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Provo • The BYU Cougars and their fans didn't learn much from Saturday's 59-13 win over Big Sky bottom-dweller Idaho State, except that coach Bronco Mendenhall is apparently serious about handing out fewer and fewer redshirts as his program matures.
Not only will a pair of role players defensive end Austin Holt and receiver Marcus Mathews be denied redshirt years next season, the coaches also briefly played freshman quarterback Billy Green, junior quarterback Christian Stewart, running back A.J. Moore, linebacker Joey Owens and tight end Bryan Sampson for the first time, effectively burning their redshirt years.
There will probably be fewer redshirts handed out each year moving forward, Mendenhall said Monday, "other than the offensive line position, which is a little bit different."
Part of the reason is the recent change in the minimum age to 18 when young men can go on LDS Church missions. The Cougars have around 30 players returning from missions in the next year. Scholarships are at a premium in Provo these days.
"It has been moving this way for quite some time, and especially with the way that missions work here at the institution," Mendenhall said, adding that NFL personnel have told him redshirts can hurt a player's stock, not raise it.
"And so, age [is a factor]. With maturity on missions, we are going to try to play as many as we can. I think it benefits the players and I think it benefits the program."
Head athletic trainer Jeff Hurst provided some injury information on Monday.
Starting linebacker Spencer Hadley (knee), tight end Devin Mahina (adductor strain) and receiver Eric Thornton (surgery for soft tissue injury on Wednesday) won't play on Saturday.
Receiver JD Falslev (hand), tight end Brett Thompson (quad strain) and tight end Kaneakua Friel (hamstring) will likely be game-time decisions. Offensive linemen Ryker Mathews (neck) and Brock Stringham (shoulder) practiced Monday and are expected to play.
Running back Jamaal Williams is the FBS Independent Player of the Week for offense and kicker Justin Sorensen earned the award for special teams on Monday. Williams rushed 13 times for 131 yards and three touchdowns against ISU and Sorensen made all eight of his PAT tries and his only field goal attempt, from 26 yards. … Revised bowl predictions came out on Monday, with most analysts now predicting a BYU vs. Washington matchup in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Dec. 27.
BYU at Notre Dame
P Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MST, TV • Ch. 5