Men's Football Blog

Newcomer Questionnaire: O'Neill Chambers

Dec 08, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 2:41 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

During Fall Camp I sat down to talk with several of the newcomers on the 2008 BYU team, and asked them, among other things, why they decided to come to BYU and what they were looking forward to the most in the months and years to come.

O'Neill Chambers

Harmony, Florida

Wide Receiver

Where do you fall in your family?

I’m the second youngest. I have three sisters and two brothers.

What made you decide to come play here at BYU?

It was something new and they have a good program. They throw the ball a lot. I used to have dreams about coming here, so it’s something I wanted to do.

Do you know what you want to study here at BYU?

Mathematics and engineering.

Is there a veteran member of the team that you look up to?

Terrance Hooks.

What is your favorite football memory?

It would have to be my freshman year, playing in my first game and making my first catch on varsity.

Who has been your greatest football influence?

My mom and my dad. Professionally, Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson.

What are you looking forward to the most as a BYU football player?

Coming out here and having fun. Hopefully accomplish my goals and the team goals, and get my degree here.

What’s your favorite movie and why?

“Love and Basketball” because basketball is my second sport. It has a lot of meaning to it and it comes to heart every time I watch it.

Pregame Fireside: Utah

Nov 21, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 11:36 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Tonight's fireside was held at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. It was only a short distance from the team hotel, so we walked instead of taking the buses like we normally do.

Junior linebacker Matt Bauman, who attended Skyline High School here in Salt Lake, was the first speaker. He recounted his first fall camp at BYU as a walk-on and how unprepared he felt. He compared that to a learning experience he had on his mission to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

"Whether you're being beat up on the football field or on a spiritual field, those experiences help you become stronger," he said.

Bauman also addressed the importance of setting a good example for those around you. He used the example that it is easy to say you are going to be kind to someone, but actually putting kindness into action is harder to do.

"As we try and act like a disciple of Christ, that example shines through to others," said Bauman.

A group of players, consisting of Kellen Fowler, David Tafuna, Nick Alletto, Travis Uale, Coleby Clawson, Brenden Gaskins and Landon Jaussi, followed Bauman's talk by singing "Redeemer of Israel". Wide receiver Reed White accompanied them on the piano.

Junior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen was the second player to address those in attendance. He began by saying, "For us to experience eternal life we must know God. The meaning is simple, but to actually do that is a little harder."

The Helper, Utah native went on to ready Doctrine & Covenants 124:15 in which the Lord expresses his love for Hyrum Smith, brother of the prophet Joseph Smith.

"And again, verily I say unto you, blessed is my servant Hyrum Smith; for I, the Lord, love him because of the integrity of his heart, and because he loveth that which is right before me, saith the Lord."

Asking ourselves if we love that which is good is a good test to see exactly where we are in our quest to "know God". The simple things, like reading your scriptures daily and saying your personal prayers, are seemingly simple things that have a real impact.

"It is during those quiet times that you come to know your Heavenly Father the most," said Jorgensen.

He closed by reading a poem entitled, "Jake the Rancher" which illustrates the importance of knowing your Heavenly Father.

For a link to the poem, which was read in a 2002 BYU-Idaho devotional, CLICK HERE.

Thursday's Hero

Nov 20, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 5:42 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Tonight the team honored Kelly Edwards as this week's Thursday's Hero. In September of last year, Kelly was diagnosed with brain, liver and kidney cancer and was expected to have only two months to live. Shortly thereafter, he was called to serve as the bishop of the Spring Creek Ward in Lehi, Utah.

Last week Kelly and his family received the news doctors had discovered eight tumors requiring immediate surgery. Tomorrow he will undergo procedures to remove seven of the eight tumors--one of which cannot be removed due to its location on his brain stem.

Kelly was introduced to the team by freshman wide receiver Matt Marshall.

Fireside Reminder

Don't forget about the team's final pregame fireside of the regular season tomorrow night at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square at 7 p.m.

Travis Bright: The Sound of the Crowd

Nov 19, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 12:26 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

What do you enjoy most about being a BYU football player?

I think there are 2 things I enjoy most about being a BYU football player, first is the closeness of the team and second is the sound of the crowd on game day in LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Playing in college obviously has the reputation of being more competitve than high school and having more separation between offense and defense with on and off the field involvement. But at BYU I have had the opportunity of having good friends on both sides of the ball. When we are either working out in the off-season, doing one-on-one drills with the defensive line or playing in the games we are all cheering each other on. I have had a great time being able to develop friendships at BYU that will be lifelong.

The the other thing that I love about being a BYU player is hearing the BYU fans erupt on game day when we run the flag out to start the game. It is a feeling that is hard to explain because you're excited, nervous, and pumped all in the same moment. I remember the first time BYU did the Haka and hearing the crowd go crazy when the player finished, that was a sound I will never forget. to be able to hear 65,000+ fans scream all at the same time does something to you inside that makes you want to go out and crush the opposing team more than ever. The BYU fans are incredible to have because when our defense is on the field their noise is like having a 12th guy on the field to distract the team with all that noise. As a player playing in another stadium where the crowd is loud it adds an extra element of difficulty, I know our fans are one of the loudest in the nation and you can tell by how well we do at home.

What do you enjoy to do besides football?

Some of the things that I enjoy doing outside of football is being with my family, going shooting or just working/playing on my truck.

My family is the most important thing in my life and I love to be with them whenever I get the chance. My wife Alison is my very best friend and we have a blast joking, teasing or just hanging out with each other. My son Bo is the coolest little guy and I just love playing with him when I come home for the day. Alison and I like to go to watch movies together, go on walks with Bo, go to the zoo or duck pond, anything to be together.

I also love to be outdoors being active and having fun, one of the things that I love doing outside is shooting my guns. I am always itching to go out and shoot any of my guns. I like to shoot clay pigeons with the shot-gun or target practice with one of my rifles or hand-guns. Alison says I have too many guns but I figure guns are like good friends, you can never have too many. But then if the weather isn't accomidating or if I am just bored I like to grab one of my guns and clean it again while I watch TV. So anytime I get to shoot, I'll take it!

Then finally I have a love affair with my other girl, my truck Betsy. I love my 1985 Ford F-150, I have so many memories with this truck that the sentimental value to me is prcieless! My dad bought it when I was about 7yrs and she's been in the family since. I just love taking a ride so I can listen to her engine rumble, working on the engine, or just tinkering on her. Betsy has been pretty loyal to me over the years exept for 2 transmissions and 1 engine replacement, but for having over 280,000 miles I think she's doing just fine. So one day I plan on doing a complete custom/restoration rebuild but until then I'll keep nursing her to get through the years.

Visit Travis' bio page here.

Pregame Fireside: Air Force

Nov 14, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 10:20 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Tonight’s fireside at the Colorado Spring Stake Center began with a talk by former BYU running back, and current student-assistant, Kelly Bills. Bills introduced the theme of his talk by posing the question, “Why is life so hard?” The official definition of the word “hard” states: difficult to manage, overcome and deal with.

“We often try to survive our problems, rather than endure them,” said Bills. “The difference is merely existing, as opposed to being obedient and following in faith. The key to life is to come unto Christ; going from where we’re currently at to where He is.”

Junior defensive lineman Brett Denney followed Bills’ talk by playing “I Believe In Christ” on his violin, accompanied by senior running back Wayne Latu on the piano.

Junior tight end Andrew George, who hails from Englewood, Colo., was the second player to speak. He focused on how we can recognize and fulfill our own personal life callings. George shared several examples of people who have strived to fulfill their life callings, beginning with the story of John Rowe Moyle and the trials he faced as he worked as a stone mason during the building of the Salt Lake Temple. George also shared Alma 29:1-6.

“Alma knew his calling,” reiterated George. “He was to preach the Gospel to the people, but he wanted to do it with a greater power than he could do himself. “

George closed his talk by reading Mosiah 18:8-9.

8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life.

“Everyone’s life calling is to stand as a witness of God,” said George. “We all have our own individual life callings, but they are all similar in that they revolve around family, striving to do what’s right and serving the Lord.”

Thursday's Hero and Scott Johnson Update

Nov 13, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 6:16 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Thursday's Hero

The team recognized 22-year-old Jaren from Brigham City, Utah as this week's Thursday’s Hero. Jaren is a huge fan of BYU football and especially freshman linebacker Matt Putnum, who hails from the same city.

Jaren attended Utah Valley University and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil, but has recently been diagnosed with Sarcoma cancer. Sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that affects the soft tissue and various radiation and chemotherapy treatments have proven ineffective. Next month Jaren will undergo a new procedure to try and combat the cancer.

“You are around our age and we appreciate your sacrifice and your example,” said junior linebacker Jeff Bell as he presented Jaren with a Fui jersey, some hats and a signed team flag.

Freshman linebacker Spencer Hadley presented the team flag to Jaren, asking him to sign it. Senior linebacker Terrance Hooks also presented Jaren with the team coin, telling him that Coach Mendenhall wouldn’t ask him to do push-ups if he didn’t have it when asked for, like he does with the players.

Jaren graciously accepted all of the gifts and left the Cougars with some words of encouragement, explaining that he was very humbled and grateful for the opportunity he had to be at practice and share that special moment with the BYU football team.

Scott Johnson Update

After practice today I caught up with junior defensive back Scott Johnson to find out how the past couple weeks have changed since the season-ending double-groin injury he suffered against CSU.

“Nothing has changed much, schedule-wise,” he said. “I’m still around for the same amount of time. I’m not at a point where I can work out, but I still come to practice. My role is to help the guys who are filling positions to know exactly what they are supposed to be doing so we don’t miss a beat. I’m mostly here for moral support now.”

While Johnson admits he has more time to concentrate on his schoolwork now that he is off the official travel roster, he has high hopes of returning and contributing by the time bowl season rolls around.

“I’m not supposed to test [the injury] out right now,” he said. “It’s tough to say, but I’m going to say yeah I’ll be back for the bowl game to give whatever support I can—whether it’s to play or practice.”

BYU’s secondary has taken several injury hits over the past couple weeks, forcing younger players like Andrew Rich and Brandon Bradley to step up and fill those roles.

“Those guys are doing a great job,” said Johnson. “There’s a lot more emotion out there and everyone's fitting into their positions. We haven’t lost anything with guys coming in and playing different positions.”

Fireside Reminder

For those who will be in the Colorado Springs area this weekend, don't forget about the team's weekly pregame fireside. This week's fireside will be held at Colorado Springs Stake Center located at 155 Pine Ave. The program will begin at 7 p.m.

Player Journals

One last thing, make sure you check out the "Player Journals" section of the website. I have contacted several of the players and will periodically add more entries to that section. The newest entry to be added is by senior punter CJ Santiago who writes about the life lessons he has learned since playing here at BYU under Coach Mendenhall.

CJ Santiago: Seeing a Greater Purpose

Nov 13, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 2:35 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

I feel that the most important lesson that I've learned from Coach Mendenhall is how unimportant football is compared to other aspects of our lives--starting with faith, our education, family and friends. I think what Coach Mendenhall has really done is put things in perspective on the importance of life. What many young athletes don't think about is even the best football players don't play more than fifteen or twenty years, while the majority of us don't play past the collegiate level.

Coach Mendenhall is preparing us for a life that has nothing to do with football. By helping us succeed in the classroom first, he is helping us paint a picture of our future. It's not always the clearest picture, but it is a start, and it is definitely pointing us in the right direction.

What's funny is I am starting to realize that by spending more time on faith, education and with family, that it is improving our quality of life, which in turn has been leading to success on the football field.

It is said that one of the greatest fears among young adults is the fear of the unknown, and that is one thing that this program is trying its best to eliminate. With such a strong emphasis on education here, along with the help of our advisers and guidance counselors I feel that fear of the unknown isn't a huge problem. The majority of us know what we want to do and are taking the necessary steps to attain these goals.

I think one reason Coach Mendenhall has been able to get more out of us as a team is because we are starting to see a greater purpose in what we are doing. He says that our success in football is just a vehicle to drive a more important message. It is more than just football. He is pushing us to succeed in life as businessman, teachers, coaches, doctors, lawyers, fathers, sons, husbands, etc. And I think it is when we see that clear vision of our future--and we know it is within reach, and we get that sigh of relief, that moment of joy--that nothing seems impossible.

It is times like these when we can work harder than we ever thought, exceed expectations, overcome any obstacles, and play football because we love the game. So basically, what I have learned and what I'll never forget is to remember what's important in life, to find your passion, and let it fuel a fire that can never be put out.

Visit CJ's bio page here.

Thursday's Hero

Nov 06, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 8:05 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

The BYU football team honored seven-year-old Andrew Felsted as Thursday’s Hero, giving him the coveted signed “Y” flag, Fui Vakapuna jersey and team coin. Andrew also signed his name on the team flag that is carried out onto the field each game day.

One year ago, Andrew had brain surgery to remove medulla blastula cancer. After his surgery he also had 36 days of radiation and a few rounds of chemotherapy. For any age, this would be quite the ordeal to overcome, but this six-year-old fought through it all, and is now expected to live a long and healthy life.

The Cougars applauded this young cancer survivor as Wayne Latu, Vakapuna and Isaac Taylor presented him his gifts.

Fireside Reminder

Don't forget about the Cougars' pregame fireside tomorrow night at 7 p.m. This week's fireside will be hosted by the Springville West Stake. The address of the chapel is:

996 W. Center Street

Springville, UT

Come support the team! And don't forget to come watch BYU's final home game of the season at home in LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday. WEAR BLUE!!!

Newcomer Questionnaire: Iona Pritchard

Nov 04, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 11:14 am | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

During Fall Camp I sat down to talk with several of the newcomers on the 2008 BYU team, and asked them, among other things, why they decided to come to BYU and what they were looking forward to the most in the months and years to come.

Iona Pritchard

South Jordan, UT

Linebacker

What made you decide to come play here at BYU?

It’s a good place with good people that have the same standards of me.

Do you know what you want to study here at BYU?

I don’t know yet, I’m not sure. I’m planning to go on a mission after this season, so I’ll figure all that out after.

What is your favorite football memory?

Just playing the game. The game is fun.

Who has been your greatest football influence?

My dad. He taught me how to play and taught me a lot about that game. That’s probably why I’m so passionate about it.

What are you looking forward to the most as a BYU football player?

I’m looking forward to fall camp and getting ready to play ball. I want to work hard and see where that gets me. That’s my goal for right now.

What’s your favorite movie and why?

“Dark Knight” for right now. It’s a good movie and better than all the other ones I have seen recently.

Pritchard has seen playing time in all of BYU's nine games so far this season, recording 10 tackles, one forced fumble and one quarterback hurry. He has also seen a few reps on the offensive side of the ball.

Pregame Fireside: Colorado State

Oct 31, 2008 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 9:54 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Tonight’s fireside in Fort Collins featured talks by freshman linebacker Jadon Wagner, freshman defensive back Blake Morgan, head coach Bronco Mendenhall and BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson.

Wagner, who served his mission in the Colorado Denver North mission from 2004-06, started the night by reading Matt. 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” In relation to missionary work, Wagner shared a personal experience when he was not prepared and chose not to share the gospel with an acquaintance.

“I regretted not sharing the Gospel, but now I understand why I didn’t,” he said. “It wasn’t my treasure at the time. Through prayer, daily repentance and use of the Atonement, the Gospel will become our treasure and we will have the power to share it.”

Following Wagner’s talk, defensive back Scott Johnson and linebackers Matt Bauman and Coleby Clawson stood to sing an acapella version of Hymn No. 335, “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy.”

Morgan, who hails from Greeley, Colo., was the next to speak, pulling quotes from a talk entitled, “Discipleship” given by President James E. Faust during the October 2006 General Conference.

“The word for disciple and the word for discipline both come from the same Latin root—discipulus, which means pupil,” quoted Morgan. “It emphasizes practice or exercise. Self-discipline and self-control are consistent and permanent characteristics of the followers of Jesus, as exemplified by Peter, James, and John, who indeed “forsook all, and followed him.”

“There have been times in my life when I’ve struggled to do what is right, as we all have at one time or another,” shared Morgan. “But discipleship is a price we should always be willing to pay. When we stand up for what’s right Heavenly Father rewards us.”

After the team’s traditional performance of “We’ll Bring the World His Truth,” Coach Mendenhall stood to speak. He described a true disciple as someone who is willing to take a moment, acknowledge someone else, put his or her arm around them and help emphasize what’s important.

Mendenhall pointed out that the Cougars started the 2005-2007 seasons with only one win and two or three losses. He expressed his appreciation for those situations because, “We were able to learn early who we were.” The team’s loss to TCU a few weeks ago, midway through the season, presented a much different challenge.

“We thought we were someone else,” said Mendenhall. “The adversary wants us to think the same way about ourselves. When we think we’re someone else, opportunities come and go and are missed.”

President Samuelson closed the fireside, sharing a brief message about the importance of institute and the power it has an effective missionary tool.

“The institutes of religion around the country are some of the greatest tools to share the Gospel,” he said. “We all have the blessing and responsibility to share the Gospel.”

To read Pres. Faust's talk referenced by Blake Morgan, CLICK HERE.