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Circling the wagons at BYU, Utah

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If you think the hype for the Utah-BYU game is going to be a lot of the same old stuff, this year, you might be right.

I say this because I got e-mails from the U. and Y. this weekend and it looks like the coaches are taking this weeks game seriously. How seriously? Enough so that theyre not really talking about it.


Not surprisingly, the guy whos keeping his distance the most is BYUs Bronco Mendenhall. Cant say that I blame him. He lost 54-10 last year.

Thats not to say there arent some good angles in the newspapers and on-air. Its just that getting fresh quotes this week isnt going to be easy. Over the years, college teams nationwide have reduced the amount of media access they allow. That may be wonderful for team unity, but it doesnt do much for original material and interesting stories.

BYU media availability is limited this week to Mendehall and three players on Monday after practice. Thats it for the players. After Monday, no interviews. Four days of dead space.

On Tuesday Mendenhall is available, but only via teleconference. Wednesday fans and other media can listen to him and a player on KSL radio, otherwise, theyre out of luck.

Utah is sticking with its usual game-week routine, which means a Monday press conference with Kyle Whittingham and three players. Tuesday, Whittingham is available via the Pac-12 conference call, plus he and players will be available after practice both Tuesday and Wednesday.

While thats more access than BYU, I gotta say that things have changed everywhere. True story: When I was covering Utah State in the early 1980s, I had a player come to my hotel room for an interview on the morning of a game.

I know what youre thinking: Boo-hoo. In honesty, access doesnt much matter to me, since I write columns. Those can include quotes or not. But the beat reporters like to get fresh quotes daily.

So if this Friday youre watching TV or reading the paper and you see a player or coach saying something you think youve heard several days earlier, you probably have. It could have been recirculating since Monday.

Dont shoot the messenger. Its tough when he only collects the mail once or twice a week.