For many of them, this will be the end of it. We have to try our best to honor them and how we establish this program. —BYU head coach Kalani Sitake
PROVO — For BYU senior linebacker Fred Warner, it’s tough enough to endure a seven-game losing streak and the prospect of no bowl game in December.
To make matters worse, his younger brother, sophomore cornerback Troy Warner, suffered an injury in last week’s loss at East Carolina and could miss the final five games.
“For me, it’s sad the fact that my brother went down,” Fred said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen for him for the rest of the season. If he can’t play anymore, I don’t get to play with him for the rest of the season.”
Fred Warner is part of a senior class that coach Kalani Sitake says he wants to honor for their hard work amid a season that certainly hasn’t gone the way most expected.
Plus, these last handful of games could help set a tone and establish a foundation for future seasons.
“They continue to lead. For many of them, this will be the end of it. We have to try our best to honor them and how we establish this program,” Sitake said of the seniors. “This is going to really make a mark on what we do and how we play the next five games on their hard work and sacrifices going into this program.
"I think they’re going to be happy to say that they were part of building this program and the culture of this team. This is a significant part of it. Obviously, we’re not cashing it in for the season. We’re trying to honor them. We’re also honoring LaVell Edwards, who’s a great mentor of mine.
"I’d like to say that he’s proud of the way I’m loving these guys and trying to help them out and all their goals," Sitake continued. "It’s just not working in the record. But we have a chance to make it better with these five games, starting with San Jose State (Saturday). That’s the focus.”
Fred Warner had high hopes coming into the season and he has aspirations of playing in the National Football League. Like his teammates, he’s tired of losing. But he’s going to keep on giving it everything he has every week.
“Obviously, it’s very frustrating. Just the way the season’s gone, you never think this is how you’re going to finish your college career,” he said. “In regards to what I can do to contribute to this team is continuing to play at a high level and getting better every day and continuing to be a leader and not to jump ship just because of the situation we’re in.”
Senior safety Micah Hannemann wants to end the season on a good note.
“It’s just more motivation for me and the other seniors to step it up more and treat it like a new season every single week, every single practice,” he said.
“I’m a little bit disappointed with what we’ve done this year. But I’m also hopeful. We still have some football left and I’m hopeful that we’ll finish strong,” said senior defensive lineman Kesni Tausinga. “Obviously, it’s not the senior year we wanted. But we’re going to finish strong, do our best and try to leave this program in the best shape possible for next year.”
Senior linebacker Grant Jones said the seniors are “frustrated, like everybody else. The seniors are stepping up like they have been the past six or seven games."
Sophomore offensive lineman Thomas Shoaf said the underclassmen are motivated to help the seniors win some games down the stretch.
“For our team, in reality, there’s a lot of negative out there. We’re very, very blessed to be able to play football,” he said. “We have five guaranteed opportunities and a possible chance for a bowl game, but to play for our seniors and to give them the best we can for the rest of the season.”
Fred Warner is one senior that is expected to keep playing football next season — in the NFL. Until then, he’s going to make the most of his college football career.
“Being able to savor these last few games and playing college football because I know after this is over, it’s a whole other level at the next level,” he said. “I’m enjoying the time I have left.”
* * *
Cougars on the air
San Jose State (1-7)
at BYU (1-7)
Saturday, 1 p.m. MDT LaVell Edwards Stadium
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM