BYU football: Cougars turn focus to Weber State
Provo • The temptation is obvious for the BYU football team this week.
Do the Cougars prepare lightly for Weber State, knowing that they face a much, much tougher test next week when they travel to Salt Lake City for a showdown with the University of Utah?
The Wildcats, who were drubbed 37-10 late Saturday night at Fresno State in interim coach Jody Sears' debut, and Cougars tangle for the first time since 1979 on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium (1 p.m., BYUtv).
Weber State, from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) is now 3-47 against teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), such as BYU, and doesn't figure to have the horses to give the Cougars much trouble at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Meanwhile, Utah will have its hands full this week getting ready for Utah State in Logan.
But good luck trying to get a Cougar player or coach to acknowledge that potential advantage this week.
"It is just like we are playing Washington State, or any other team," said BYU cornerback Jordan Johnson, who helped the Cougars down WSU 30-6 with four solo tackles and his third career interception. "We don't take any team lightly. They are not coming in here to lose. They are coming in to win. So it is another big game. ... It should be fun."
Johnson, from Springfield, Mass., said he didn't know much about Weber State. He will learn from watching film of the Wildcats' loss Saturday that quarterback Mike Hoke can be extremely accurate, and has some decent weapons around him.
Hoke completed his first 10 passes and finished 25-for-32 for 202 yards with one touchdown pass (to Shaydon Kehano) and one interception. The Wildcats couldn't run the ball effectively, however, getting just 67 yards on the ground. Fresno State had 515 yards of offense, including 217 on the ground.
After rushing for 54 yards against Washington State, on 13 carries, BYU junior Mike Alisa said he, for one, is excited to face an in-state foe.
"I have a lot of old teammates from Timpview [High] that play at Weber State. I am looking forward to having a nice little game against them. I know that they are going to bring it as hard as they can, so it is going to be fun," he said.
Alisa laughed and shook his head when it was suggested the Cougars could start getting ready for Utah, a 41-0 winner over the FCS opponent on its schedule, Northern Colorado.
"Coach Mendenhall's main focus is making the main thing the main thing," Alisa said. "It is when you start looking beyond the mark that problems start happening. So he reminds us and helps us to remind ourselves within the team to keep our eyes on the target."
The Cougars will want to work on their discipline this week, after being penalized 10 times for 112 yards in the opener.
"I couldn't tell you what caused those," linebacker Brandon Ogletree said. "People were probably trying to do too much. That's usually most of the time what it is. But coach Mendenhall trusts us, and he is usually kind of hands-off when it comes to that stuff. He is calm, and he is not going to get in anyone's face. That kinda shows the level of trust he has in us. All he has to do is tell us one time, and usually it works out. You never want to see, what was it, 112 penalty yards? That's not our thing. So we need to get that corrected."
P Weber State at BYU, 1 p.m.
TV • BYUtv