PROVO — The BYU defensive players expect a lot from themselves and were roundly disappointed with their collective performance during the Blue and White game. The offense produced four touchdowns that was exactly four too many, according to defensive back Mike Hague.
“It wasn’t a great day for the defense,” Hague said. “Touchdowns are not good. No matter what we’re doing and who is in the game, touchdowns simply aren’t good — ever.”
BYU was without many of its expected starters such as Kyle Van Noy, Spencer Hadley, Daniel Sorensen and Eathyn Manumaleuna, but it’s something Hague and others refused to take solace in.
“We have a lot to work on and have a lot of things we need to do to get to where we need to be — that’s what I learned today,” said linebacker Manoa Pikula. “Some things were good, but this isn’t close to where we need to be, but we’ll learn and get better.”
The BYU offense dictated the pace early and marched down the field for 75-yard touchdown drives on the first two possessions. Offensive coordinator Robert Anae has preached a furious pace, and the offense very much practiced that directive with under 15 seconds between snaps for around 70 plays.
The pace set forth hit the defense squarely in the mouth and should help the defense make the proper adjustments to counteract it.
“If we can learn to play and communicate against this offense then it’s going to be a breeze (against others) just because of how fast it is,” Hague said. “If we can learn to line up and adjust to this offense, with how fast they run plays it’s all going to come together.”
The green jerseys that are donned to signify “no contact” were not worn by the quarterbacks Saturday afternoon. Every quarterback who participated was fair game with regards to contact and, although the defense prefers it that way, it took a while for them to adjust.
“With quarterbacks live we got a full recognition of what the offense is and we struggled with it,” Pikula said. “Anything goes when quarterbacks are live like that, and the quarterbacks used that to their advantage and I don’t feel we did take advantage like we could. We like the quarterbacks being live, but that and other things took us a bit off-guard and that can’t happen. We’ll adjust from this, though, and be much more better for it.”
Fan support noted
Around 12,000 fans were in attendance at Saturday’s game, which was noted by players and appreciated.
“I think last year only the first four rows were filled, but this year was incredible because of our great fans,” Pikula said. “Our fans are the best and it always makes us play harder when they come out and support us like they did today. We really appreciate all of their support.”
The aura of playing at LaVell Edwards Stadium independent of fans' support was also not lost on players such as offensive lineman Solomone Kafu.
“To play on the same field that so many great players have played on is an honor and a privilege,” Kafu said. “The stadium is named after a great man — a man who built BYU into what it is along with so many of the great players that have played here, so it’s always special to come out here and something I try not to take for granted.”