PROVO — A year ago, BYU won its season-opening game, then went on a seven-game losing streak.
This season, the Cougars won their opening game before falling in their home-opener last Saturday to California.
As previously reported, immediately after the game against Cal, sophomore offensive lineman Tristen Hoge gathered his teammates together in the locker room and addressed them before the coaches did.
Hoge said Wednesday that orchestrating the players meeting was his way of making sure that negativity doesn’t linger in the wake of that setback.
“The biggest thing I wanted to do was avert what happened last year and not let the poison of complacency and that feeling of getting used to losing, I couldn’t let that set in,” Hoge said. “As I said, it’s a poison.”
The Cougars say they’ve put the Cal loss in the rearview mirror as they prepare to face No. 6 Wisconsin Saturday.
“We’re moving on to the next one. That’s all we’re focused on, is Wisconsin,” said quarterback Tanner Mangum. “We’re excited for that challenge, that opportunity coming up to go to Madison. It’s going to be a physical game and we’re ready for it.”
SAFETY DANCE: Through the first two games, BYU has been using three safeties — Dayan Ghanwoloku and Austin Lee as the starters with Troy Warner coming in off the bench.
“They’re pretty similar. You do very similar things,” Lee said of the two safety positions. “Both safeties have to be very aware of what they’re calling to each side of the field. Both of them know strong safety and free safety. We’ve done very well at playing both and rotating.”
Both Ghanwoloku and Warner were moved from cornerback to safety during the offseason. Warner is coming off a season-ending Lisfranc (foot) injury last year.
“Austin’s doing well. He’s playing really well. I’ve loved the way he’s played this year,” said defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki. “We’re slowly getting Troy back to form. Austin’s been great for us, and the switch with Dayan has been really good.”
Tuiaki said the coaches are gradually easing Warner's return.
“It’s nothing mentally about the game. With those type of surgeries, some guys take a full year. Some come back sooner,” he said. “It’s hard to tell. We don’t want to press him, we don’t want to break him. At the same time, he feels ready so we want to give him reps slowly.”