Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
BYU football players Steve McFarland, Daniel Sorensen, Victor Unga and Tucker Lamb enjoy food from the buffet at the ESPN Zone Welcome Reception at the New York New York Hotel in Las Vegas. The reception was for BYU and Arizona teams and they enjoyed arcade games, food and activities. Dec. 17, 2008 Photo by Stuart Johnson
The old adage says, "How you do anything is how you do everything."
If that is the case — if the BYU Cougar football team eats like they play football — then let me tell you how the post-game, celebratory potato bar and buffet may have gone after BYU's win Saturday at previously undefeated University of Houston.
BYU's senior safety Daniel Sorensen took a taste from each dish, embracing the entire buffet. He sometimes took right from another's plate. (What an interception!) He knows his relationship to his meal. He doesn't rely on anyone to pass him the potatoes. He gets up and gets it himself.
Yes, I can keep this food metaphor going.
Sorensen shares his meals as well. He slowed a Houston receiver down enough to allow senior Skye PoVey to tackle him within the 5-yard line. PoVey often follows closely behind Sorensen in the chow line, taking on anything edible left behind.
Though eating is everything to Taysom Hill, he just looks glad to be asked over for dinner. They don't have such fancy restaurants in his hometown of Pocatello, except that one drive-through by the freeway called "Speedy Spud." Hill eats with abandon, and then runs back to the line for more. If Boise State can't keep the fridge shut this Friday, he may have them for dinner.
The following players are not particular about what they eat. They throw everything into a pile and swallow it without chewing, using a slice-of-opponent for a napkin:
Safety Mike Haggis
liked the corn — quarterback John O'Korn to be exact. He pulled Houston's QB down for a 15-yard loss. Defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi liked wrapping his corn up and moving on down the line for more.
PoVey, Hague and Blake Morgan occasionally got burned as they filled in for defensive back Craig Bills, who was not cleared by doctors for Saturday's game.
It was a memorable celebration dinner for Cody Hoffman, who tied Austin Collie for the most touchdown receptions and surpassed Dennis Pitta for most receptions in BYU history (228).
Not only was Hoffman prolific, he was consistent — extending his personal streak of games in which he has caught one or more passes to 37.
"It feels good — being able to pass a great receiver like Pitta for catches," Hoffman said between bites. "I am not going to slow down, though. I am going to keep going and set the record even higher."
Keep the grub coming.
“That was definitely huge,” commented linebacker Alani Fua to the Daily Herald, pausing for air. “There were a lot of momentum changes in this game. We had the momentum, they had the momentum, it just kept going back and forth and back and forth.”
He was not talking about the potato bar.
Kicker Justin Sorensen doesn't take on as much as some of the other players, but he left nothing behind. He kicked off nine times — three of them touchbacks. He went 2-for-2 on field goals, converting from 20 and 41 yards, made all five extra points, and got the ball the-heck-out-of danger when his team was in a very tight spot at the end of the game.
Wide receiver Skyler Ridley caught the game-winning touchdown. He likes to eat his dessert first.
Ridley and the other team captains, receiver JD Falslev, linebacker Uani Unga (13 tackles), and Sorensen will not tell those at their side that they are not eating the dinner right. They will not say a word of reproach to the worst eater at the table. They lead by example and are not wasteful or disrespectful to the potato.
Leading it all
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall stands soberly at the head of the table. He nods to each player as they head to the buffet. He walks deliberately over to the display of food and checks on the presentation and technique of those being served.
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He will use dinner as a metaphor during team meeting before the Boise State game:
"Life is like a baked Idaho potato from Pocatello and the surrounding area," he will say, and he will mean it.
He will eat last. In private. With his family. He will not take off his shades, and he will tell no one, not even Greg Wrubell, what was on his plate.
But Boise State will be toast.
Davison Cheney wrote the Prodigal Dad series on KSL.com for several years. See his other writings at davisoncheneymegadad.blogspot.com and on Twitter @davisoncheney.