BYU football: Cougars will use bye week to recover
Provo » After losing to TCU last year in almost the same fashion they lost to the Horned Frogs on Saturday night, the BYU Cougars won their next four games and trailed the eventual No. 2 team in the country, Utah, by three points on the road in the fourth quarter in the fifth game.
But the Cougars (6-2) and their coaches said they stopped having fun after Game 7 last year, and they struggled to regain the swagger and confidence they had when they were 6-0.
Several vowed to not let that happen this time around, after being shellacked 38-7 by TCU in Game 8, a loss that dropped them from the rankings for the first time this season.
"We are not going to let it [linger]," quarterback Max Hall said. "Hopefully, we do what we need to do to not let that happen. ... I think this team is going to bounce back. I think [during] the bye week, we have a lot of things to think about and time to regroup. I want to win out. I want to win the next four games. So we are going to have to do our best."
The Cougars have a bye this week, and don't play against until Nov. 7 at Wyoming. The Cowboys (4-3) had a bye last week, and will face Utah on Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said he will use some of the time off for some introspection -- both for himself and his program.
"I think the issue now is measuring where we currently are, and where I would like us to be -- mostly looking at myself rather than our team," he said, noting it was frustrating and disappointing watching "that reality" from the sidelines on Saturday that TCU was not only more talented than BYU, but executed at a higher level. The latter is something he relies on to even the playing field, he said.
Defensive end Brett Denney said "it is going to be a long two weeks. Anytime you lose, you are looking to get out there again and show that wasn't you."
But Hall said the break comes at a good time.
"I think physically our team needs it," he said. "We have a lot of guys beat up and sick. We just need to kind of have a week off to regroup a little bit. It would have been nice to win and to go into a bye week. We have a lot of things we can look at, and get better at."
The Cougars were mostly at full strength against the Frogs, who moved up to No. 8 in the AP poll and No. 6 in the coaches poll, but they were still without their biggest deep threat, receiver McKay Jacobson. He is expected to return from a hamstring injury against Wyoming.
"It is a good opportunity for us to heal up and rest our legs a little bit and get healthy again to finish out the conference season," said tight end Dennis Pitta. "We have a lot of football ahead of us. Our first game back from the bye week is at Wyoming, and so that will be a big test. As hard as it is going to be, we have to put this behind us and move on."
Nov. 7, noon
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