BYU football: Travis Uale's unique journey offers different perspective on rivalry
"Just through perseverance, he ended up earning a scholarship after getting playing time and has been voted our captain," Mendenhall said. "Our staff was talking to Travis one day and he was really caring for a teammate at a pretty unusual level and helping him. Our staff was inquiring about why was he doing that. He just said, 'Because I love him.' Leadership is about service and that was coming from a player. So I think he taught our coaches a lot about leadership from that kind of comment. So he's remarkable."
In last week's 17-16 loss at Texas, Uale recorded nine tackles and an interception.
"Travis has the ability to put us in the right defenses. With the exception of one just play against Texas, he's doing that at a really high level," Mendenhall said, comparing Uale's play to predecessors at that position like Scott Johnson and Kellen Fowler. "It's not that they have dominant physical ability, but their ability to put us in the right positions. He's taking that role on at a very similar level as the other players had before him. And that's the most critical role at that spot."
"Travis is a great player," said BYU linebacker Jameson Frazier. "I trust that guy completely and I know that he's going to be making the right calls and he's not going to give up."
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said this week that Uale "did a nice job for us here." He explained that the program did not have a scholarship for Uale upon his return from a mission, but Whittingham said he was working toward that end.
"He's a great kid and he had some athleticism and a good frame on him," Whittingham said. "We thought in our system he would make a good linebacker, but obviously he didn't rejoin us after the mission so it was a moot point."
Uale has taken the road less traveled, checkered with both red and blue. He couldn't be happier about finding at home at BYU.
"The journey was really long, looking back at it. I don't know if I'd be able to take it again," he said. "It was a hard road, but I'm glad I made the decision to come here."
Red & Blue
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham: BYU linebacker (1978-81), graduate assistant (1985-86)
Utah offensive coordinator Norm Chow: BYU assistant (1973-99)
Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake: BYU fullback (1994, 97-2000), graduate assistant (2002)
Utah wide receivers coach Aaron Roderick: BYU wide receiver (1996-98), graduate assistant (2000-01)
BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi: Utah graduate assistant/defensive line/ends coach (1994-2001)
Cougars, Utes on the air
Utah (1-1) at BYU (1-1)
Saturday, 7:15 p.m.
LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo
Radio: 700 AM, 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
CONTRIBUTING: Dirk Facer
- AP source: Irving, Barnes finish US Olympic...
- Federer out to turn around frustrating season...
- With 1-0 loss to Colombia, US finishes 4th in...
- Ipsen, Hixon get Olympic 3-meter spots,...
- National champion Sam Mikulak leads US men's...
- Past few days 'difficult' for former...
- Defending champ Serena Williams at Wimbledon...
- Chile wins 2nd straight Copa America title as...
- Never on Sunday: BYU won't compete on... 168
- Kalani Sitake on BYU-Utah rivalry: 'I... 74
- Sitake not intimidated by BYU's arduous... 59
- Dick Harmon: 1996 Cotton Bowl champion... 47
- Morning Links: BYU basketball fans... 43
- Morning links: Colin Cowherd compares... 34
- Utah Jazz plan to be 'active' during... 24
- Sitake making transition from longtime... 20