PROVO — BYU fans had more stories to share as more that 10,000 of them came out to watch the team hold a scrimmage on Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
One of them was Dennis Casper, who has been a season ticket holder for 23 years.
"I got two season tickets up here, and I've had them for a long time," Casper said. "Hopefully I can give them to my boys so they can bring their sons." Casper had a son and two grandchildren with him at the scrimmage on Friday, so it looks like attendance at BYU games will be a family tradition for generations to come.
Michael McQuain was also there early. McQuain was in the TV sportscasting business for 20 years before retiring, but his relationship with Cougar football predates that.
"I was actually a BYU football walk-on in 1979," McQuain recounted. "I walked on at middle linebacker. Played for the late great Fred Whittingham, who was also my high school coach."
Naturally, a person with such a long history has many great stories to share.
"Number one was the Miracle Bowl against SMU. I was actually on the sideline at Jack Murphy Stadium that night," McQuain said. "When there was like three and a half minutes left and we were down by 20 points and it was fourth down, Jim [McMahon] came off the field, LaVell [Edwards] wanted to punt and Jim threw his helmet down and said, 'No, we're not punting.' And then the comeback happened. I was maybe 30 yards from where Clay Brown caught the pass right at the goal line. I will never, ever forget that."
When asked who he wanted to see, McQuain answered, "I want to see Jamaal, because we all love Jamaal. He's legitimate. He's going to own every BYU rushing record before he's done."
McQuain ended with a nice pep talk for BYU fans as the season approaches:
"Cougar Nation, we need you to come loud and proud season. Come strong, wear your blue and come ready to pack this place every game this year. These guys, these players and coaches deserve it. This tradition deserves it. It's time for Cougar Nation to represent. We need to step up as much as the players do."
The next story demonstrates one way to motive young men into earning their Eagle Scout award. Zachary Reed got a special treat for earning his Eagle. "My grandpa on the other side of the family bribes his grandsons to get their Eagle," Reed said. "If you get your Eagle, he'll take you on a special trip."
For Reed's special trip, he went to the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl between BYU and Washington. He was even able to get his picture with Cosmo at the game, and that's his favorite BYU memory.
Kathleen and Maren Smith were also at the scrimmage along with BYU track team member Arlene Gowar. All of them are current BYU students and members of the ROC.
"Texas game last season, that was my favorite. That was an awesome game," Kathleen said. "There were a ton of Texas fans around Provo. I was in downtown Provo, and they were all over the place and talking smack. So, it was fun to come and have a great game and send everyone home at the end to Texas where they came from."
When asked about what players they wanted to see, Kathleen showed me a BYU football roster with a whole bunch of marks next to players' names. However, there's a couple of players in particular that stood out.
"I love Jamaal. Jamaal is so much fun," Kathleen said. "He's got a great personality. He's a great guy off the field, and he's fun to watch on the field. I love Bronson Kaufusi too. He's one of those guys that's a really sincere guy. He'll remember you when you meet him. He's just a great person. He comes from an amazing family, too."
"I'm excited to watch Adam Hine," Maren said. "He's a really, really nice guy and a great football player."
"Maren and Kathleen are the biggest BYU fans," Gowar said with a laugh. "They camp out before every game." Indeed, they show up at about 8 in the morning every game day to get a good seat in the student section.
"We have a big party," Kathleen said. "They're always giving out free gear and snacks and stuff, and it's a big party."
Thanks to everyone who talked with me at the scrimmage. I will be releasing additional fan stories during the season, including some interviews at the scrimmage. If you have great BYU stories, please email them to me at SportsBLT@gmail.com.
Lafe Peavler is a staff sports writer for the Deseret News. Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.
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