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BYU football: Sooners to give Y. tough test

PROVO — It's been nine years since BYU has had a season-opener similar to the one coming up Saturday against No. 3 Oklahoma.

To begin the 2000 season, which marked former coach LaVell Edwards' final campaign after 29 years at the helm, the Cougars met No. 2 Florida State in the Pigskin Classic in Jacksonville, Fla.

BYU was a 24-point underdog and the Seminoles earned a convincing 29-3 victory. Florida State finished 11-2 and No. 5 in the final polls that season.

Current Cougar quarterback Max Hall knows that the Sooners pose the stiffest challenge in his 26-game career as the starter.

"They're the best team I will have ever faced in my career," Hall said. "With a Heisman quarterback, a great offense and a defense that returns all of their starters except for the two safeties, we have a lot of work ahead of us. But, at the same time, I like our team. I like our chances. We're going to go down there and fight."

Oklahoma, which lost in the BCS championship game last January, is a 22-point favorite against BYU.

"We don't pay attention to that. Oklahoma is a very good football team," Hall said. "But they're just a football team, you know what I mean? It doesn't matter who we play. As long as we go out and execute and play our game, and not make mistakes, we always have a chance to be there at the end."

Coach Bronco Mendenhall said is pleased with the state of his team, acknowledging that there are still some uncertainties.

"We'll know a lot more when we play on Saturday," he said. "But I think the kids have worked really hard this fall camp and the coaches have done a really nice job."

LOGAN INJURED: Cornerback Brian Logan may have broken his hand during Saturday's practice, Mendenhall said. Logan had appeared to be the starter at field corner prior to the injury.

"I'm not sure if it's broken, but early signs say that," Mendenhall said.

In his absence, the first-team offense featured Lee Aguirre playing field corner, with junior Brandon Bradley at boundary corner. Aguirre had been Bradley's backup at boundary corner, but he can play field corner as well, Mendenhall said. Another field corner candidate, Robbie Buckner, is still nursing a hamstring injury.

Buckner, a redshirt freshman, returned home from his mission last January. Aguirre and Logan are junior college transfers.

SLIP-SLIDING AWAY: After Saturday's practice, the Cougars participated in their annual "slip-and-slide" ritual, which essentially marks, and celebrates, the end of fall camp. Most of the players and even some of the coaches took a running start and slid down a long piece of plastic tarp drenched with running water.

"It's a good break and a nice closure to this segment of the season," said Mendenhall, still dripping wet from his turn on the slip-and-slide.

HAFOKA BACK: Wide receiver Spencer Hafoka was back at practice Saturday after being sidelined Friday. Mendenhall feared Hafoka had suffered a relapse of a serious illness that forced him out of school and spring drills.