BYU's Hoffman: Rivalry with USU has a different feel, but still intense
Barring something totally unforeseen like what happened last Friday before BYU played Middle Tennessee State both Cody Hoffman and Jamaal Williams should play on Friday when the Cougars take on Utah State at sold-out Romney Stadium in Logan. You can read more about that, and get injury updates on several other Cougars, in this notebook in today's Tribune. "Yeah, it is huge. Jamaal is a guy who the defense has to prepare for, and the same thing with Cody," said BYU quarterback Taysom Hill. "Even if they are not getting the ball regularly, the defense has to account for them, so that's really big. So it is good to have them back, but at the same time, I was really impressed with the way Ross [Apo] played, and the way Mitch [Mathews] played. Those guys really stepped up, and I expect them to continue to do those things whether or not Cody is in the lineup." First, kudos for Hoffman for coming up to the interview room last night knowing that he was going to be asked about the suspension. That couldn't have been easy. As a side note, I remember talking to Hoffman by telephone after he committed to BYU, and then in person a few times his first and second years in Provo. I can't remember a player who has taken bigger strides in doing interviews than the shy, quiet teenager from a small town in Northern California. "It is always difficult to sit out and watch the team play. It was a learning experience for me," Hoffman said Monday night. "Watching my guys go out and compete and come away with the win was good. Knowing that I will be back this week makes it a lot better." The article touched on Hoffman's response to his suspension, and also provided an update on his health ("as healthy as I've felt since I first tweaked my hammy in fall camp"). Here are a few more comments, mostly focusing on the senior's feelings about the BYU-Utah State rivalry: On whether USU rivalry has a different feel than the Utah rivalry:"It is just a different feeling, I would say. It is still a rivalry game, and it is still going to be competitive and intense and everything. It is just a different feeling. But the intensity level is still there."On what he remembers about 2010 game in Logan, a 31-16 Aggies win:"It left a bad feeling in my stomach. The last couple of years we have had revenge on them, and hopefully we can keep the streak going."On that game in Logan and whether he was surprised by how passionate fans were up there:"Yeah, it really caught me off guard. It is Utah State, you don't really think they would have a fan base like they do. It is a really hostile environment, but that's college football, and I like playing there." On whether he likes the challenge USU presents:"It is always going to be a struggle against them. It is just how rivalry games are. But we know that their defense is good, and our defense is good, and I think it will come down to which defense plays better. But I think both offenses are going to get their points."On whether Cache Valley native JD Falslev has said much about facing the Aggies this week:"He hasn't had to say much. We all know what it means just whenever we go to someone's hometown to play, you always know that there is so much more emotion for them, and you want to play you all for them." On teammates stepping up for Taysom Hill and whether there's a different expectation for the QB at BYU:"I feel like there is a lot of criticism with the quarterback position, and I feel like it is not fair whether it is receivers dropping balls, and the quarterback will take all the criticism for making bad throws. I feel like it is scrutinized so much. I have a lot of respect for quarterbacks who aren't perfect. They have my respect because I know it is not easy."On whether his chemistry with Taysom has been slowed because of injury, suspension:"I think it might have been during Texas, because that was coming off an injury. But I think against Utah it started clicking and it is only going to get better."On the red-zone issues and whether guys are trying too hard:"I feel like that happens all the time, whether it is in the blue zone or not. That's why we have so many three and outs. I think guys just try to think too much instead of playing like they do, and once they figure out it is not as hard as they think it is, we will be a lot better."