PROVO — With a Thursday night game against Boise State, the BYU football team doesn't have much time to lick its wounds following a brutal loss to Utah.
According to Cougar coaches and players, the Utah game is a distant memory and even a cooking ingredient, according to quarterback Riley Nelson.
"It's like when you accidentally drink vinegar and you're expecting it to be water — you want to spit it out as soon as possible — so that's what's happened to us out here today," said Nelson following Monday's practice. "We are saying all the right things, but they are true, at least as far as I'm concerned and at least as far as the guys I am leading and are behind me are concerned. The emotion is there and we're anxious."
Coach Bronco Mendenhall and his staff have accelerated the preparation process for Boise State accordingly, but it's nothing new for a team that has played its share of Thursday night games. Mendenhall was caught a bit off guard when asked if he was still thinking about the Utah game by reporters.
"It's really hard for anyone to understand, but as a coaching staff (the Utah) game already seems like it was a week ago," he said. "We've put so much work into Boise State already that until I get asked like this, I really don't think about it. There is no time to have a hangover."
LESSONS LEARNED: The environment at Rice-Eccles Stadium was a difficult one to play in, and BYU's coaches and players fully acknowledged how the crowd noise affected the team's execution. A lot of the execution issues were along the offensive front, which accounted for some bad snaps and multiple false-start penalties.
According to Mendenhall, he should have prepared his offense better for the crowd noise.
"I overestimated because we had so many seniors and we had been up there before that I thought they'd be more accustomed to it," the Cougars' head coach said. "I probably could have made a bigger deal about it in terms of blaring the music. Maybe we could have emphasized it a little bit more."
The good thing is that the team should be better prepared for the hostile environs of Boise State's Bronco Stadium as a result.
"It a hard place to go play, but we just came out of a difficult place to play," said Mendenhall. "Hopefully, we can apply some of the lessons we just learned and that's what I'm anxious to see."
DONE FOR THE YEAR: Mendenhall announced that offensive guard Houston Reynolds is done for the year after sustaining a torn Achilles tendon against Utah. He'll likely be replaced by Brock Stringham at the right guard position.
There have been many rumors surrounding how bad Nelson's back is hurt, but both Nelson and Mendenhall assured the media that he's fine.
"He's full go," said Mendenhall. "He ran with the ones (first string) today and he got hit hard in the game, but he's ready to go."
"My back is feeling really good," added Nelson.1 comment on this story
Defensive lineman Ian Dulan (back) and linebacker Zac Stout (Achilles) aren't expected to play against Boise State.
WORKING WILLIAMS: A surprise contributor against Utah was true freshman Jamaal Williams, who saw an increased workload as BYU's No. 2 running back option. He responded with 31 yards and his first career touchdown on eight carries.
"He was impressive and climbing (up the depth chart) from fall camp and with touches in earlier games," said Mendenhall. "We just continued to be impressed (with him), so that's just a natural progression."