The BYU football team left Provo eight days prior to Thursday's Copper Bowl in order to get plenty of practice time in good weather prior to its first ever battle against Oklahoma.
The Cougs have been able to get plenty of practice in, but Mother Nature hasn't cooperated completely with the good weather. Several of the Cougar practices have been held in rain showers with Monday morning's practice the wettest yet. Fortunately, the temperatures have been in the 50s and 60s.Weather forecasters are calling for more storms throughout the week, with a chance of showers during the game Thursday night.
NOT A `FOREGONE' CONCLUSION: Quarterback John Walsh is upset with a Salt Lake City radio station that has said he has made up his mind to forego his senior year at BYU to enter the NFL draft. ESPN picked up on the radio station's announcement and broadcast to the nation that Walsh was leaving college a year early. Walsh insisted Monday, however, that he still has yet to make up his mind and that an announcement will be forthcoming after the bowl game.
AN EXCEDRIN HEADACHE: Both of BYU's starting inside defensive linemen sat out of Saturday's practice with injuries, but are expected to be able to play.
Mike Ulafale injured his leg in Friday's practice, but he was working out again by Monday.
John Raass' injury, meanwhile, is a little more embarrassing. The Cougars are staying at the Westin LaPaloma Hotel, a resort property on the outskirts of town. The resort has several shallow pools of water and Friday night, Raass, thinking one of the pools was deeper than it really was, dove head-first into just two-and-a-half feet of water.
Raass was fortunate to come away from the accident with only a mild concussion and a sore neck and head. He sat out practice Saturday, but was back in action Monday, even though he is still feeling some soreness.
The incident has been the source of some good-natured ribbing at Raass' expense by players and coaches alike.
EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: This is BYU's 17th consecutive bowl game, but the first in Tucson and the players have been able to take some time to check out the area. This afternoon the team is touring the Old Tucson, a movie location and studio where many western films and television shows have been made.
Some of the players drove to Nogales, Mexico, to do a little shopping last week. Most went to local church meetings Christmas Sunday. Players also went to a desert museum and visited patients in a veteran's hospital.
LONG WAIT FOR A WIN: BYU hasn't won a bowl game since 1988, when they downed Colorado in the Freedom Bowl. Believe it or not, three current Cougars were on that team six years ago: receiver Bryce Doman, offensive lineman Tim Hanshaw and quarterback Tom Young.