PROVO — No one knows exactly how BYU will perform come Saturday in its opener on the road against Nebraska. The one thing that is certain is that the Cougars' collective performance will fall short of being flawless, but provide some good building blocks for the team to fight through and improve upon.
“Will it unfold perfectly? Shoot, I doubt it,” said BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae when discussing his expectations. “It’s a game, these are people and they’re amateurs, so there’s a whole gamut of outcomes. So I’m not all that concerned with the outcome of the deal, (I'm) more interested in coaching the process and then after this first game seeing what we are and then taking the next step forward. So yeah, no fear of failure.”
Of course the one outcome Anae is concerned with is winning the football game. To do that, he believes the players will need to overcome certain adversities that will crop up and then respond positively when they do.
“I’m actually looking forward to adversity in the game and we’ve been coaching and preparing the kids to just play through it,” Anae said. “If something goes bad, they (lose) momentum, that they get out there and fight to get that momentum back.”
Throughout practices and meetings, Anae, and other coaches, have worked to instill thought processes not geared toward perfection, but in dealing effectively with plays that aren't executed perfectly.
“You want to give them a really good mindset,” Anae explained. “A lot of that is how you react or respond when something goes wrong. If all you’re geared for is success your players aren’t going to last and if they (then) have to go through a hard time it’s going to be a long, hard time.”
Encouraged by the team's health and chemistry: When asked what encourages him about his team, and specifically the team's defensive players, linebackers coach Paul Tidwell first mentioned the team's relative health entering the season.
"I think we're pretty healthy," Tidwell said. "We're encouraged by a little more depth this year. We have some positions that are experienced, but some that are young and that's the way it is every year. But we're encouraged by what we have."
The most experience on defense is within the front seven, and particularly along the defensive line, while the defensive backfield enters the season with a bit less experience.
When mentioning what is most encouraging to him personally, Tidwell responded, "The thing that I'm most encouraged about is just the chemistry of the team, both offense and defense. The chemistry of the team seems really, really good and really, really high. It seems like they like each other and that they're having fun."
Outside to in: Tidwell confirmed on Wednesday that although Jherremya Leuta-Douyere is listed as one of the team's starting outside linebackers, he'll start on the inside for at least one half and then perhaps move to outside depending how things turn out.
For Leuta-Douyere, moving around comes naturally considering his game experience playing at both positions. On Saturday, he'll be paired with senior Manoa Pikula starting out while Harvey Langi's specific role starting out the game wasn't made clear. Langi was listed as one of the team's starting inside linebackers in the depth chart released by the team on Monday.
"We want to get the four best linebackers on the field," Tidwell said of why Leuta-Douyere will be played primarily at outside linebacker. "We felt like (this move) will give us that."
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