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Morning links: Van Noy shocked to be traded; BYU picked third; Alex Smith elevating his play

ESPN's Mike Reiss took a look at the trade of former BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy to the New England Patriots and Van Noy's reaction to the move.

After talking about the media spotlight for the Patriots, Reiss writes, "He'll also go out of his way to fit in, which was evident when at one point he turned to a team official and asked if he could answer a question on whether he visited the Patriots before the 2014 draft."

Reiss then quotes Van Noy about his reaction to the trade, "You go from starting there to traded. I was shocked. I respect everybody with the Detroit Lions. They’ll all be my guys there. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to come here and get it going."

Reiss then looks at where Van Noy might be a fit, writing, "How the Patriots get it going with Van Noy bears watching, as he has the flexibility to play both on and off the line of scrimmage and has some pass-rush skills to potentially tap." you look closely, you can see Van Noy's locker is right next to former Utes linebacker Trevor Reilly's locker.

BYU basketball picked third in West Coast Conference

Will Maupin of Mid-major Madness did his preseason power rankings for the West Coast Conference and the BYU Cougars came in third behind Saint Mary's and Gonzaga.

Before ranking the teams, he writes, "it's what’s going on up top that makes the WCC as relevant nationally as ever."

Talking about the Cougars, he continues, "From a recruiting perspective, BYU’s roster is loaded. It’s also the first time, due to two-year LDS missions, that Dave Rose’s prized 2013 recruiting class can take the floor together."

After talking about the reuniting of Nick Emery, Eric Mika and TJ Haws, Maupin adds, "Throw in sophomore Elon transfer Elijah Bryant (14.2 ppg in 2014-15), who was the CAA Freshman of the Year, and graduate Houston transfer L.J. Rose (9.5 ppg), and the Cougars have as talented and high-scoring a roster as ever."

Alex Smith elevating his play for the Chiefs

Ryan Tracy of Fansided's Arrowhead Addict looks at the play of former Utah quarterback Alex Smith and why he has been successful of late.

Tracy writes, "This is Alex Smith nearing his peak. His athleticism can still sustain a play or drive. He functions best, as most quarterbacks do, when he has time to see the field as a play develops. The play-action passing game has been essential to his elevating his play. It has allowed Smith more time and more opportunities to throw the ball deeper than we have seen before."

After talking about the importance of the play-calling, Tracy continues, "As Alex Smith is asked to pass less, he has proven to be a better passer. With increased time to throw and time for his targets to get open, Smith has become more efficient."

Jay Yeomans is a sports writer for Contact him at