BYU football looks to bounce back from a 4-9 campaign in 2017.
PROVO— As another BYU football Media Day came and went, the BYU football coaches and players all seemed to be on the same page; humbled and grateful for the opportunity to grow from a tough record of 4-9 last season as well as excited to take the field again this fall. But there are changes being made that are well underway for the Cougars.
BYU football coaches and players all know they need all the time they can get to train and prepare over the summer for the upcoming season. Coaches are pushing players harder, players are putting in more time and effort on top of what is already required of them, and a bigger sense of responsibility rests on BYU football’s shoulders.
When talking with one of BYU football Running Back, Squally Canada, he pretty much summed it all up.
“Having a 4-9 season can be a really dark place. You either embrace it, you start grinding more, or you run from it. There will always be ups and downs. You have to be battle tested and weather the storms that come. With all of our new coaches that came in, they set have set the standard by not letting one bad play affects us (as players) like last season. How we practice is how we are going to play. When you’re at the bottom, the only way to go is up.” said Canada.
Along with the humility and learning experiences discussed at Media Day the coaches and players are ready to show everything they’ve got.
Kalani Sitake knows that he has a relentless staff this season and that’s the exact attitude he wants to see from his players as well.
According to Ryan Pugh, BYU football’s Offensive Line Coach, he knows that his players are going to be a physically tough group up front.
“My offensive team is the tip of the spear and we are the first into battle every play. Our guys know that and they know the importance of that. We are going to build our offense around the offensive line and their abilities. I tell my guys all the time there are very few things they can control but the offensive line can control the outcome of a game. People don’t know about you until you mess up, but they will also notice when you take a game over. We are going to be a physically tough group up front. In this position, you live and you learn.” Pugh said.
Pugh also is big on letting his players know he loves them, so in return he can train them harder.
“One thing I make sure to let my players know is that I am never too busy to build a relationship with each individual. Love is everything and when your players know you love them as a coach you can train them harder and they will do anything for you on the field.”
-BYU offensive line coach Ryan Pugh
“One thing I make sure to let my players know is that I am never too busy to build a relationship with each individual. Love is everything and when your players know you love them as a coach you can train them harder and they will do anything for you on the field.” Pugh explained.
Preston Hadley, BYU football Safeties coach knows that this BYU football team needs to believe and to be confident.
“You can’t be afraid, you can’t be afraid to fail, you have to believe and be confident in what you’re doing, and your abilities. And I know we are. What’s in the past is in the past. We acknowledge that there are areas that need improvement but I have a good feeling about this upcoming season. That is our mindset.” said Hadley.
When asking Hadley about the tough upcoming schedule, he is all for it.
“I mean who doesn’t want to play on a big stage against the best? Every time I reference back to my times as a player it’s never the games against the teams we knew we could beat. I”m always talking about the games we weren’t sure of. I think any competitor is going to want those big games.” said Hadley.
When asking BYU football players what they are looking forward to most this season, getting back on the field to put their hard work to the test is the answer.
For Moroni Laulu-Pututau, BYU football Tight End, coming off of an injury, he can’t wait to get back on the field.
“I can’t wait to just play again. It’s been almost a year dealing with this injury and I can’t wait to start playing again. Football is what I’ve been doing my whole life and have put so many hours into so I can’t wait for that opportunity again.” said Laulu-Pututau
Corbin Kaufusi, BYU football Defensive Line, he’s learning from the example of his brother, Bronson Kaufusi.
“Career-wise there are a lot of things that are very similar about us. I also feel like there are so many things that are different. The way we play, mentalities and what not. Bronson went before me and kind of paved a path. Without that, it’s a lot harder to find your own way. At the same time I need to take what he’s done, learn from it, and then pave my own way as well.” said Kaufusi
“I can’t wait to get out there and do the thing I love. The thing I have worked so hard for. Everyone has been asking me if I’m ready for the season and honestly I would answer no. We still have another month and there is so much to get done. But when the season does roll around, we will be ready. I know this season is tough, but I’m ready to take these games however they want to come.” Kaufusi explained.
BYU football Media Day was one that wasn’t as hyped as most in the previous years, but one that will be most exciting to watch the outcome.
As BYU football will duel in the desert with Arizona on September 1st, they will be ready to battle it out to see what they’re made of.
As for now, it’s time for the Cougars to keep pushing, keep practicing, keep putting in the extra work, and keep grinding. The only way to go from here is up.
Courtney Tietjen is an ESPN 960 intern who is currently attending Brigham Young University.