On a breezy, crisp afternoon, the BYU football team took to the field at Burleson Centennial High School for their last official practice in preparation for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
BYU used up the afternoon with mostly team sessions, doing plenty of live work to get tuned up. The Cougars will conduct a final walk-through Thursday afternoon before facing Tulsa on Friday.
“The team has been consistent. The team has prepared really well, played well and practiced well, nothing really has changed,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall
said. “We are playing a good opponent and one that is a great matchup. In terms of our preparation I’m very comfortable.”
The staple of BYU’s teams over the years have been high-powered offenses but this year’s team features one of its stingiest defenses in recent years. The Cougars are ranked No. 16 total defense along with the No. 8 pass efficiency defense, No. 21 rushing defense and No. 23 scoring defense. That defense will face a difficult test against a Tulsa team with explosive offense that ranks in the top 25 in several categories as well.
With a similar opponent and having an opportunity to win 10 games for the fourth time in ten years, BYU is anxious to get back onto the field for one more game.
“Everyone is really focused and really dialed in and ready to play,” linebacker Brandon Ogletree
said. “I think the vibe from the team is we are really anxious to play. We know Tulsa is hungry and we are hungry too.”
Ogletree, a Texas native, has enjoyed being able to play close to home once again this year, closing out the season in his home state.
“This bowl has been awesome and top notch,” Ogletree said. “The atmosphere in Texas has been great and we couldn’t have asked for anything better. There is a lot of things you can do here you can’t in Provo.”
Former BYU wide receiver Margin Hooks was also visiting practice, offering words of wisdom for the current wide receivers. Hooks is from Waco, Texas and finished his BYU career with 189 receptions for 2,841 yards and 14 touchdowns. Hooks is fourth in career-receiving yards at BYU.
The Cougars will continue to enjoy more bowl game activities and conduct a walk-through practice on Thursday before kickoff on Friday, December 30.