With less than a week away from the first game, the BYU football team has begun en force to prepare for its first opponent — Ole Miss — during practices.
Last week’s workouts were more assignment and execution focused and instructional for the whole team.
“[The focus last week was] really execution, making sure we’re doing the exact right thing at the right time and kind of building that trust, knowing that everybody is going to be doing that when they’re supposed to,” said senior offensive lineman Matt Reynolds.
Friday was the first practice where a few plays were tried out that will be used this Saturday, when the Cougars travel to Oxford, Miss., to take on the Rebels.
“I thought we looked really good,” Reynolds said. “This was our first day with some of our plays in that we’re going to be running against Ole Miss, so there were some mistakes that we need to clean up. There was some confusion that we need to make sure gets taken care of, but other than that I feel like it was a good day.”
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall said the team has been showing more excitement and energy for the Ole Miss game. Fans can be excited in knowing that this year’s team has experienced “the fewest injuries” during fall camp in the head coach’s six-year career, according to Mendenhall.
Mendenhall said he attributes the lack of injuries to this year’s practice format.
“There’s always a trade-off. We didn’t tackle nearly as much and didn’t so as much live, full-speed work in terms of scrimmages,” he said. “My hope is the health of the team can override what we sacrificed in that capacity.”
Along with working the team hard in practice, the coaches have also focused the team’s preparation with film study.
Defensive back Jordan Johnson said secondarys coach Nick Howell has especially pushed the importance of film study this past week. He said they spend an hour to two a day watching film.
Johnson, who was a redshirt last year, said he and the team are ready to play this first game.
“We’re prepared mentally and physically,” he said. “Personally, I’m kind of impatient because of being a redshirt last year. I’ll finally be able to be out there and play. I’m just counting down the days.”
And for the fans who are also counting down the days until kickoff, the countdown can now be done on one hand.