Provo • It didn't take Virginia football coach Mike London very long to recognize the straw that stirs the drink on defense for the BYU Cougars.
That would be senior outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who London called on Monday "definitely one of the best college football players out there."
London's Cavaliers play host to BYU on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. MDT (ESPNU).
"You watch tape. He not only plays on defense everywhere, but on special teams. He's a guy who plays in a lot of spots, and makes plays," London said during a teleconference Monday. "So you have to know where he is at at all times. I am sure they are going to feature him a lot.
"We just have to be aware of where he's at. I don't know if you can duplicate him in practice. I think it is more for awareness. The players can watch film and see how he can wreck plays. We will try to do some things to hopefully minimize his effectiveness. … He definitely has talent. He's one of the best [players] in the country."
Add two years?
The fact that BYU features a lot of players who have been on two-year missions for the LDS Church hasn't been lost Virginia's London, who referenced the team's older players, sort of, when asked what about BYU has impressed him this past month while studying film of past Cougar games.
"Well, when you look at them and you look at the depth, and it says what year they are, you could add maybe two more years into what year that say that they are," said London, who enters his fourth year at the helm in Charlottesville. "But they're very disciplined players."
BYU, Cal agree to two-game series
BYU and the University of California jointly announced Monday a two-game football series between the schools, with the 2014 game to take place on Nov. 29 in Berkeley, Calif., and the 2017 game to take place in Provo on Sept. 16.
"This is obviously a unique series for me," said BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe, who coached at Cal from 1996-2001. "Cal is a world-class academic institution with a historic football tradition."
The Cougars now have 12 opponents lined up for the 2014 season; They open at UConn and conclude the season at Cal.
Walk-on Eric Thornton is back at receiver, after being moved to defensive back a week into fall camp when projected starting cornerback Jordan Johnson went down with a season-ending knee injury. Thornton said he found out last Thursday "and was thrilled about it." … Defensive tackle JonRhyheem Peoples suffered a possible concussion in practice Saturday and will have to pass the concussion protocol test before being cleared to practice again. ... Van Noy was ranked as the 20th best college football player in the country over the weekend by Thebiglead.com website. Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel was No. 1. ... A Virginia football spokesperson said Monday that only 3,900 tickets remain unsold for Saturday's game at 61,500-seat Scott Stadium.
BYU at Virginia
O Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MDT
TV • ESPNU