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Men's Football Blog

Craig Bills and Daniel Sorensen on the 2013 and 2012 seasons

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by McKay Perry at 2:41 pm | Permalink
Bills and Sorensen on what they're looking forward to in 2013:
“Right now, probably Virginia,” Bills said. Sorensen agreed. 
As an independent, BYU has been fortunate to play in many venues across the nation. 
“I liked playing at Notre Dame,” Bills said.  “I think it’s just the tradition they have. When we came into the stadium, their band was playing some cool stuff.”
Sorensen added, “Notre Dame was a really fun game.  Some other ones that stick out are when we played at Texas two years ago. Wisconsin should be a fun stadium to play in.”
The BYU defense achieved new heights last year with a dominating defense, but the Cougars look to move forward and improve even more.
“I think that we just can’t be satisfied,” Bills said. “I think we need to avoid comparing ourselves to last season. There’s a lot of [roster] changes.”
But as serious as these players are, they like to have fun and enjoy a laugh once in a while.
“Are there any funny guys on the defense? Kyle’s pretty funny. Spencer’s pretty funny,” Bills and Sorensen said. “Most of the funny guys are the offensive lineman.”

Q & A with Bronson Kaufusi

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Jamie Morris at 1:56 pm | Permalink
Kaufusi talks about getting married.
“I’m marrying Hilary Smith. She’s a goalie on the BYU soccer team, and we’re getting married on July 6. We’re excited. She’s beautiful and wonderful. I’m a lucky guy.”
Why do you like basketball and football? How are they different?
“I love football. I love the camaraderie and physicality of it. I love the one-on-one situations and the challenges on each down.
“You have that one-on-one situation with basketball as well, but I just love how smooth basketball is. It’s different from football. I love the style of the game and the teammates. It’s a little bit different team setting. It’s a smaller team, and you know everyone’s names, whereas in football you have a bigger team and don’t know everyone. Sometimes you just see their number and helmet and that’s it.”
If there was one thing you could tell the fans that they don’t know about you, what would it be?
“I didn’t play in a football or basketball game for four years because I got hurt my senior year so I didn't get to play again until after my mission.”

Q&A with coach Nick Howell

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 1:42 pm | Permalink
Where have you been this summer?
“I’ve been a lot of places. All over the West, back East a couple of times and Texas. We’ve done a lot of travelling this year.”
Anything you’ve done with the family this year?
“I was able to coach my kid's baseball team, that was fun. Hope I can keep on doing that. They did well. The kids did well and won a few games.”
What do you watn the attitude of the secondary to be?
“I think we want to continue what we’ve been doing. They’re going to be really sound and play really hard. It’s going to be hard to pick us apart. I would like to increase the emphasis on turnovers. We've got to get more turnovers this year. We've got a lot of guys who like to get physical. We’ve proven over the past couple years that you’re going to get hit back there, but we’d like to turn a bunch of those into turnovers. That will be more of our mindset this year.”
Who’s the toughest coach on the defensive staff?
“Coach Tidwell, hands down, is the toughest guy.”
What is the food that you eat in those defensive staff meetings?
“Pickled and peppered spits, sunflower seeds, we’re huge on those. Coach (Tidwell) and coach Poppinga like the Coke Zeros. Coach (Kaufusi) and I are water guys. You know the traditional foods, we sit around chewing seeds and eating jerky talking about defense.”

Q&A with coach Kelly Poppinga

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 1:32 pm | Permalink
What bonds you as a deffensive staff?
“I think just having common goals and being trained by the same guy. Coach Mendenhall coached effort, discipline and passion. Coach Mendenhall, that’s him and it’s come down to every single one of us. All of us have those core values and what we want to teach our guys, and that’s what brings us together.”
You and Nick are not afraid to speak your mind (being the youngest defensive coaches)?
“No, even when I was a graduate assistant, coach Mendenhall didn’t treat us like graduate assistants. We were able to speak and give our opinions. You know sometimes those opinions were shot down.”
Toughest coach on the defensive staff?
“Coach Howell.”
Favorite place to play?
“That’s the University of Utah.”
Toughest coach you’ve gone against?
“That’s a good question. I would say Gary Patterson.”

Q&A with coach Jason Beck

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 1:27 pm | Permalink
Where are the places you like to go to with your family?
“We always go to Seven Peaks because we live close to there. A couple times a week we’ll go for an hour or two and cool off during the summer. Hiking the Y is always a popular place to go. Ruby River, I was excited to come back and go to Ruby River. That’s the place.”
Coach Atuaia listed you as the toughest offensive coach. What are your thought on that?
“He’s messing with you. I wouldn’t take that seriously.”
Who do you think the toughest coach is?
“Toughest? I don’t know, we’re all pretty dedicated to what we’re doing. I’d give it to the chief, coach Anae, he’s probably doing this the longest. O-line guys are always tough playing (the position) and coaching it.”
What are you looking forward to most?
“Really it’s just the daily challenge of pushing myself and my guys to be the best that we can. Wherever we're at, it’s getting better and better every day. Obviously when you show up on Saturdays it’s a pretty exciting opportunity to display it in front of the TV, the crowd and the fans, but it’s that daily effort to push yourselves the furthest you can.”
Do you think the fans will enjoy the new offense?
“As long as we move the ball, I think they’ll enjoy it. Now if it’s three fast plays and a punt, not very much. If we’re moving the chains and getting up and down the field, you know, it will be a lot of fun to watch because there is less time between plays.”

Q&A with coach Mark Atuaia

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 1:20 pm | Updated: June 26, 2013 1:22 pm | Permalink
What are your expectations going into the season?
“They’re tempered right now. I’m trying to make sure we get our guys aligned with what coach Anae and coach Mendenhall want us to do. Quite frankly, I believe we’re moving in that direction. There is always room for improvement. My expectations are we’re going to follow whatever they say.”
What is the next level for the running backs?
“Right now I think we can improve on a lot of things. We've got a lot of talented guys in our group, but if we just rest on those laurels we’re not going to go anywhere.  I think we have a lot of opportunity now to get better."
Who’s the toughest coach on the offensive staff?
“Don’t ask them (the other offensive coaches), but I’m going to say Jason Beck, how about that? Just so I make Guy Holliday, Garett Tujague and coach Anae mad. Jason Beck, the toughest dude on offense!”
What have you been doing over the summer?
“Recruiting never stops in this job, so we’ve been recruiting a lot and holding summer camps which are going on today. This job is always busy, and you’re always doing things. Different aspects of your job are done at different times of the year, so I don’t think our workload ever stops.”

Coach Robert Anae on the Offense

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by McKay Perry at 1:15 pm | Permalink
Coach Robert Anae sat down to talk with us about the new offensive philosophy: Go hard. Go fast.
The new philosophy is rooted in Anae’s experience at the Univeristy of Arizona. When Rich Rodriguez became Arizona’s head coach, the system changed.
“How you conditioned in the off season, how you approached the weight room, how you practice, how you’re graded--that all changed,” Anae said. “I thought, ‘Dang. That would fit Bronco Mendenhall’s staff,’ because that’s exactly what he’s doing on the defensive side that promotes greatness.”
The application of the offensive philosophy will require more effort on the part of the players.
“Every guy in exit interviews said, ‘We had no idea. Oh my gosh, I’ve got to approach summer with a whole new mindset or this offense will throw me in the ditch,’” Anae said.  “Every guy came out of spring with a new awareness that he’s gotta get stronger and faster. They [the players] said to every one of their position coaches, ‘I was not ready for this.’”

Coach Guy Holliday on coming to BYU

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Sugene Lee at 1:04 pm | Permalink

Receivers coach Guy Holliday is entering his first season at BYU, with 20 years of coaching experience, and already has the heart of a Cougar.

“I’m a Cougar, and I’m not going to let you disrespect what’s happened here in the past or the future,” Holliday said of critics. “You’re not going to sit here and walk over us, and that’s the bottom line.”

As a newcomer to Provo, he is pleased with what he has seen so far.

“I’ve had a chance to work at a lot of places, but I think the main difference I’ve seen here is that, obviously you have a little more mature players and just the whole value system,” Holliday said. “Things you don’t have to worry about managing are a pleasure to be around.”

Holliday has high expectations for his players, and he will not accept anything less.

“Demand it,” Holliday said. “If they don’t do what you want, they don’t play… So you just demand it.”

Coach Steve Kaufusi on his son, Bronson, and coaching at BYU

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Sugene Lee at 12:59 pm | Permalink

BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi is entering his 11th season with the Cougars and hopes to see the best of his son, Bronson Kaufusi, this upcoming season.

“He’s excited,” Kaufusi said. “He feels like he’s in great shape, he’s stronger, he’s bigger, understands the scheme a lot better, so he’s excited to get going. He says, ‘Dad, I’m ready.’”

Bronson joined the BYU men’s basketball team during the 2012-13 season and as a result, got into better shape and can now “run like a deer.” Despite worries about injuries during the basketball season, Kaufusi allowed his son to make his own decisions.

Bronson even made a name for himself with his football nature on the basketball court and Kaufusi teased him about it as well.

“I’d tell him his job is to go in there and foul out,” Kaufusi joked. “I said, ‘Look, (Gonzaga) has a guy who’s supposed to be all that, well put him on the ground when you get a chance.’”

Aside from being excited about Bronson, Kaufusi is also grateful to be able to work at BYU with a calling as a bishop as well.

“I pinch myself everyday and ask myself, ‘Do I work here?’” Kaufusi said. “Sometimes we forget to smell the roses and look around a little bit and enjoy the blessings that we have working at a place like this.”

Coach Tujague on the offensive line

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by rwaite at 12:37 pm | Permalink
New offensive line coach Garett Tujague wants his offensive linemen to hit the ground running as the season gets started in the fall.
“They have to get in and get their feet wet,” he said. “There’s no standing on the side and watching. You can be a vicarious learner, get in the film room and do those kinds of things, but you have to get out there and do it.”
In his first year on the staff, Tujague faces the challenge of coaching a young offensive line and wants them to show him first that they are ready to fight in the trenches.
“Each one of our guys coming in has to demonstrate that they have a hard edge, that they can go out on the field and cross the line and get after it and be a nasty football player,” he said.
Tujague, who played on  BYU’s offensive line in the early 90's, knows the only way his athletes will be able to do that is by putting in extra effort.
“They can control their effort,” he said. “There are few things in life that we really have control over, and we can control our effort and we can control our attitude.”