I like hostile environments. I like having the fans not rooting for you. It’s a fun environment. … Playing on the road creates some unique challenges. We’re up to the challenge. —Taysom Hill, BYU quarterback
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — BYU has traveled a little more than 2,000 miles for its season opener at Virginia.
It’s the first of several long-distance road trips for the Cougars this season. There will also be visits to Houston, Wisconsin and Notre Dame in the coming months.
“It gives us a lot of opportunity,” quarterback Taysom Hill said about the 2013 schedule. “I think it’s important that we as a team don’t get ahead of ourselves. This week we play Virginia and that’s where all of our time and attention is. We’re getting ready to play and beat a good football team.”
Players and coaches have been looking forward to coming to Virginia for quite a while.
“For younger guys, it’s new to them, so they’re kind of giddy and excited to go somewhere,” said senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy. “But they’ll understand when they’re around the veterans that it’s a business (trip) and that we’re going there to win. I think they’ll understand that quickly and think they’ll have that same edge because they want to be prepared for the game.”
Hill’s favorite part about road games?
“I like hostile environments,” he said. “I like having the fans not rooting for you. It’s a fun environment. Playing on the road creates some unique challenges. We’re up to the challenge. For some guys that haven’t been in a game environment, it might be a little hard to go on the road. It’s going to be loud; guys are going to be booing us. Offensively, it makes things difficult when you try to make calls at the line of scrimmage and people are screaming and yelling. It adds a unique challenge. But I like the guys around us and we’re going to take care of business.”
FIRESIDE FUN: The Cougars were scheduled to stage their first traditional fireside Friday night at the Charlottesville Wards Meeting House.
Among those expected to attend was sophomore running back Jamaal Williams.
“I’ll probably go to the fireside,” Williams said earlier this week, “sit there for a minute and try to sing the thingies. What are they called?”
“Yeah, try to sing those things. I don’t sing; I just mumble. They give us a paper. I try to read it, but I don’t know which line to go from. I just sit there, be a nice boy and smile and wave. Firesides are funny. But it’s really great to see that many people out there to come see a team that’s not even from their state and see how many people pack into a church to come see the football team as well. I’m grateful for having these firesides, even if I’m not LDS.”
TEAM CAPTAINS: Coach Bronco Mendenhall announced this week that wide receivers Skyler Ridley and JD Falslev, linebacker Uani Unga and safety Daniel Sorensen will serve as team captains this season.
“Those guys are all heart,” said senior running back Michael Alisa. “That’s the kind of attitude we need on offense. They’re the type of guys that are all heart and inspire everyone around them.”
Many were surprised that Van Noy wasn’t named a team captain, but he isn’t concerned about it.
“It doesn’t really matter. It’s a team decision. I’m happy for the captains we have,” Van Noy said. “They’re really good players and really good leaders. It’ll help out our team. I’m still a leader. It doesn’t mean I have to be a captain to be a leader. It’s just going out and flipping a coin toss. I don’t think I have the best luck in the world anyways. I think I’ll just enjoy running out of the tunnel and being a leader that leads by example.”