When I played here, the offensive line was feared. We’re trying to instill that. I think we’re bringing back that ownership and pride of this team, the way Roger French did it. —Garett Tujague
PROVO — As he serves in his first season as BYU’s offensive line coach, Garett Tujague is channeling one of his mentors — Roger French.
French coached BYU’s offensive line for 21 years until his retirement in 2001. Both Tujague and offensive coordinator Robert Anae played under French.
“When I played here, the offensive line was feared — not only by the people we played but also by our own teammates,” Tujague said. “We’re trying to instill that. I think we’re bringing back that ownership and pride of this team, the way Roger French did it. Coach Anae and I both played under him. Our philosophies are pretty similar and are probably pretty in line with coach French’s. That, to me, is important because if you’re will is great, you have a pretty good chance of being successful.”
Tujague said the offensive linemen he’s working with in camp are “coachable. They’re doing a very good job as a young group of adapting.”
KEARSLEY’S STOCK CONTINUES TO RISE: When told that BYU fans got excited when offensive lineman Brayden Kearsley decided to attend BYU last winter, Tujague quickly interjected, “So did I.”
Coaches have been impressed with the true freshman from Aloha, Ore.
“His greatest strength right now is he’s fearless. You tell him to do something and it’s done,” Tujague said. “He’s not worried about hurting anybody’s feelings. And he’s good enough to back it up. He’s a puppy, and he’s got to learn some hard knocks. But I love his attitude and aggression and the way he attacks the game. He’s a physical specimen. He physically understands the game of football, leverage and angles and all that stuff. You incorporate that with a fearless mentality.”
GETTING READY FOR VIRGINIA: With the season opener at Virginia less than two weeks away, the Cougars are eager to play an opponent.
“It’s more of looking forward to the season,” said senior safety Daniel Sorensen. “We haven’t watched film on Virginia yet. I’m just excited to play some games. We’ll definitely be ready. They’re on our minds, but we haven’t started focusing on them yet.”
Coach Bronco Mendenhall said his team will begin preparing in earnest for the Cavaliers next Wednesday.
The Cougars have won six consecutive season openers under Mendenhall.
“Excluding my first year, I think we’ve been really well-prepared for our opener,” the coach said. “Our record after bye weeks is strong and our bowl game (record) is strong. So we have a model that’s pretty similar for all of those. I think that’s what we’ll do again this year.”