Provo • Because he is a walk-on, BYU defensive back Skye PoVey probably should have given up college football the first time he tore the plantar fascia tissue in his foot last season.
Or the second time, in January.
Or the third time, in June.
But PoVey has persevered through all three setbacks, and now the 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior from Ogden’s Ben Lomond High School and Snow College is on the verge of being a regular contributor on BYU’s defense. That’s especially true after junior cornerback Jordan Johnson became the latest Cougar defensive back to be ruled out of the 2013 season due to a knee injury suffered Monday.
“I was pretty down for a couple of days when I tore it in June,” PoVey said. “I mean, I couldn’t walk, and we were a month and a half out of fall camp, and I can’t walk. So I am like, ‘This is really the end.’ But for whatever reason, it is just working out. I have been really blessed.”
The plantar fascia is the thick, connective tissue that supports the arch on the bottom side of the foot. Plantar fasciitis happens when the fascia’s condition becomes inflammatory. Neither an inflammation nor a tear can be fixed by surgery.
“So the hope is that I have completely torn it, because then I won’t have to worry about it anymore,” PoVey said. “Some people can never come back from it. It [depends] on whether your foot can handle the stress with that ligament there.”
And he can handle playing four of the five positions in BYU’s secondary: free safety, strong safety, boundary corner and nickel. He readily admits he probably isn’t fast enough to play the field corner spot that Johnson is vacating, but is willing to give it a try.
“I see myself as kind of a utility player for us, a player who can hopefully help out where ever we need it,” he said. “Anywhere they stick me, I am willing to try and help out.”
PoVey’s brother-in-law happens to be secondary coach and defensive coordinator Nick Howell, who he has known since he was 7 years old, and Howell played for PoVey’s father at Ben Lomond. Then PoVey played for Howell at the same school. Howell married PoVey’s sister, Brooke.
“I call him ‘coach Howell’ outside of football,” PoVey said. “I will be 40 years old and still call him coach.”
Coaches showed the team former BYU defensive star Ziggy Ansah’s pick-six in his NFL debut with the Detroit Lions on Friday night, “and the players went crazy,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. He noted that BYU players weren’t surprised that Ansah immediately headed to get oxygen after the big play. “It takes him a while to get in shape.”
Sophomore receiver Terenn Houk made a pair of catches in Monday’s 11-on-11 scrimmage and has gone from “kind of being an academic risk in the spring” to having a solid fall camp, Mendenhall said. “So he’s emerging, and doing a nice job.” .... The Cougars practiced Tuesday, but the sessions were closed to the media.