I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. I love BYU football, which I guess is evident from my writing of the book 13-0: Reflections of Champions. But I have followed BYU football since I first became a student there in 1983. Okay, no comments about how old I am. But yes, Steve Young was the quarterback at the time.
It got into my blood with the '83 team that made it possible for the 1984 team to win the National Championship and it never left.
Every week there is a game, my husband and make careful plans to be parked in front of our television set, football food in place, drinks in place and our attention glued to the television screen. It is something we really enjoy doing together. (Alvin hates pregame and postgame traffic, so we watch the games from home.)
See my handsome nephew up above? Sete Aulai is the center and the team captain. I didn't know about the team captain thing until we had dinner the other night with him. This fantastic football player is graduating in April with a degree in Sociology. So not only is he good . . . he's smart. Could I be prouder, no, not really. We had so much fun visiting with him. He and my husband grew up in the same town, went to the same high school (albeit a couple of decades apart) and remembered all the same places. We ate good food, listened to music for hours and generally enjoyed the quiet time we had with him before football season starts --- in less than 36 HOURS!
I've cruised all over the internet and blogworld looking at the fan sites, sports sites, etc. looking to see what the general consensus about the BYU football team is. Some see it the way I do, others don't.
That's our other nephew, Harvey Unga, provin' his stuff in Spring practice. Now he is the starting running back. Also a very amazing young man dedicated to his studies and football.
Here's the way I see it. Here's my prediction: The BYU Cougars will go undefeated and will show the world the magnitude of the team they have become under the careful tutelage of Bronco Mendenhall, Robert Anae and the other coaches. They are Bronco's "Sons of Helaman" and he is not ashamed to call them such. The night before every game the players speak at a fireside in whatever city they are in. Tonight they'll be in Pleasant Grove. Is that amazing or what? I love hearing about the spiritual side of this football team. They truly have become that Band of Brothers Bronco wanted them to become.
Sete mentioned that Bronco is a strict disciplinarian. He wasn't complaining, in fact he seemed to appreciate it. But Bronco's strict sense of what is right or wrong, his insistence on physical, emotional and spiritual strength is amazing. I'm so pleased with the direction this team has taken and the young men that comprise the team.
Tonight Alvin and I will be at the Legends Grill on BYU's campus speaking to members of CougarNet and the Athletic Hosts along with Dick Harmon.
Dick Harmon's take on the upcoming game was in his column today:
PROVO — Time is closing in on BYU's season opener against Arizona on Saturday and coach Bronco Mendenhall said he still has several aspects of the game to work on today as his team finalizes a game plan for the Wildcats.And so we will see. Will Sete, Harvey, Eathan and the gang be able to take Arizona? Oh yeah, without even breaking a sweat. Okay, maybe they'll sweat, but they'll look good doin' it. We have another team building up to a National Championship because the BCS will be broken one way or the other. Someone is going to get guts and money enough to go after them and break that petty monopoly formed to keep a team like the Cougars from ever taking a championship again. Nice try . . . ain't gonna work, jackasses.
"We have a couple of situations to clean up, things that, if they happen in a game you'd feel bad if you hadn't worked on them," said Mendenhall. "After (Thursday), they'll all be done."
The Cougars and Wildcats kick off their seasons Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised live nationally on Versus and regionally on The mtn. network.
Players went through a spirited practice Wednesday, working against Arizona scout teams both offensively and defensively. It is no secret Arizona has thrown out its offense deployed a year ago, one that averaged just over 16 points a game. The new look is from Texas Tech with the hire of former Red Raider offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes.
Fans in Tucson expect Arizona to hurl the football 50 to 60 times a game and bank that points will follow as the Wildcats eye a challenge to conference champion and national favorite USC.
That change is both a mystery and a familiarity to BYU. The Cougars are used to chasing receivers in practice, but how Arizona fine-tunes its Texas Tech offense to its talent and what emphasis is made is something only the game will illustrate.Have the Cougar defensive staff left anything undone heading into the weekend after three weeks of camp?
"No, we feel pretty good over what we've got done," said secondary coach Jaime Hill. "Whatever happens will happen. We're not scared. We're not worried. Whatever happens, happens."
Senior corner Ben Criddle is still a little beat up, said Hill, but he'll be leading the way with senior Quinn Gooch Saturday as the Cougars play a little mirror image of their own offense, said Hill.
"Ben is ready to go. He's not a hundred percent, but he's gotta be ready to go and he can't worry about his situation (foot surgery). "
Hill does not have any plan for the number of reps Criddle will handle come Saturday, and he does not know if he will spell him with backup Andre Saulsberry at the boundary corner position.
"You just have to go out and play; play the game, play to play and don't worry about being taken out, just play," said the coach. -->
The Wildcats will likely throw more deep passes than the Cougars, utilizing the speed on the team, according to Hill. "We'll see what happens. We feel good about our preparation."
COUGAR NOTES: The Maori war dance, the Haka, is back. Players rehearsed their chants and moves after Wednesday's practice, led by junior H-back Bryce Mahuika. Both home and away, the Cougars have made it a tradition the past two seasons ... Mendenhall announced freshmen defensive backs Jordan Pendleton and Steven Thomas will redshirt and a third newcomer, receiver Jordan Smith, could be redshirted depending on health of receivers in the next few weeks ... Senior Matt Allen (broken finger) did catch passes with a cast on his hand on Wednesday. His status for the game will be made at game time.
SELLOUT RESONATES: LaVell Edwards Stadium is sold out, and that rings a cord with players. "I'm excited about that," said linebacker Bryan Kehl. "It means a lot to me. It means the fans are supporting us, and we're doing well and we're having success."
"Obviously, the attendance rises and falls with success and with wins and losses. I'm excited to see the stadium full. I think they can expect to see a great football contest. It might not be a high-scoring charade, but being a defensive player, I don't like that anyway. I expect it to be a defensive battle, much like it was last year down in the desert in Tucson. I would say to the fans to wear blue and come expecting victory."
O-LINE HEALTH: Tackle Dallas Reynolds, who was nursing a shoulder last year, said he's ready to go and the rest of the blockers are as healthy as can be expected. Led by senior center Sete Aulai, the front line will get all it wants out of Arizona, a team with 10 returning starters. "I think our offensive line is the best it gets in college football. Knowing that those guys are up there protecting me, it really gives the offense more confidence."
Saturday at 3:30 we'll be parked in front of our t.v. set cheering the team on, yelling extra loud for all of the nephews. Drop on by and join us if you don't go to the game. In the meantime . . .
Rise, all loyal Cougars and hurl your challenge to the foe.
We will fight, day or night, rain or snow.
Loyal, strong, and true
Wear the white and blue.
While we sing, get set to spring.
Come on, Cougars, it's up to you. Oh!
Rise and shout, the Cougars are out
along the trail to fame and glory.
Rise and shout, our cheers will ring out
As you unfold your vict'ry story.
On you go to vanquish the foe
for Alma Mater's sons and daughters.
As we join in song in praise of you our faith is strong.
We'll raise our colors high in the blue
And cheer our Cougars of BYU.