Utah Utes to face familiar faces in football season opener

Published: Wednesday, July 9 2014 4:35 p.m. MDT

“The good thing about these kids is they love these games. They have a chip on their shoulder. This is their opportunity. A lot of them feel like ‘I could play at a higher level’ and things like that,” Toone explained. “They kind of want to prove that. They look forward to these games. In no way do they go in thinking, ‘Hey, we’re going to bow down or anything, or we’re going to get killed.’ They’re looking to get out there and compete.”

That’s the attitude they have, Toone added.

Fifita agrees.

“The way I explain it to my guys is they’re football players just like you. They’re just regular guys. I will tell them that the level of execution is going to be a lot higher. The room for error is a lot less,” he said. “That stuff definitely comes into play. But, I don’t feel like it’s David versus Goliath.”

Fifita noted that he was an underdog as a player — a smaller guy — who had people telling him what he couldn’t do.

“I never believed it,” said Fifita, who added that whatever big odds people say Idaho State faces in the opener is out of the Bengals’ control. “I won’t play the David versus Goliath card, but the room for error is very minimal.”

Even so, Fifita is excited to see his defensive linemen get tested against the Utes.

“I’ve got a couple of guys that will put up a good fight there,” he said.

The Bengals are determined to become consistently successful.

“They’ve had some ups and downs. Most of it’s been toward the down, but we’re looking to build it the right way and build it from the ground up, which we’ve done,” said Toone, who is proud that Idaho State’s team grade point average is over 3.0. “So we have great kids. We’re building it the right way. When we get it successful we’re hoping that it’ll sustain that success instead of just having ups and downs.”

Idaho State hasn’t won a Big Sky Conference title since 2002. The following year the Bengals went 8-4. They’re just 22-89 overall in the 10 consecutive losing seasons that followed.

“Right now my goal is just to make Idaho State as good as we can be,” Toone said. “ ... I’d like to see it become a more prestigious football school and build a program there.”

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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