BOISE — When BYU meets Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Friday, it’s not only the final regular season game, but it’s also the last game for a group of seniors that didn't get a chance to play in a bowl game last year.
“Looking back, even today, I’m a little emotional. I’m like, ‘Man, this is my last practice.’ You think back on your time and it went by fast,” said senior linebacker Sione Takitaki. “I’m definitely enjoying this one and trying to get this win for my brothers and end it off right.”
Offensive tackle Austin Hoyt has been waxing a little nostalgic recently heading into his final appearance in a Cougar uniform.
“These last couple of weeks, I’ve been realizing that my time at BYU is ending as a player. I think back, my freshman year was 2012, so I’ve been here forever, like a fossil,” he said. “All the memories I’ve had, all the friends I’ve been able to make and the wonderful experiences I’ve been able to have, it’s been an incredible ride and I’m so grateful to be able to play at BYU.”
Among the other seniors who will be playing for the Cougars for the last time Friday includes quarterback Tanner Mangum, running back Squally Canada, fullback Brayden El-Bakri, wide receiver Dylan Collie, defensive lineman Merrill Taliauli, linebackers Butch Pau’u, Rhett Sandlin, Adam Pulsipher and Riggs Powell, safety Tanner Jacobson, cornerback Michael Shelton and holder Gavin Fowler.
LESTER SIGNS CONTRACT EXTENSION: Western Michigan announced Thursday that head coach Tim Lester has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him on the Bronco sidelines through the 2023 season.
“This is home for me. This is where I played,” Lester said, a Western Michigan alum. “This is the same logo that I played blood, sweat and tears in and it feels really great. I want to wear it as long as I can and I love coaching these guys and they are doing all the right things and I’m proud of their continued growth. We have another opportunity (Friday) to continue to grow our program and our brand. I like the direction we’re going and it’s because of these guys that we’re continuing to build, so I’m looking forward to the future.”
“It’s a big win for Western Michigan to get him to sign a two-year extension and keep him here,” said Western Michigan offensive lineman John Keenoy. “It’s where he belongs. It’s his home. We’re happy to have him.”2 comments on this story
GRIMES’ FIRST SEASON: Last December, BYU hired Jeff Grimes as its offensive coordinator. A longtime offensive line coach, this was Grimes’ first experience as a coordinator.
“I’ve seen him do a great job of adjusting as the season went on to our personnel and recognizing who our playmakers were,” said quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick. “Sometimes we had to evolve because of injury. Other times, it was evolving as we learned about our team and found out who our best players were. I thought he did a really good job at that. He’s been awesome to work with.”