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.”
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.
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.