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Position Battles

First, a couple notes: Ever since Adam (now you know where the name Brain Child came from) wrote his Max Hall "Prestige" article, I've dreaded writing anything. It was sensational, and for those of you who are new or who haven't yet read it, please do so...

Next, starting sometime next week we'll be doing a week-by-week synopsis of the upcoming season. We'd love your input and questions...

Now about position battles: there are at least three really intriguing dogfights going on in camp right now, all of which could significantly impact the team beginning Sept. 5. The first, and hopefully most meaningless, is the fight to back up Hall. Riley Nelson is officially outperforming Brenden Gaskins this week. His confidence is skyrocketing and his passes and leadership are all on cue. Earlier in camp Mendenhall said he hoped to get Nelson 10-12 quarters this season, but since that time it's looking more and more like Nelson will get the nod if something happens to Hall. Having a quarterback of Nelson's caliber backing up Hall should make Cougar fans smile. Sadly, he'll most likely be a career second-stringer with Jake Heaps scheduled to take Provo by storm in January.

Going into camp everybody figured Payne would be the guy kicking field goals this year. After last season it seemed he was on track and developing good consistency. So what happened during the offseason? Payne is now gasping last breaths with each missed field goal (plenty during the first two weeks) because freshman Riley Stephensonis not only booming punts, but also seems to be more consistent on FG from all over the field. Look out Mr. Incumbent, there's a new guy in town. And as for the punting game, Stephenson will have BYU fans remembering what it's like to have a very good punter--high, tight spirals, accurate and deep. Trust me, this guy is good.

Finally, let's take a look at the corner situation, which is uncharacteristically deep and talented for the Cougars this year. With returning starter and speedster Brandon Bradley tending to knee soreness, which most likely will last throughout the season, and new phenom Robbie Buckner bit by the dreaded hamstring bug, other guys have had to step up, namely Brian Logan, Lee Aguirreand Corby Eason. Today in an interview with the Voice of the Cougars--Greg Wrubell--Bronco said that Logan and Aguirre could be the starters when BYU roughs up the field in Dallas, and that he's confident both players would do a solid job. Having said that, I'm sure he's hoping the experienced Bradley can make a major contribution this season. I'm sure his speed and experience is needed.