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Sports BLT: Cougar fans tell their stories at BYU's public football practice

Published: Saturday, Aug. 2 2014 4:40 p.m. MDT

Updated: Saturday, Aug. 2 2014 8:15 p.m. MDT

Three generations of the Kritchfield family watch as BYU plays in its first public practice of 2014.

Lafe Peavler, Deseret News

PROVO — As BYU kicked off its second day of practice, there was plenty of attention to the players and coaches on the field preparing for the season opener on Aug. 29. This story, however, is dedicated to the many BYU fans that came to see their team play in the first practice open to the public in 2014.

The fans lined the sidelines, sat on the bleachers and stood on the balcony of BYU's Student Athlete Building to get their first glimpse of the team on a sunny Saturday morning. There were Cougar fans of all ages, many of there with their families, excited for the upcoming season. Here are some of their stories.

For Boyd Kritchfield, BYU football is very much a family affair. "I went to school here and graduated in 1967," Kritchfield said. "My children have all gone here, and we're Cougars. We have 23 football season tickets [as a family]."

Kritchfield already had quite a group of grandkids there nice and early to see the practice. "I have another son who is bringing his three sons who is going to sit with us," he said. "We follow religiously. We're looking for the new faces and new recruits at receiver. The excitement and improvement from the offensive line. Trying to see if we have the horses to do what you writers have been telling us is a possibility."

And this isn't anything new for the Kritchfield family. "It's been a tradition for us," Kritchfield said. "When we were students, my wife and I going to the football and basketball games, we brought our babies with us. They grew up, and as a result, I personally feel that this activity united our family in a special way. It was something all of us wanted, cheered for and believed in.

"So, it's extended to the grandchildren now. And now they're doing the same thing with theirs, for the most part. It carries over into our personal life, our views of the overall mission of BYU and the church."

David Kritchfield, one of Boyd Kritchfield's sons, remembers cheering on BYU from a very young age. "Every Saturday we had an activity, whether it was a home game or an away game, we always knew that if it was a home game we'd be going as a family," he said.

By the look of the number of grandchildren that came out to watch the practice, it looks like cheering on BYU will continue as a family tradition for years to come.

Forrest Luke and his grandson, Jordan Carlson, had to get up early to see this practice. They got up at 5 a.m. and drove from Craig, Colorado, to see the Cougars. That's a drive of about 275 miles."

"I just thought it would be cool to watch it and to see all the players up close," Carlson said, smiling. He was particularly interested in seeing quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Jamaal Williams.

Luke was optimistic about the upcoming season. "I think we have a chance to have a real special season," he said.

By special season, he meant an undefeated season.

"Things can go wrong, but I think with a year of the new offense behind us, I think our offense is going to be a lot better," Luke said with a smile. "I think that if we can make it past the first few games, we have a chance to make a real run."

Ralph Finlayson was likewise optimistic. "I think they ought to do very well," he said. "I think they'll improve on last year. They have last year's experience, getting used to a new system. I think they have the capability to win every game. I'm not sure that they will, but they have that capacity if they play well."

Tom and Scott Hammond came as a father and son duo to see the practice, and Scott Hammond wasn't reserved with his predictions. "Tell them I said undefeated season," he said. "If no one else is willing to say it, just write that down." He added, "That's what I predict every year."

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