Say this much about Robertson Daniel -- the junior college transfer who will start at field cornerback for the Cougars on Saturday against Texas -- he doesn't lack confidence.
Daniel was finally allowed to talk to reporters this week -- per BYU's rule that forbids newcomers from talking to the media until after they play their first game. We call it the O'Neill Chambers rule, after the former Cougar receiver popped off his first day of fall camp about already being better than other receivers in camp, and the like.
Anyway, Daniel appeared in the football offices lobby Wednesday and almost immediately pronounced himself ready to run with Texas' superstar receivers. In his first Division I start, Daniel played well against Virginia, breaking up two early passes when the Cavaliers tested him at the get-go.
"I was unproven going into that game," Daniel said. "I'm not anymore."
Texas' core of receivers includes precise route-runner Jaxon Shipley and speedster Mike Davis, an all-Big 12 selectee last year who had 939 receiving yards and seven TD catches.
"Oh yes, I am ready," Daniel said. "I am ready to be tested."
I asked Daniel for his 40 time:
"I don't know," he said. "But I run as fast as I need to run."
The Virginia game was Daniel's first taste of an organized football game in about 21 months. He played at DeAnza Junior College in Cupertino, Calif., his freshman year, then sat out the following year to concentrate on academics. BYU signed him after spring ball when cornerback Trenton Trammell was lost for the season with a knee injury.
"Well, I did a lot of training while I wasn't playing, so it wasn't too difficult. Playing in a game and training are two different things, but it was a hard adjustment. It happened fast," he said.
Daniel said injured cornerback Jordan Johnson, the field corner who suffered a season-ending knee injury in fall camp, has been a big help to him as he learns the position. He was recruited to BYU to be a boundary corner.
"I am definitely excited, because it is something to prove," Daniel said of facing the Longhorns. "It is a chance to show that you should be playing at this level. I am ready to take on the challenge. I am not nervous or anything. I am ready to go. I wish the game was today."
As someone whose last name is often confused with his first, I can relate to Daniel's response when he was asked if folks call him by his last name a lot.
"Yeah, I have not met a person who has gotten it right the first time. ... And if they do get it right, they say Daniels, with an s," he said.
Robertson Daniel said he's named after his father, Robert. Get it?
"I am Robert's son. Son of Robert, so, yeah," he said.
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