BYU Cougars leaving a day earlier for road trip to UConn to get acclimated

Published: Saturday, Aug. 23 2014 6:20 p.m. MDT

Players hold hands before running onto the field for a scrimmage during a BYU football practice at BYU's practice fields, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014.  (Michelle Tessier, Deseret News) Players hold hands before running onto the field for a scrimmage during a BYU football practice at BYU's practice fields, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. (Michelle Tessier, Deseret News)

PROVO — When BYU opened the season at Virginia a year ago — a surprising loss to the Cavaliers — the team left the day before the game.

Players and coaches say that the trip felt rushed, and it took awhile to adjust to the time change and to the humid climate.

Well, the Cougars will be making another journey to the East Coast this week for their season opener at Connecticut, and they have a different travel plan this time around.

BYU will depart Wednesday — two days before Friday’s game.

“It will help us get acclimated. It will give us some down time instead of traveling and trying to fit so much in, in one day with the fireside and stuff,” Cougar quarterback Taysom Hill explained. “We’ll have some down time the night before, football stuff the next morning, more down time, then go to the fireside and get ready to play. It will help alleviate some of the stress and the craziness associated with traveling so far.”

Offensive coordinator Robert Anae said leaving earlier on a long road trip is something the Cougars did under legendary coach LaVell Edwards.

“My philosophy, and it’s what I experienced as a player, Coach Edwards would take us a day before. I remember road trips to Pittsburgh and seeing things in that part of the country that we had never seen. That same type of deal is happening today. Some of our players have never been to that side of the country. To go there and enjoy the trip from a humanistic standpoint I think it a real plus for our student-athletes — play the game, and spend a day to see that part of the country. It’s a privilege and a nice treat for the program to do that for players.”

Wide receiver Mitch Mathews said he’s looking forward to going a couple of days before the game.

“We’re excited about that. It seems pretty cool. It’s a time to go to that part of the country, which I’ve never been there. It’s a time to get used to the weather. The first day you can check things out on Thursday, then Friday you’re ready to play. A lot of times what happens is, you go the day before and you almost feel like it’s a vacation. You’re going to see sites and places; you forget you’re playing football. As players, we’re excited to go over there so we can get that out of the way and on Friday we can focus on the game.”

‘UNIQUE’ OFFENSE: BYU’s go-fast, go-hard offense requires a lot of different players shuttling in and out of the game.

“With the amount of plays that we run, we platoon players,” said Anae. “You’ll see an arrangement of players up front, in the backfield, and at the wide receiver spots. Our design is not for one guy to play the whole game.”

Anae said the offense is unlike other offenses in college football.

“That brand of offensive football is unique in the country, to do what we do without a huddle, with the personnel groups we have, is very unique. We’re able to do that because of the type of kid we have at BYU, a conscientious kid that learns his assignments and techniques and they internalize it. This was done years ago. When I played, we didn’t have an offensive playbook. That same brand of player and today we don’t have an offensive playbook. Here at BYU, that conscientious type of player put that thing to heart and you don’t need to write it and have it on paper.”

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