Team preview: BYU

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

After seeing the BYU program fall from grace -- a streak of five straight postseason berths ended with last season's nine-win debacle -- Dave Rose is determined to pick up the pieces from that disappointment and move ahead with a fresh perspective.

"Our record was horrible by BYU standards," said Rose, who was hired as BYU's coach April 11. "But when you look at the margin, it really wasn't all that much. It was about those last five minutes. It was a few possessions here and there."

All sorts of factors cropped up for the Cougars, who were in uncharted waters in terms of having losses mount up week after week. The downfall started after the previous season, when a quartet said goodbye to the Marriott Center.

"We were replacing four seniors [NBA lottery pick Rafael Araujo, program staple Mark Bigelow, along with guards Luiz Lemes and Kevin Woodberry]," Rose said. "Those guys hadn't just been here a while--they had played lots of minutes. And the guys behind them hadn't played a lot. The new guys were excited and prepared themselves well but..."

A schedule with the likes of North Carolina in the season opener, Stanford in the next, three more Pac-10 teams, and North Carolina State, coupled with injuries, derailed the season before the Cougars hit conference play.

"We had a tough early schedule," Rose said. "Our confidence was really shaken. Then we struggled with injuries so our morale was down. We had to make adjustments."
Now comes an even greater adjustment for the 47-year-old, who became the Cougars' 17th coach just two days after Steve Cleveland resigned to take the same position at Fresno State.

Rose was Cleveland's lead assistant for eight seasons and associate head coach the last five, serving as the defensive guru on the staff. He's a superb recruiter (BYU's 2004 class was ranked 17th by Rivals.com) and is known for his motivational tactics and meticulous game plans.