- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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2010 overall record: 7-6
2010 conference record: 5-3 MWC
Offense: 10, defense 8, punter/kicker 1
S Andrew Rich, LB Shane Hunter, LB Jadon Wagner, K Mitch Payne
2010 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)
Rushing: JJ DiLuigi* (917 yards, 8 TDs)
Passing: Heaps* (219-of-383 for 2,316 yards, 15 TDs, 9 INTs)
Receiving: Hoffman* (527 yards, 7 TDs)
Tackles: Rich (110)
Sacks: Vic So’oto* (five)
Interceptions: Rich (five)
1. Heaps the man. There was no question or hesitation this spring. Even with a healthy Riley Nelson back, Heaps is the unquestioned starter at quarterback. That helped immensely not only with his development, but with his ability to lead the team.
2. Daniel Sorensen emerges. The big question on defense is who would step up to replace Andrew Rich, the team’s leading tackler, leader in interceptions and emotional leader as well. Sorensen returned from his mission and had a great spring, leaving coaches confident he has what it takes to step right in at safety.
3. Camaraderie. The Cougars struggled at the beginning of last season, but ended the year with wins in five of their final six games. Coach Bronco Mendenhall said his team picked up where it left last season off, and had a camaraderie, spirit and energy that led to the best spring in his tenure.
1. Starter at right guard. That is the only position that isn’t solidified on offense going into fall camp. Among the contenders: Walter Kahaialii, Houston Reynolds and Marco Thorson. Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman didn’t rule out the possibility of playing true freshman Ryker Mathews at the position.
2. Independence. How is BYU going to do in its first season as an independent? The Cougars only have one championship to play for -- a national championship. Even then, they would have to go undefeated and hope for some help to get into that. With a tough schedule, how will the team stay motivated throughout the season for a berth into the Armed Forces Bowl?
3. High-flying offense? Everything is in place for the Cougars to return to their productive ways on offense. Doman says BYU may resemble the days of the 1980s and 1990s. Heaps has another year of experience, depth at receiver and running back and a solid offensive line. But will it all come together?
15hMax Olson and Jake Trotter