represents us and what we stand for,” said Unga. “We keep it with us at all times to help us remember to always do the right thing at the right time.”

Wayne Latu also presented Maxfield with a shirt, a jersey and some hats.

“Here is a flag that we’re going to sign and you can hang it up in your room,” said Latu.

Fireside Reminder

Don't forget to attend the team fireside tonight at the stake center on 735 E. 800 South in Orem at 7 p.m. Heisman Trophy candidate Max Hall will be one of the speakers participating in the fireside.

Janice Kapp Perry Pays a Visit

Oct 01, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 4:15 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

The Cougars welcomed a special guest during their team meeting this afternoon—renowned LDS songwriter Janice Kapp Perry. Kapp Perry, who wrote “We’ll Bring the World His Truth”, a song the team sings every week at its firesides, was introduced by junior linebacker Matt Bauman. Bauman presented her with a “Y” flag signed by the entire team and asked if she would sign the team’s flag, which is carried onto the field prior to each game.

“We honor you and all the work that you’ve done,” Bauman said.

Following the presentation, the team stood and sang all three verses of “We’ll Bring the World His Truth”. After it was announced it was Kapp Perry’s 70th birthday, the team sang “Happy Birthday”.

“This is the best birthday I’ve ever had,” said Kapp Perry. “I have always been a big BYU fan, so it’s great to spend a few minutes with you today. My songs have been sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and on ‘The Oprah Show’, but when I first heard that the team was singing ‘We’ll Bring the World His Truth,’ I thought, ‘Yes, I’ve hit the big time!’”

Kapp Perry went on to explain all the reasons why she is such a big fan of the Cougars, including buying a house within walking distance to LaVell Edwards Stadium, and hanging photos of some of BYU’s greatest players in her home.

“I even know how to correctly pronounce Harvey UNGA,” she said. “When they say it wrong on TV, I’m sitting at home correcting them.”

The meeting closed as head coach Bronco Mendenhall presented the songwriter with a team coin and an autographed football.

Thursday Fireside in Ogden

Oct 01, 2008 - Posted by Lane Olson at 1:49 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Just a reminder to come join the Cougars for their pre-game fireside happening tomorrow night (Oct. 2, 2008). Players from the football team will focus their attention to spiritual matters in preparation for Friday's game against Utah State. There will be music and spoken word. This week's featured speakers will be kicker Mitch Payne and DB Andrew Rich. Come enjoy and join in the spiritual mission of the BYU football program.

Thursday, Oct. 2

Ogden Tabernacle; 7 p.m. (MT)

2133 Washington Blvd.

Ogden, Utah

Little League Visit

Sep 25, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 6:08 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Thursday's Hero

26-year-old Tyler Pulsipher was recognized by the team this afternoon as this week’s “Thursday’s Hero.” Pulsipher was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer a year ago and is living the three to five months he has to live watching his Cougars play an undefeated season.

A big fan of BYU football, when asked by head coach Bronco Mendenhall if he had anything to say to the team, Pulsipher said, “Keep on winning!”

Pulsipher was presented a jersey, t-shirts, hats and a flag by senior running back Fui Vakapuna, while senior wide receiver Michael Reed asked him to sign the team flag that is carried onto the field each game.

“We look up to you and you’re a hero to us,” said Reed. “Everyone who signs this flag makes a commitment to excellence and it would be an honor if you signed it for us.”

After presenting the gifts to Pulsipher, each team member had the opportunity to shake his hand.

Pulsipher served a mission to Cambodia and later earned his Bachelor degree at BYU, majoring in business.

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall greets Pulsipher and introduces him to the team

Running back Fui Vakapuna presents Pulsipher with gifts from the team

A Visit from Little League

Following the “Thursday’s Hero” presentation, the team was quickly surrounded by hundreds of little league football players who were at practice. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall headed over to speak with these young, ambitious athletes and explained the five things BYU focuses on and looks for in new recruits.


2.Positive contributions to your family

3.Grades above the average of 3.0

4.Good friends

5.Football skills

“Even though we have the longest win streak in the nation and are undefeated this season, football is still number five on the list,” Mendenhall said. “Do these five things in this order and you will always come out on top.”

After a pep-talk from coach Mendenhall, the kids were off to work on their specific positions with the individual players. Max Hall could be heard with the quarterbacks, yelling, “That’s 10 push-ups!” after a player missed his target.

Bronco Mendenhall addresses the crowd

The young players listen carefully as Mendenhall speaks

Assistant coach Paul Tidwell explains to the players where each position will meet

Junior Max Hall explains a drill to the young quarterbacks

Freshman defensive back Travis Uale performs a drill with some of the young players

Junior Scott Johnson

Junior Brandon Howard

Scott Johnson Chats With Fans

Sep 23, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 2:11 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Our first player chat of the season is in the books! This afternoon defensive back Scott Johnson participated in our first online chat of the 2008 season. Check out the transcript of the chat in our archive HERE.

Keep an eye out for more chats to come throughout the season every Tuesday afternoon.

Player Chats are Back!

Sep 22, 2008 - Posted by Lane Olson at 1:45 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up that Player Chats are back by popular demand. With the season beginning, things got a little hectic with scheduling, but we will now be having scheduled player chats every Tuesday.

This weeks chat will be with Defensive Back, Scott Johnson.

Visit the Player Chat page by clicking on the link below to submit your questions for Scott early, or tune into the chat page at 1:20 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 23 to submit your questions and participate in the chat.

Click Here to Submit Questions for Scott.

Pregame Fireside: Wyoming

Sep 19, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 9:43 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

The football team held its weekly fireside for members from Highland, American Fork and Pleasant Grove stakes on Friday night. The American Fork Tabernacle was packed on the eve of the Cougars’ Mountain West Conference opener against Wyoming, as people came to hear the team address its theme, “Being a Disciple of Christ”.

The night began with a talk by Spencer Hafoka. The freshman wide receiver recently returned home from a mission to Ventura, California. Hafoka shared his thoughts on what it truly means to be a “receiver”—as it relates to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He pinpointed four characteristics of a good receiver: fast, quick, strong and good hands. Hafoka read a poem entitled “It Depends Whose Hands It’s In”. A link to the poem can be found HERE.

Following Hafoka was a musical number presented by Max Hall, Fui Vakapuna, Matt Bauman, Bryan Kariya, Brenden Gaskins, Scott Johnson and Reed White. The group sang “How Firm A Foundation”.

Quarterback Stephen Covey also shared his thoughts on discipleship. The redshirt freshman from Provo, Utah focused on overcoming trials and hardships in life.

“Becoming a disciple of Christ requires a lot of stretching,” he said. “It’s during these times that we can truly become friends with God.”

White accompanied the team as it sang “Called to Serve,” before Holly Mendenhall, the wife of head coach Bronco Mendenhall, took the stand. Holly challenged those in attendance to realize the small decisions they make in their lives are what will impact future, bigger decisions.

“It’s the small things we do that show whether we are true disciples or not,” she said.

Coach Mendenhall closed the meeting with a few thoughts and experiences. He shared the message which was presented earlier this week in a team meeting by defensive back Brandon Howard about the “Pride Cycle”, and the dangers which lie ahead for those who do not humble themselves. Mendenhall also told of a powerful experience he witnessed last week when the team collectively sang, “Called to Serve” to a young man who signed a letter of intent with BYU, but decided to serve an LDS mission before entering the program. The team sang for that young man as he prepared to enter the Missionary Training Center the following day. Mendenhall said all of these experiences show that this team is focused on more than just football.

Quoting the words of Gordon B. Hinckley, the former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mendenhall said, “The mission of the Church is to stand as an ensign to the nations and light to the world." He added by saying, "The greatest part of this job is what we get to represent.”

Max Hall visiting with fans and signing autographs following the fireside.

Defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen.