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The Long and Winding Road: Recapping BYU's 2015 football offseason

Journey with us back to cover the road we traveled in search of football.

Rhodes Bake-N-Serve Stadium was a proposal we made. It was a LONG offseason, you guys.
Rhodes Bake-N-Serve Stadium was a proposal we made. It was a LONG offseason, you guys.

In the afternoon on Monday, Dec. 22, Christian Stewart threw an interception to Memphis defensive back DaShaugn Terry in the second overtime of the Miami Beach Bowl, ending a 55-48 BYU loss.

That was the last football play of record for BYU. It's been a long eight-plus months, but we're now a week away from more actual, real BYU football.

Journey with us as we relive the journey over the last eight months.

January

The first big news of 2015 came when Bronco Mendenhall assumed direct control over BYU's defense. Quirks and head coaching deficiencies aside, Bronco is an elite defensive coordinator, as explained in the linked story.

In feel-good independent news, BYU signed up for a made-for-TV game against LSU in Houston's NFL stadium. Giddyap.

In what would become an obsession for fans in the offseason, BYU hired Frank Wintrich as strength and conditioning coach, a position he changed to be called Director of Football Performance given the all-encompassing nature of his program. The linked article speculates Chico Canales as the connection that got Wintrich to BYU, something Wintrich has later confirmed in interviews.

The biggest storyline of the 2015 recruiting class had its genesis in January, when two players from Coppell, Texas committed to play at BYU: Charles West and Scott Huntsman. West's crazy journey since will come later in the timeline, while Huntsman has been raved about since he hit campus, drawing comparisons to Jordan Pendleton and could even show up on the two-deep (maybe).

B1G NEWS: BYU signs a home-and-home with Michigan State, and we learn BYU's two B1G road games in 2015 will net the school $2.3 million in contract payouts. Would be great if BYU wins both of those.

The ACC announces it will now consider BYU a Power 5-level team for its requirement that its members schedule at least one non-conference P5 team per season.

February

SIGNING DAY: So much signing day news that you'll want to check out the full storystream for everything. But the highlights included the Cougars signing an impossibly massive lineman from Tonga. We would later learn a lot more about Motekiai Langi, but the surprise signing was one of the biggest sports stories nationally. Mark Atuaia, Preston Hadley, and Brandon Bradley also published freestyle rap videos for many of the 2015 signees.

Most of this list will consider football offseason storylines, but a huge story for BYU basketball was the announcement of a basketball practice/training facility and big Marriott Center upgrades. It was a great day for BYU athletics.

A few days after signing day, Charles West is charged with aggravated assault and marijuana possession. His attorney interviews on Salt Lake City radio to answer as many questions as he is able.

The SB Nation mothership published "How the College Football Playoff gave BYU new power" after Matt Brown and Steven Godfrey traveled to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to watch BYU play Middle Tennessee in November, 2014. Matt also wrote a behind-the-scenes piece detailing what he learned that didn't make the main article.

March

The SEC officially decided to consider independents as meeting Power 5 scheduling requirements about two months after the ACC said BYU was a-okay. Party time!

Hours later, ESPN's Brett McMurphy reports that BYU and Mississippi State have signed a home-and-home series, with the SEC's Bulldogs visiting Provo as soon as 2016. It's the second SEC team BYU has inked to a home game, joining Missouri.

The Charles West saga continues as he is indicted by a grand jury.

April

The VTF staff voted on teams BYU should schedule. Ohio State topped the P5 poll, Memphis topped the G5 poll. (BONUS: We used it as an opportunity to again revel in BYU's dominance over Texas.)

We tried to explain why managing sports rosters at BYU is really hard.

We debuted the light-hearted DEAD SEASON SERIES to try and get us all through the summer. We hope many LOLs were had.

Remember all the stuff we heard about BYU in the conference expansionpalooza? Hard to work with? Sunday play? BYUtv? Turns out that was all a bunch of baloney.

BYU announced its 2015 football schedule, which included a flexible bowl agreement between the Las Vegas and Hawaii bowls for 2015 and 2019.

May

No big deal, BYU rugby only won its fourth consecutive national championship. The match featured now-BYU punter Jonny Linehan doing amazing things with his leg.

BYU struck out at the NFL Draft, which was mostly expected -- however, several players signed free agent offers and about half appear set to make their team's rosters: Paul Lasike with Arizona, Devin Mahina with Washington, Rob Daniel with Oakland, and Jordan Leslie with Minnesota.

The additional Cost of Attendance stipend hit full speed, and BYU's fares well nationally. Here's how they should spend it.

After still more confusion about what LDS missions are, we tried to provide a reference guide for those nationally who still can't seem to get it right.

rules committee changed the college basketball shot clock and enlarged the restricted area under the basket. Huzzah!

BYU struck in recruiting the Pacific again, this time with Manase Tu'ungafasi from New Zealand. (There are later issues with Tu'ungafasi's academic qualifications and he enrolls at Snow College.)

June

BYU and Southern Mississippi agreed to a football series in what feels like decades ago, and we learned we'll be waiting even longer to see if any games of that series ever get played.

Dave Rose continued his recruiting magic, solidifying the services of four-star recruit Gavin Baxter, who right now is just barely outside the Top 100 of his class (Rose signed Mika, Emery, Haws, and Dastrup all as Top 100 recruits.) Baxter is a key part of BYU basketball's future.

St. Mary's basketball coach Randy Bennett suggested Grand Canyon as a good addition to the WCC and LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Tommy Hudspeth, the coach who preceded LaVell Edwards and began BYU's revolution into a competitive football program, passed away at 83.

BYU Media Day came in July, where we learned of a series with Toledo and Bronco LOL'd at the MWC.

Taylor Swift wielded mighty power from her keyboard, and we have a few things at BYU she could help fix.

July

As the Charles West Turns: West is shot in the arm in an incident unrelated to his pending court case. The incident is recorded by someone there, making it seem like West was ambushed. Somehow, six shots rang out from fairly close range and West escaped with only one bullet in the upper arm.

Track time: BYU's Shaq Walker wins gold and the World University Games.

We revisited BYU fans' obsession with November football schedules and learned two of the last three years of independence produced two of the toughest November schedules in program history.

Jimmer signed a training camp deal with the San Antonio Spurs. Can he succeed?

Why it's okay if Taysom Hill doesn't come close to winning the Heisman.

BYU has a road trip schedule to UNLV in 2017 and it could cause some scheduling problems for the Cougars.

August

August is when fall camp kicks into gear, but there was a lot of news off the field as well.

The month started out very sour as we learned Jamaal Williams was withdrawing from school. That news really, really sucks, but there are reasons BYU isn't doomed without him.

VTF writer and podcaster Keith Shirts put a ton of time into a really cool series that answered the question: If you had to choose one BYU athlete who owned their uniform number as the best, who would they be?

BYU's basketball schedule becoming public was delayed longer than usual this summer, and Steve Pierce had some exclusive insight into how exactly those schedules get put together.

As the Charles West Turns: Bronco Mendenhall says the door is open for West to join the team in January.

Sione Takitaki steals stuff from other BYU teams while a campus janitor and is suspended for the season opener.

The good schedule news continues: Wisconsin's trip to Provo is moved up two years to the 2017 season.

Then the schedule news hits drama because UTAH: AD Chris Hill says a bunch of stuff to the media that starts a few strange days that end with a contract being in place to add 2019-20 games to the BYU-Utah series.

BYU held a few open practices, then shut them all down to the public and had only a few open sessions for the media. Our Jake Welch tried to save the day by penning some super-important analysis of the scant information we received from practice.

Receiver Rickey Shumway made a phenomenal catch in practice, andthe film-session video was made public by QB Koy Detmer, Jr.

Good recruiting news: BYU got its first 2017 commitment from a freak athlete, and four-star safety Troy Warner decommitted from Oregon and put BYU back in play.

Jake revisited the 2011 Elite 11 quarterback competition, where Tanner Mangum and Jameis Winston were co-MVPs, to find out where each of the 11 quarterbacks are now.

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There we have it. The entire journey between January 1 and right now, a week away from another game. Thanks for being here with us!